So I do have some good pictures of all this stuff, but the internet is pretty slow in my Melbourne hostel, so I'm not going to try to upload them now. You will just have to use your imagination until I can post full albums on facebook!
My first day back from Taipei, I eventually left the house (traveling = tiring!), and stopped by the Orchard ION mall to pick up new flip flops (are we counting? This is pair number 3…). I got turned around on the way, but ended up in an excellent food court, so I hung around there for a while, ate some pork and rice and gelato (#8) and bought a slice of flourless chocolate cake from an amazing-looking booth called “Awfully Chocolate.” I was also able to find some little presents for friends at home ;)
Anyway, I eventually came back up from my excellent food court interlude, and found where I was actually going with relative ease. Its one of the less well signed areas I’ve seen in Singapore, but only because the name of the underpass to the mall isn’t totally instinctive. I found the Outdoor Life store, which carries Rainbows, which I always refused to buy in college despite living in Southern California where they are a cult, because who needs $65 flip flops, but I was tired of shoes breaking and not fitting, and I basically live in my flip flops, so I sucked it up. And they are super comfortable, I can tell already, particularly the sole material/arch support situation, although because they are not broken in yet they have been giving me truly horrible blisters where the straps go. But I will power through!
After picking up my shoes, I headed to the National Orchid Garden! In first involved a 20-minute powerwalk through the Botanic Gardens from the MRT stop, which was only a bit of a hardship because I was carrying so much crap at this point. But the Botanic Gardens, as I’ve mentioned before, are totally beautiful!
I made it to the National Orchid Garden, which is within the free Botanic Gardens but is a $5 entry fee. It was totally worth it. It is the national flower of Singapore, after all! I am not obsessed with orchids, but I may have taken a solid 200 pictures of orchids. Get ready, facebook :P They have a whole subsection devoted to hybrids named after important people who have visited Singapore!
Eventually I wandered home, ate cheese and crackers and really excellent flourless chocolate cake for dinner, hung around, and went to bed when Cheryl got back from her dance recital!
On Tuesday, Cheryl took the day off work for various reasons, so I mostly hung around the apartment with her while she worked on extremely involved report cards. I did make an errand run in the middle of the day to the post office, and back to Awfully Chocolate to pick up a hazelnut crunch chocolate brownie situation that looked awesome, because how could I not go back to a place like that!?!
Eventually, though, we went out for pedicures in the Clarke Quay mall, which is basically Cheryl’s favorite Singapore activity, because you can get detailed mani/pedis with crazy designs for not that much money. I now have a teapot on one big toe and a clock on the other! Love it. Plus, we met up with her dancer friend Tracy, who is so sweet and fun. Plus, we finally got ginger milk tea! Primary Singapore mission accomplished. Post-salon, we headed across the river to find some dinner, and ended up eating at a totally delicious tapas place. Chorizo and fried cheese and potatoes and mushrooms in cream sauce, yum!!! We got these weird ice cream sandwiches from a stand on the way back, with a slice of ice cream on a slice of bread (#9). Cheryl and Tracy and apparently the whole of Singapore loves these, but I really didn’t. The bread tasted so odd to me, and weird with the ice cream, which was mint chip but way too peppermint-y. I didn’t even finish mine!
Fortunately, there was an ice cream place back across the river that I had wanted to try from my previous visit to Clarke Quay, so I grabbed a scoop of milk tea ice cream (#10), with some encouragement from Cheryl, who wanted me to hit ten ice cream purchases because she likes round numbers.
And on my last day in Singapore, I went to Sentosa Beach! I had a red-eye out to Melbourne that evening, but plenty of time before I had to leave for the airport around 5.
Sentosa Beach is super Singapore. It is an island, which you pay $1 to enter, and on it are waterfront walks, tons of shops and restaurants, an aquarium, a water park, a Universal Studios, a Madame Tussaud’s (?!?), Silosa Beach amusement parks… basically it is a fabulous playground for the rich. However, I did not buy tickets to any of those things; I was perfectly happy with my $1 exploratory walk among them all! I looked at everything, happy to be out in the warm sunshine, and meandered all the way to the ocean on the other side of the island before walking back to the areas closer to the boardwalk (which is how you get to the island from the MRT station). I ate some ice cream for lunch (#11) – which the woman working, who I think owned the shop, made right in front of me by pouring the batter in a stand mixer and pouring liquid nitrogen on it!!!!! It was so cool. It even made it worth the S$10 it cost for one scoop :P Although one scoop was more like two, and it was “hazelnut cheese cracker,” which I guess meant hazelnut ice cream with cheese crackers crumbled into it, which sounded crazy, but it just tasted like really really really good fresh hazelnut ice cream, which I am a sucker for anyway, with a little texture/crunch. So delicious.
I also stopped in at the Toast Box for a snack, since ice cream isn’t really exactly a great lunch, and since I was curious about the restaurant, which serves mostly toast and is an apparently extremely popular Singapore chain. I ordered some “traditional whole grain” toast with peanut butter, which was only $2.60, and which was good. Because, well, it tasted like toast with peanut butter on it. Which is good. So, uh, yes. Toast.
I also stopped by a sandwich shop and ordered a sandwich to go, to take with me on the plane that night! And then I went home, packed up, puttered around for a while, said good-bye to Cheryl’s cats, headed to the airport, and left Singapore!