Between weekend island hops and foreign city explorations I have still been procrastinating my school work by spending time out in Singapore. Yes, I know I’ve been traveling quite a bit, but there are 5 full days between travel weekends to fill with fun things like not homework. With that said, here is an itemized list of cool things I’ve done around Singapore of late:
1) Cronuts and the Botanic Gardens.
In celebration of Brandi’s birthday we went to a cafe to try the Singaporean version of the newest baked-good fad sweeping New York right now, the cronut. Meant to be a mix between a croissant and a donut, my salted caramel confection did not disappoint. And I got coffee with a fancy foam design! After eating we walked around the Botanic gardens, stopping by an operatic looking stage in the middle of a tiny lake to listen as A cappella groups practiced for a show later that night. The gardens weren’t as exciting and full of flowers as I expected them to be but I also didn’t go into the orchid garden and it was (surprise!) deafeningly hot, which always makes the outdoors less enjoyable. Still, it was a fun outing and I’m glad I finally got to see the gardens. Happy birthday Brandi!
2) Water taxi and helix bridge
Since the first time I saw a water taxi on the Singapore river I’ve wanted to take one, so one evening we headed to Clark Quay and took a boat to Marina bay. The taxi had no purpose other than that we wanted to ride in a boat; we had no reason for being in Clark Quay or Marina bay, but the ride was very fun. The boat was basically empty and we sat out on the back deck so we could watch the skyline. Once at our destination we walked across the helix bridge (design inspired by DNA) and I realized that the colored lights on the ground were the 4 nucleotide codes that make up our genetic code (ATGC). While I appreciated the science imbued architecture I was also mildly off-put by the lack of meaning in the lettered lights. I read an informational sign and nowhere did it mention that the pattern of the nucleotide pairs reflected a specific gene sequence. It would have been a lot to ask, I know, but also would have been extremely awesome if the lights coded for something intentional. Either way the bridge was nice to walk across, and made even better by the ice cream sandwich booth at the end. (Sorry for the mediocre quality photos, night photos are beyond the reach of my camera so these are iPhone shots).
3) Tiger Brewery Tour
I learned about the southeast asian beer of choice, Tiger, in a fun (but not super comprehensive) tour of the brewing factory. We got to see exhibits about the ingredients of beer and briefly looked around the very hot room where the malting to boiling stages occur in massive metal tanks. We entered a giant Tiger bottle statue to watch a video about the packaging process, and I was a bit disappointed to realize that we didn’t get to see the plant in person. After that we were taught how to properly tap a glass of Tiger and then went to the in house bar for 45 minutes of free pour beer, where we sampled 4 other brands connected to Tiger as well as Tiger itself. For S$16, it was probably one of the cheaper ways I’ve found to get beer in Singapore. The tasting reinforced my belief that I’m not a fan of dark beers (Baron) and I tend to enjoy brews with weird fruity flavors in the aftertaste (Archipelago) but I still also appreciate a classic light pour (ABC, Anchor, and Tiger). The tour and tasting were both very fun, and I got to be classy drunk in the afternoon with a good excuse.
4) Art and Science Museum
In order to claim some higher-class cultural authority on Singapore we decided to see the exhibits at the Art and Science museum in front of the Marina Bay Sands hotel. Shaped like a blooming lotus flower, this iconic building is in most pictures of the famous Marina Bay skyline. The exhibits we wanted to see were the mummy and the 50 best national geographic photos. First, though, we had to take photos through the giant yellow national geographic square statue gracing the center of a pond out front. Position the camera just right and it looked like the people standing across the water were in a national geographic photo, I’m sure an intentional bonus of the design. Once inside the museum we hit up the mummy first, watching an informational video with ancient Egypt-inspired 3D glasses. I kept them, they are awesome. After we explored the mummy exhibit itself and then headed to a hall of what I am convinced were more than 50 national geographic photos. Learning the stories behind some of the most well known photos to come out of that magazine was really interesting, although there were some pictures where I was sure I wouldn’t have even printed it the first time, much less included it in those hallowed-ish halls. Others, though, were absolutely breathtaking. All in all, one of the better (and least boring) museum trips I’ve partaken in so far.
5) Chilli Crab
I knew before I left I had to try the famous Singaporean dish, chilli crab. We celebrated Canadian thanksgiving at one of the most popular seafood restaurants right on the water at Clark Quay, Jumbo. Chilli crab is a dish where they serve you a freshly cooked (you can see perfectly alive crabs in tanks out front, and every so often a kitchen worker comes and whisks one away to its death) crab in the chilli crab sauce, a thick semi-sweet tomato chilli sauce. We got one crab to share between the three of us plus some veggies and rolls, and it was plenty. I haven’t cracked open a whole crab in a while so it was fun to get my crab gold mining skills honed again. Though certainly not the best food I’ve had in asia so far, this definitely ranks pretty high.