Sunday, 20 March 2011

A Walk on the wild side - visiting Singapore's Night Safari...


And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT Sunday in the Lion City. I know that I've got 2 days to catch you up on, so let's kick off with Saturday's lunch at a GREAT spot - Indochine.

So Indochine is a chain in Singapore, and they've recently expanded to Thailand, the Philippines, and (randomly enough) Hamburg, Germany. It's a restaurant, bar, supperclub (but I don't think in the San Fran sense), and disco, but we obviously opted for the restaurant component only.

The food was great - venison fillets for me and duck green curry for Muffin, but the price of drinks (and we're talking any KIND of drinks) was REDONKULOUS. Seriously - $8 for a diet pepsi, and $10 for lime juice? I THINK NOT. Consequently, we had water only (which was fine and dandy, especially for my cheap ass).

Lunch was great, and just as we were about to leave, THE SKIES OPENED. Consequently, we spent the next 40 minutes sitting by the river, enjoying the downpour (complete with thunder and lightning) and watching the world go by.

On the way home we did something that, well, I honestly NEVER thought I'd do (at least not in the Sing). We're walking through a mall en route to McDonald's (it's all about the $2 McFlurry, baby!) when Pumpkin randomly says, "Look - pillows!" I'm having trouble processing WTH she's talking about until I turn around and see this "pillow and shoe sale" in the middle of the mall. Seriously - those were the ONLY TWO items available, and they had EVERY KIND OF PILLOW YOU COULD EVER WANT. Ultimately, JT selected the memory foam pillow (KJ - you'd be so proud), and I simply couldn't resist taking this photo. That is one happy red head right there, and husband bear is happy because it says that "this will reduce tossing and turning." I mean, I'm so happy for Jenny -now, instead of falling asleep in 6.7 seconds, it will be more like 2.9.

After that, we headed to the next activity of the day: massages at the Balinese Massage House. Now T-Rowe, I'm sure you're rolling your eyes again at our D.I.N.K. asses, but TRUST ME - you get the last laugh in this story.

So here's the deal - we'd booked in for a 90 minute massage, with Jenny selecting the balinese massage and Four Leaf selecting the much bally-hooed "Hot Rocks Massage." I had planned to get this last weekend in Indonesia, but when the description said, "Not for people who do not like intense heat and pain, as the rocks will be extremely hot, causing discomfort and leaving red marks on your back for hours." Seriously - does that really ENTICE anyone?

On the walk there, I told Jenny, "I can't believe I'm FINALLY crossing off a hot rocks massage. Mom will be so proud." 30 seconds later, I'm kicking off my shoes at the massage parlor when the gal tells me that hot rocks isn't available today. I politely ask why I wasn't informed of this during the booking I made THREE HOURS EARLIER, and she announced to me that "Oh, it just broke, sir." For the record - I thought AND STILL THINK she was lying, but since I was there and had loved previous balinese massages in times previous, I just nodded and switched to the "house signature." And THAT, sports fans, is where it gets interesting.

So we strip down (except paper drawers, of course), get under the covers, and then get settled. So far, all good things. But then, the unnamed woman who from this point forward will only be known as "the white boned demon" (reference for your historians there) entered the room - I can confortably say that my muscles, joints, bones, or fragile psyche will NEVER be the same EVER again.

Let me give you the quick recap:

Minute #2: My lady starts out working my back reasonably good.

Minute #4 Conversation:

White boned demon (WBD): "How is pressure, sir?"

Trying to Relax Sammy (TtRS): "You can press a bit harder."

WBD: "You want harder, sir?"

TtRS: "A wee bit is fine, please."

WBD: (I'm sure there was a smile on her evil face as she replied here) "Okay, sir."



This continued (rise-repeat) for about 45 minutes, at which point I was pretty sure that we were headed to Raffles Hospital if I survived the "treatment." I will say that, periodically, I would look over at Muffin Puffin, and each time I was amazed at the loving treatment she was receiving from her saint of a massage lady. I mean seriously, at one point whilst my gal was purposely trying to SLIP MY DISKS, Jenny's gal was rubbing her scalp, almost playing with her hair. WE ORDERED THE SAME BLOODY MASSAGE. How do you explain that?

Let me cut through it - if I thought the first 45 were bad, when she hit my legs, I almost blacked out from pain. I actually CRIED OUT once, and another 4 times I BEGGED (seriously - I BEGGED) her to go easier. The conversation ALWAYS went like this:

Now Broken Sammy (NBS): "OUCH. That hurts and is too hard."

WBD: "Pain, sir?"

NBS: "YES. Pain. Lots of it. It's like a bloody Texas Chili Cook-off." (Okay, I didn't say that last sentence, but Jay Powell - I know you're out there and know what I'm talking about).

WBD: "That hurt, sir?"

NBS: "YES. Please don't rub so hard."

