Singapore + Bali (Part 1/3)

Note: This is a super late post! I’ve been gathering my thoughts and photos.

With Clint’s return came the holiday we both desperately needed. He deserved an oasis to contrast the desert he just came from; and I deserved a break from the Tokyo winter. We’d been planning our trip to Singapore and Bali for a few months, and the wait was worth it.

Singapore Days 1-4

Our HOP out of Yokota came a couple of days earlier than expected, so we had more time than initially planned. But we weren’t complaining! Singapore is immaculately clean and architecturally developed. We could tell the port city has a lot of pride in its image. It’s also clear they’re heavily invested in tourism considering the abundance of taxis and outrageous costs of everything.

We hit the ground running the first afternoon – well, more like leisurely walking. It was so nice to let go of restrictive curfews and pressure to sleep at an early hour. We walked all along the Clarke Quay river walk searching for food. There’s an ample selection – one more expensive than the next. We were well aware of how expensive Singapore can be, but were still sticker shocked nonetheless. Upon seeing a Hooters, the savory flavor of their famous wings lured me in. I know, you’re thinking, “You went to Singapore and ate Hooters?” Well, yes. I hadn’t had access to it in over two and a half years. The craving was too strong. Our bill came out to be much higher than it would’ve back in the States, but the wings were delicious. I can’t say the same for the special items on their menu.

We spent the rest of the evening just soaking in the quiet weekday nightlife along the quay. Then Clint had a spontaneous idea to walk towards the Marina Bay Sands hotel. “You’re crazy. It’s miles away,” I said. “It’s not like we have to go to bed early,” he retorted. This was true. And so we ventured on our way. It was actually a two-mi walk; and it was lovely. We walked across many beautiful buildings, clubs and food stalls. It gave us a chance to see the city in a way we wouldn’t have in a car.

The next day, Clint was feeling extra energetic, so he wanted to walk from our hotel to the Gardens by the Bay. It ended up being an eight-hour walk with all the detours! Kallang Road has an overwhelming number of restaurants and shops. What started as a quick errand for sunglasses escalated into a two-hour shopping diversion.

Before the Gardens is the lotus-shaped ArtScience Museum – naturally, we had to stop in. There was a photography exhibit covering various political movements around the world. It was simultaneously somber and inspiring. Since the museum is attached to The Shoppes, we had to do some window shopping. And inside the mall is the casino. Clint couldn’t not try his luck – so in we went.

After all that time, we finally made it to the Gardens. It was a scene straight out of Avatar – both extraterrestrial and organic. Just mesmerizing! Clint somehow talked me into going up to the Skyway – a bridge 72 feet high! He tried convincing me it would help me get over my fear of heights. Nope. Despite almost dying of fear, it was a lovely place.

We finished off the night with seafood from the nearby food stalls. What a day!

Our last full day turned out to be a wet one. We went out in search of some Vietnamese food and Starbucks. We ended up at MRS PHO, a charming restaurant on Beach Rd. The bun bo hue was exactly what I was looking for, but the marketing was what really sold me. With cheeky phrases like, “School of pholosophy” and “You never phoget your first,” I was enamored. I wish we could’ve taken the posters home as memorabilia.

We also checked out Funan Digitalife Mall, Singapore’s tech haven. Anything electronics item you need can be found here. Clint was sold the minute the saleslady pitched him the “multi-functional charger.” While in the taxi, I saw a cathedral and had to check it out. It turned out to be The Church Of Our Lady Of Lourdes. I don’t know why, but it took me back to when I was a kid at our church in Houston, TX. It had sentimental meaning, even though I’d never been there before. I suppose cathedrals just have that effect on me.

That evening, we met up with my cousin from Vietnam. Serendipitously, she was there on business. We got some Chinese food, rummaged through the fruit market stands and went for drinks at Clark Quay. It was the most wonderful surprise to see her there. I can’t wait ’til she visits me in Japan!

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