Former glory, lush paradise and culinary adventures

Starting the day like a local, we indulged in noodles in sweet sauce and wonton soup for breakfast, washed down with fresh soy milk.

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From there a decent bus ride transported us to city center: the library, SMU and a short skip to Raffles Hotel, Singapore’s whitewashed tribute to the glory days of the British empire.

When I strolled through its quaint, romantic passages, I finally got what the fuss is all about. I could almost feel the adventurous spirit mixed with pride that its residents must have felt long long ago. Almost. But then again, I could never see the justice in colonizing countries against their will. That’s another matter 😉

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From the glorious Raffles, we cut through a beautiful park with war memorials, sidestepped through a lacrosse competition field, and crossed a wrought iron bridge to have coffee with the Merlion. Roar.

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Next up, the Durian, really the performance arts center, which just so happens to have an incredible panoramic view of the bay from the top. Hidden secret.

Lunch was a sprawl through shopping centers and an eventual rest from challenging my taste buds. I am much happier with bland or at least lightly prepared foods. My perfect lunch respite? Rosemary chicken with cranberry sauce on whole meal linseed bread. Yum yum yum.

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Our sightseeing adventures ended with the Gardens by the Bay. I questioned my friend whether the steep ticket price were worth the observatories. It took one second of stepping into the garden filled glass domes to know he was right. A garden of nostalgia. I was launched back in time, in place, with each different species I recognized from some point in my life. The cacti of childhood adventure in New Mexico. The Bilbao or palo borracho from family visits to Argentina. The hanging flower pods that somehow remind me of my mom. The orchids from my high school first love. They were all there, my humble plant friends who extracted my memories. I love gardens.

The neighboring glass chamber contained the water cloud– a spire of plants erupting into fountains that poured from their spouts to the ground level below. No wandering pedestrian was saved its splashes, which I rather enjoyed.

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A highlight of the day was the centre out to Marina Barrage. Sunday at the Marina means high flying kites. Spiderman, fish, animals, and a giant octopus. The whole clan was in attendance. Fighting the wind for rights to my dress and braving public exposure, I soaked in the sun (my chest and shoulders would argue we charbroiled) as the kites brightened the skyline of the Marina Bay Sands hotel and the Garden’s giant flowers in the near distance.

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The sightseeing may have ended, but socializing was yet to begin. First, another coffee and cameras chat, posing as a true local. Then dinner an hour away at Marina Country Club: a table of eight and enough crab for a a shell explosion on the table. Two messy hands, one messier table, eight empty plates, seven dishes and steamed buns, and mango pudding later, I was the proud (stuffed) trier of many Singapore-must-try dishes. The evening’s encore food journey included traversing through a local night market and sharing muah chee, or glutinous rice in peanut powder. Mmm.

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Now I am sunburned, stuffed and exhausted. Oh and happy.

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