WBD: "Okay, sir. I do long stroke."


Seriously - I have no words. I could BARELY WALK when we left there. Next time it's "Hot Rocks" or bust, and if that's as painful, then it's foot massages from now on. Hairless, admit it - you're CACKLING right now and forwarding this to Mandy.

After that, we went back to the house and rinsed off before heading to the featured event of the evening, which TOTALLY redeemed the day - the Singapore Night Safari. We don't have many pictures because, well a) it's really dark and b) you can't use your flash, but trust us - IT WAS AWESOME. Seriously, there are 4 trails and a tram ride, and it was ALL spectacular. This was a true highlight of Singapore, and we were VERY impressed. We saw CRAZY critters like the serval, mouse deer (smallest hoofed animal in the world - Brisson, that was another "Phoenix Park" fact for you), and flying squirrel, as well as hyenas, giraffes, hippos, and a host of others. We spent just under 4 hours there, and we're both really, REALLY glad that we did it on a separate date from the Zoo, as this way we appreciated it much more.

We got home around midnight, watched a couple of CSI (VEGAS, BABY) episodes, and then called it a night. I should mention that I also saw an episode of "Blue Bloods," which I thought was really solid. We passed out around 2 AM, meaning the Bull had been awake for 20 straight hours and had logged a) 7 miles in the rainforest, b) another 4-5 walking, and c) lost 12 years off his life in pain and suffering at the hands of a reincarnation of the Spanish Inquisition.
We set the alarm clock for 10 AM today, but I will be honestly, I just COULD NOT do it. I reset it for 10:30, but STILL no go. I laid there to doze a bit longer, thinking I'd be out about 5 more minutes. As it turns out, I was out 95, as we woke up around noon (sorry, Pumpkin!). We rolled out of the house and went down to Hog's Breath, where we had a GREAT brekkie (at 1 in the afternoon). We then went for a wander down Esplanade, stopping at the Archipelago Brewery. This place, sports fans, was EXTRA AWESOME, and best of all - THE PRICE WAS RIGHT.
Seriously - Archipelago (Singapore's oldest brewery, beating Tiger by 1 year) was founded in 1931, and they had 4 beers on offer. We tried the sampler platter first, progressing then to each try another. I found the wheat beer to be my fave (I'm not a big wheat guy, but this puppy tasted like Corona on steroids with a calamansi lime infusion - it was SOOOOOOOOOOO GUUUUUUUUUUUUD...peppy cheekies). Muffin went for a pint of Summer Ale, which was also MOST excellent. Best of all - pints were only $8!!! GOOD JOB Muffin finding this place!

And side note - I'm sure that you can't tell, but the logo is a lion (it's just above the word "archipelago" on the glass). It should be noted that it's the EXACT SAME FONT, CIRCLE, AND STYLE as the Tiger beer logo, but since this was founded first, one can't help but wonder who stole from whom...just sayin'...
On the walk home, we chanced upon a GREAT random fine. As those loyal followers of the blog know, I have been FURIOUS about the recent blockading of the Merlion for the "Merlion Hotel." However, today we learned out why, and my hatred is burning much less bright.
So as it turns out, this "hotel" is part of an art exhibit throughout the city, and this is the "featured" exhibit. Folks get to go to the hotel room during the day to "experience the position shift of the observer to a landmark, discovering how views and perceptions can change when one is transported to eye level with a landmark that traditionally towers overhead." Now, all I could think of was a) Wu Wi Wi's sunflowers seeds (in other words - "MORE DONKEY TRASH, JUST ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD") and b) the thing is only 20 feet tall, "towers" isn't the word I would choose. All the same, we hopped in the queue for our "quick check-in" at the Merlion Hotel (for the record, a couple of night actually DOES sleep there - the check-in is 8:30 PM to 8:30 AM - I would LOVE to know the cost of that. It's fully booked in case you're curious). The wait was about 30 minutes, but it was DEFINITELY worth it.
For starters, I FINALLY got to see my Merlion again! Secondly, the view from the balcony (YES - there is a balcony, as well as a bloody BATHTUB) was STUNNING. Third, it was just SO RANDOM, how could you NOT experience this? It was SO ridiculous, but hey, I got to get up close and personal with my Merlion, so now I'm calm and can wait until mid-May when they tear this foolishness down. Good times...
On the way home we crossed off another to-do: DURIAN ICE CREAM, BABY!!! Now I've gotta be honest, the taste really wasn't as bad as I was expecting. The smell juuuuuuust before you bite into it, however, was nothing shy of a 3rd world sewer. I know that Muffin Puffin disagrees with this, but I have been burping all afternoon, and each time I get the "essense of fresh cest pool" aroma in my nostrils. Let's just say it will be awhile before Sammy dances with the real thing.
And speaking of eating, Muffin Puffin just finished some pasta, so it's time to settle in for some din din.
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!
Sam and Jenny

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