And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. Okay, so first off - NOTICE: tomorrow Sammy the Bull is leaving the Sing (even though it is clean) and heading to Hong Kong for work. Now, in theory, I should be able to continue blogging despite being on yet ANOTHER island in the Pacific. However, between MAS and everything else - no promises. And regardless, as my company PC is LOCKED DOWN with security, there will be NO pictures of Sammy eating spiced donkey meat and getting arrested by Chinese authorities until at least Friday night (when I return home from the land of former British occupation).
Okay, with that out of the way, let's do a recap of the previous 3 days, all of which were FANTABULOUS.
Saturday: East Coast Parkway - gem of the island
So first off, I simply MUST thank Muffin Puffin. While my lazy ass has been content to sit around in the air conditioning, drinking mountain dew and watching AXN all day (after all, they do have CSI: VEGAS, BABY!), Muffin Puffin has been a real motivator, always finding new spots for us to get into and new things to do. She had a truly SHINING MOMENT (not Jack Nicholson style) on Saturday, when she said, "I think we should go to East Coast Parkway." Let me tell you - this place did NOT disappoint.
The journey out was, well, interesting. Basically you take the MRT (subway) to the place called Eunos station (I couldn't help but think of a cross between a Eunoch and Enis from "Dukes of Hazzard - QUALITY image, that one...), and then you catch Bus #13. However, as the website was less than polished, it neglected to mention WHERE you get off along the route. We were content to ride it to the end of the line (Translation - MALAYSIA), but luckily I'd mentioned where we were going to the driver, and he flagged us down to tell us where to get out. However, when he let us off in a series of apartment blocks, I was less than convinced he knew what I'd originally asked him. That being said, sure enough we could see the ocean, and just a scant 5 minutes later we were on the beach. In a word - SPECTACULAR.
So here's the thing - swimming off the coast of Singapore is a tricky proposition. It's not that there are sharks. It's not that there are stingrays. It's that Singapore is THE BUSIEST HARBOR (Sorry my British family - HARBOUR) IN THE WORLD, and the water is pretty nasty with oil and dirt. It was AMAZING to see all the ships just off the beach waiting for their turn to load or unload cargo - Jenny and I'd never witnessed anything like it.
The park itself is just AMAZING. GREAT trails, wide paths, and TONS to look at. We rented bikes ($8 SGD a bike for TWO HOURS - you can't BEAT THAT!) and cruised along the parkway, and it was just PERFECT. The weather couldn't have been nicer, and we had lush greenery in front of us, the sea (and the ships) to one side, and these gorgeous, new age skyscrapers on the other. I'll say it again - I LOVE THIS CITY.
We rode for 2 hours solid, including traveling some of the East Coast Connector and riding over by the airport. Next time we'll DEFINITELY take the bikes longer, as it was just SO MUCH FUN! But I must confess - those seats BROKE MY ASSBONE. Jenny and I looked like we'd just driven 14,000 cattle the length of the Sante Fe Trail. Hairless - you seriously do that for FUN for like 80 miles on Saturdays? I mean, the whole "leg shaving-disturb the man force-lycra is the new Egpytian cotton" look is one thing, but the ASS PAIN is just unbearable. But enough of that...
To celebrate our exercise for the day, Team Taylor did what they do best - EAT ENOUGH FOOD FOR THE RED ARMY. Tonight's selection was Jumbo Seafood, a TERRIFIC chain that serves AMAZING scallops. We got the table RIGHT ON THE WATER (I wanted to be away from folks since we were in our workout gear), and then we spent the next 90 minutes eating, drinking, and watching the world go by (and the restaurant fill up, for the record - it got INSANE busy in no time!)
After that we hopped a cab and headed home, where we cracked open the Amarula (Lovely Lynda - tell me that you're not proud? Now send me some springbok biltong!) and talked to several folks. All in all, it was a GREAT night.
Sunday: New friends via old friends!
