Kaya toast to power up at 7:30. A nearly two hour train and bus commute. Soy milk and a sampling of nasi lemak. A dingy bum boat cruise to reach the island. Welcome to Pulau Ubin,
Singapore’s remote natural island.
Once on the island, we rented bikes, got readjusted, and began our island tour. While a good portion of the trails are paved, the ones that lead to the really interesting parts of the island are not. Dismount and push? I beg to differ!
Our first stop: Che Wetlands. We parked our bikes without a lock, relying on the fact we were practically the only people on the island at such a time and day. Forest trails broke way to a long raised boardwalk- exposing the life below at low tide and protecting its travelers by high tide. Next up, mangrove walk and a high climb to a lookout tower. Beautiful. The mangroves were in crocs infested waters but that was just part of the adventure.
After more trailblazing, lily ponds, and a quarry, we returned to town center (a limited collection of a few food shops and bike rentals) for a refreshing young coconut drink. Back to the trails! In the heat I’m rarely hungry so lunch was a 3 pm affair back on the mainland at Chiangi Village: bites of a beef noodle dish, more soy milk, and two soy cream desserts in mango and strawberry (amazing).
Other things in the island? Sunburn, quarries, kayaking (which we didn’t want to do), mountain bike park, closed off camping areas, and the German Girl Shrine. The highlight was the Buddhist temple we found down an unmarked trail. From the small cave dome with tiger statues and offerings to the many Buddha statues, it was certainly beautiful.
The return journey highlights a little thing about Singapore: a two hour public transportation route only takes twenty minutes by cab. A splendid nap. Followed by another sun-overexposure induced nap in my friend’s air conditioned home. And finally: reunion dinner with my college roomie!
Dinner was a tasting menu-like affair at Newton Food Centre. Sting ray in chili sauce (so tasty and tender), satay, mutton soup, fried buns, oyster omelette, carrot cake (actually a delicious combo of eggs, chives, and radish), soursop drink with fresh fruit, and a lime-lemon drink. Needless to say, delicious. And the company? Even better.
The night ended at the National Museum at a photography talk which my friend couldn’t miss (he’s an amazing photographer). We even got very lucky and Daily Scoop was still open after 10pm closing. So of course I indulged: overtime hours = overdosage. Why choose one when you can enjoy the creamy worlds of both “Shockingly Coconut” and “Okayah” (kaya toast flavored) ice cream?