Those of you who follow my blog will know that I am an avid traveler. I had always wanted to go to a backpackers’ place in Singapore, hang out with tourists and then, just for a day or two, go around Singapore like a tourist would. I was crazy enough to actually buy a Lonely Planet for Singapore.
And so, as a farewell gift, Cheryl planned one full day of Singapore tour for me with Shafik. I reserved the entire weekend for these best buddies of mine, and I had absolutely no idea where they will be bringing me to.
The day started bright and early… at 10 a.m. LOL. I was out the night before with my SMC gang and didn’t get home until early morning… but eh, I was not the only one who woke up late hor! And so we were off to our first destination…
The Esplanade Park! Cheryl wanted to start off the day with a picnic right at the park. This was the first time I was there. I mean, the sights were familiar all around – the Esplanade, the Cavenagh bridge, the CBD skyline etc. – but what I didn’t realise was a whole carefully tended park in the midst of town.
And only in Singapore can you find a “designated exercise area”. In a park. Makes you wonder what the rest of the park is “designated” for.
Cheryl has outdone herself with sumptuous spread for the picnic. Spaghetti, hot dogs, chicken wings, egg salad (for me!), muffins… we were starving by the time we settled down for the picnic, and Shafik chosen a spot of carpet grass right in front of the Asian Civilisation Museum.
Someone is obviously very happy that we have settled down to feed… but remember the food was catered for Ma’at, not Rashid!
Our next stop was the Asian Civilization Museum. I know Singapore has got quite a number of museums, and ASM has got to be one of the more famous ones. The museum didn’t disappoint with a mind-bogging array of artefacts from different Asian cultures. If not for the fact that the toilets were so few in between and they are forever occupied, the trip to ASM would have been perfect. As usual, Cher was up to her tricks with my camera when she pretended to take photos of me playing with some Chinese costumes and banging on some Malay drums, when she was actually video-ing me instead!
After the museum, we made a small detour to the Victoria Memorial Hall to see the Stamford Raffles statue. The place held special memories for me; during my university days, every year the NTU Symphonic Band will hold their concerts here at this concert hall. It was here where I played out months of hard work at endless rehearsals playing win band pieces I had never dreamed of playing when I was in Malaysia. Nostalgic indeed.
The next destination caught me by utter surprise. Never in my wildest dream would I think the duo will bring me to the Singapore Flyer! The entire ride was a surreal experience. I was totally transfixed to the sights of Singapore as we made one round the giant observation wheel in 30 minutes. The audio guide pointed out places after places as viewed from high above – Chinatown, Little India, Marina Bay, Suntec City… I was constantly reminded of the memories I sowed at these places, and I couldn’t help but to tear at the thought that I am leaving all these behind. It is harder than you think.
After a lunch of curry chicken rice at the flyer (there goes my diet), we headed to somewhere at the other end of Singapore; the Changi Prison Museum & Chapel. The prison was enshrined in Singapore history as the place where countless POW (prisoners of war) were enslaved, perished and survived during the horrifying Japanese occupation years. In one afternoon I learned more about Singapore’s history than all my ten years combined. Those who said Singapore “has no character” obviously didn’t bother to learn about the tumultous past of this tiny island. It is all here on the walls – literally. The Changi Mural was a collection of five wall paintings drawn during those years, bringing much spiritual relief to the POWs.
This place also held special memory for me – for being the ultimate fool walking around with three ASM stickers on my back the entire time. And Cheryl had the cheek to take this photo first before telling me through her laughing tears. Thanks, hor. Grrrr….
Did I mention that my diet totally went bust this weekend? After the prison museum, we went to sample the famous Changi Village Ayam Penyet. The dish was delicious, and I was famished. All these walking really did it for me, despite the fact that I just had one whole bowl of curry chicken merely two hours before. And, yes, the ayam penyet was as good as it looks in this photo.
In all my years in Singapore, I have been to the zoo and the butterfly farm and the bird park, but never the safari… Cheryl made my dream come true by bringing me to the Singapore Night Safari. We reached the place after a long, long bus ride. Although we were irked by some factors here (which I shall not mention in case people think I am racist!), we enjoyed our time here thoroughly. We took the 45 minutes tram ride which took us round the entire safari. The animals were definitely much more active during the night time, and at times we were so close to them that we could touch their body!
The highlight of the trip was definitely the Creatures of the Night show. The animals were fantastic, but the hostess was the one who brought the house down. Her impeccable sense of humour had us in stitches with laughter. She was almost as good as Kumar, and we really enjoyed the 30 minute show. I think she should go pro as an emcee!
And something else which shock the fuck out of me (pardon the language). Shafik and Cheryl have been to the night safari before, so they know exactly what will happen during the show. We were seated two rows from the front, much to Shafik’s insistence. What I didn’t know was that there was a fucking snake right under my seat!!! I have an ultra fear for all things slithering and slimy and hissing, so imagine my shock when they unlocked the panel under my seat to reveal this big ass python.
I swear, I wanted to wring their necks for scaring me like that. Unforgettable, indeed!
After such a long, eventful day, we went back to my home, where I took a long long shower to wash away the fear of the almighty python. Little did I know there was one last surprise for the night – my very much advanced 30th birthday cake. You see, by the time I return to Singapore for my 30th birthday celebration end of June, Shafik would be crawling around Tekong with his shaved head, so this is the only time we could celebrate my birthday together.
Look at the volcano of flames on my cake. The heat almost melted the cake into half! You don’t have to light up thirty candles just to tell people how old I am. Didn’t you guys know a man’s prime start at 30? Tsk. But I was touched. Pardon the bad singing in the video. For the first time it wasn’t my fault. LOL.
After an episode of Friends (like we did on many different nights before), we went to sleep. I was so deep in slumber that I didn’t realise Cheryl woke up (rather) early the next day to prepare this delicious laksa for lunch. It was simply delicious. Girl, if I gain a pound over the weekend, I hold you entirely responsible. Your laksa was wicked.
And so that marks the end of my weekend with Cheryl and Shafik, one that was perfect in every imaginable way, in the way I thought it would be, and more. Thank you so much, guys, for making this possible. To Cheryl for her immaculate planning and thoughts that went into all the surprises (the flyer! the snake! the cake!) and for Shafik for being with us that weekend.
You know you guys mean the world to me. Hugs.
Click here for the full set of photos of my amazing weekend.