Sunday was great as well, as we rolled over to Dempsey Hill for brunch. The location was P.S. Cafe, where we were meeting a friend of Lovely Lisa Watkinson. True to her description of "5'4" with brown hair, Sgt. Sarah Smith rocked up right at 12:30, and within 2 minutes we were chatting away. Lisa - you have NO EXCUSE not to come and visit! Just sayin'...
Sarah's friend Lily joined us as well, and we settled down for a FOUR HOUR brunch. Seriously - it was just SO wonderful to chat with folks (at full speed and in my normal accent) about travel, running, life in Britain - it was just perfect. And best of all, we're making travel plans with them! And we're meeting some other friends soon who happen to know Lady Catherine from her time Down Under! It's all comin' together!
I didn't get a photo (because I'm a DONKEY), but rest assured that we WILL be seeing them again, so fret not - new characters to be introduced soon.
We got home just before 5 to Sykpe with the Aussies, but to quote Dean, "between a lost dog, a hungover wife, and an American arrival, it's just not going to happen." No worries, however, as we fully expect to make it happen next weekend.
Instead we rolled over to Orchard, the "Oxford Street" of London. The noticeable differences between Orchard Road and Oxford Street:
1. I was the tallest person on the street (how many times do you think I'll make that joke - just nod and move on...)
2. It was 45 THOUSAND degrees warmer
3. The sidewalks were about 80 feet wider (not kidding about that)
4. THEY HAD DQ, BABY!!!! Heeeeeeelllllo Oreo Blizzard (T-Rowe - I can confirm they do NOT serve Dilly Bars in the Sing. I know, I know...Dickles will never visit me now...)
It was neat - kind of like Dubai only a) not covered in Sand, b) blessed with a breeze, c) sans dirty old dudes staring at my (smokin' hot) wife, and d) TGIFriday's on the corner.
We wandered around for a bit (including stepping into Ion, the newest - and slickest - mall on the road) before heading back to Emerald Hill, a spot that P-Dawg had shown us. We stopped in the Alley Bar for a pint, but we ended up having 2 pints and getting food (I went with the Pulled Pork Sandwich - SOOOOOOOO GUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUD - peppy cheekies).
We then walked home (I had no idea Orchard was so close! 10 minutes walking!), passing out about 10:30 PM (no joke). For the 5th night in a row I was in the spare, as my evenings have been wracked by a terribly dry coughing fit. However, last night was better, and I'm hoping tonight it will be donezo (knock on wood).
Monday: The Ang Mo gives (and receives!) Hung Bao
So D-Day arrived today. Yes, yes, I know there has been MYRIAD speculation, but today I can confirm that Sammy the Bull FINALLY started handing out those DAMN RED ENVELOPES. :-) However, I must confess that it was quite fun, and I've still got a few more to go. And best of all, Muffin got a red envelope! WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER! I am LOVING it when Hung Bao (as they call it - I simply call it HIGHWAY FREAKIN' ROBBERY...details...) works the other way. Way to go, Pumpkin!
Dinner tonight was a Mongolian BBQ joint called, appropriately enough, "The Tent." It was EXTRA AWESOME. Andi Erwin (oops, I meant Lewis) - it was BJ's quality from the time I met you in Chicago after my Accenture St. Charles weekend. TOP NOTCH!
The only thing sad about it was the fact that I was officially saying goodbye to Jackie, as she's heading back to Portland in, well, 3.5 hours. Jackie - it's been GREAT getting to know you, I wish you ALL the best, safe travels, and hopefully we'll be chatting again soon! After all, I KNOW that Cooper wants to meet me. Oh, and did I mention that we're gonna sleep on your floor for 6 months whilst we get fat on $2 pints at Pyramid? I might have neglected that teeny weensy detail...
We're now back at the flat, where it's time to start packing for the land of Dim Sum and capitalism turned communism. Hitman - it's going to KILL me, but I am planning on a coat and tie (perhaps even ironed) EVERY SINGLE DAY. I feel like such a sellout...
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow (hopefully)!
Sam and Jenny