A long good Friday

We had coffee in our room and finalised our plans for the day. Our first decision was to extend our room booking for another night. The alternative was to check out at 12 noon, hand our luggage in and have a shower later on. That all required too much effort, so we just booked an extra night and can use the room stress free until we’re ready to leave for the airport.

Our breakfast destination was only a few minutes walk from the MRT Outram Park station, just one stop over from our hotel.

The Populus Coffee & Food Co. has good coffee. Flat whites are back! And the food was tasty too. Populus wouldn’t be out of place in Hoxton.

From there, it’s a 23 minute walk to our next destination – Yong Siak Street. At first, it wasn’t apparent why you’d make the journey.

Yong Siak Street is in the middle of a residential area with high rises all around us. Yet, the small street is packed with cool things – great places to eat, a wine shop and a yoga centre. Some pictures on the wall tell the story of an old coffee stall that had lots of caged birds to entertain the customers. We had made the journey to browse the shelves of Woods in the Books (a children’s bookshop) and Books Actually, the latter has a book machine outside selling ‘mystery books’ and they publish books with a local slant such as mini guidebooks to each area of Singapore with hand-drawn sketches or short stories. We love it! Almost every single book we picked up captured our imagination and interest.

Our last stop was Plain Vanilla Bakery. They are famous for their cupcakes. Andy had a flat white and a raspberry breakfast muffin. I had an amazing strawberry custard tart and a carrot juice. This place is divine.

We were on a tight schedule so regrettably, we had to leave and so we got a cab to our next destination – Kampong Glam. This district formerly housed the Malay aristocracy and had a vibrant Malay population during the British colonial period. A man walking past us took the time to stop to tell us that Malay people had suffered ethnic cleansing at the hands of the Chinese. Nowadays, the area is known as the Muslim Quarter and the imposing Sultan Mosque dominates the area. The streets were busy with people making their way to the mosque; we’d arrived just as the prayer call started. We walked down a few streets – Haji Lane and Arab Street in particular. Many have original shop houses with boutique shops and restaurants. Kampong Glam is very colourful. It is one of the few areas in Singapore where graffiti is allowed.

We had lunch at Alaturka, one of 34 restaurants in Singapore to be awarded a Bib Gourmand award in the inaugural Singapore Michelin Guide in 2016. We shared some olives, babakanus, hallumi and an ispanakli pite. We took our time as the sunshine had given way to torrential rain.

After lunch, we sought shelter in Intersections, an art gallery currently exhibiting the works of Tania Nasr and Hanibal Srouji. Burning Landscapes – the exhibition – explores the themes of fire and landscapes. The works were aesthetically pleasing. Yet, in Hanibal Srouji’s case, his works symbolise the journey he undertook when he had to leave Lebanon (background).

The woman manning the gallery spent a few minutes chatting to us about Singapore, and travelling in general.

We took the MRT back to the hotel, and reluctantly made a start on packing our bags.

The rain let off. Time to head out for one last adventure.

We took the MRT to Bayfront and spent an hour or so walking around Gardens by the Bay. Lush greenery, exotic flowers and a great background – the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the business district. And of course, Supertree Grove. The supertrees have become a symbol of Singapore. I love that they are actually used to convert sunlight into energy for the gardens. The park is stunning and it absorbs a lot of people. We often found ourselves on our own. We walked to the other side of the Marina Bay Sands to look at the waterfront and the business district.

“Come on, let’s go home” said Andy.

We took the MRT to Chinatown station, got a deposit back on our travel cards and instead of heading to the hotel to finish packing and leave for the airport, we went on one last last adventure.

The sixth floor of the People’s Park Complex. It’s not easy to find, and this top tip – believe it or not – came from Booking.com.

LePark! is a ‘secret’ bar on the roof of the shopping complex. It has imported craft beers.

We’re not naive. We know that things can be tough here. Yet, we’ve had a great time.

We cheered to Singapore and headed into the night.

Time to go home.

4 thoughts on “A long good Friday”

  1. You’ve done an amazing job of seeking out the best things in Singapore. There’s nothing naive about that. What do durians smell of?

    1. “It’s funny. When you leave your home and wander really far, you always think, ‘I want to go home.’ But then you come home, and of course it’s not the same. You can’t live with it, you can’t live away from it. And it seems like from then on there’s always this yearning for some place that doesn’t exist. I felt that. Still do. I’m never completely at home anywhere.”

      ~ Danzy Senna

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