December 2, 2020
On my morning run along the Singapore River. Many of the bridges along here are lit for the season.

Singapore 2018

A lot has changed since the previous post (Costa Rica 2018): we moved to Florida at the end of October, visited The Hunters on Saint Simon Island, GA on our way down and added an new granddaughter, Evelyn, on my birthday (making 11 – grandchildren, not birthdays). In addition, we had visitors to our new home – friends whom were part of our Singapore book club, now living in Minneapolis and visiting their son at university in Florida.

At the end of November, my son-in-law, Tom, had to go to Singapore to teach a seminar on film making and asked if I would like to go along. Of course, I said yes and Pat approved. I wanted to see some of the friends that were still there (a shrinking number, to be sure).

My flight was from Miami. Fortunately, where we live in Boynton Beach, we have access to 3 international airports (Palm Beach International, Fort Lauderdale and Miami). I took the Tri-Rail train from Boynton Beach to the Miami airport, a 2.5-hour journey for less than $7. What a deal.

I flew from Miami, through London’s Heathrow, to Singapore, leaving late on Wednesday evening and arriving on Friday morning (SG time, or Thursday evening, Miami time). It was a long trip, only salvageable because I was able to spend my 3-hour layover at LHR in one of the airport lounges. When I arrived in Singapore, I road the MRT to Tiong Bahru, the area we had lived in for 2 years there. It was so comfortable being back – I was at ease using the MRT and other public transport and I loved being back in my old neighborhood.

Unable to check in, I went for a walk, stopping at one of my favorite bakeries, Tiong Bahru Bakery, then a visit to Kenny Leck at Books Actually. Finally arriving back at Hotel Nostalgia and getting into my tiny yet comfortable room. I then went for a quick 3-mile run on one of the routes I had run many times before. My plan was to stay awake as long as possible to adjust to the 13-hour time difference. This plan didn’t work exactly – after lunch and a Tiger beer, I took a 3 hour nap, before heading out for dinner at Lee Tai Fu, a favorite restaurant, just around the corner from the Central Green condos, where we lived. My friend Derek was happy to see me and, just like old times, picked out an IPA for me.

After dinner, it was back to the hotel, where I met Wei Hon, a great friend whose 3 children spent many hours with our grandsons. We stopped at a Thai restaurant so he could have dinner. The restaurant, Little Elephant Thai Bistro, was very good.

The Little Elephant Thai Bistro across from the Tiong Bahru Bakery.
The Little Elephant Thai Bistro across from the Tiong Bahru Bakery.

Saturday morning breakfast was a familiar one for me – egg tarts from Leung Sang Hong Kong Pastries and strong kopi (coffee) from around the corner. I even remembered to order Kopi O KoSong – coffee without sugar or condensed milk – so good!

Lunch was again one of my favorites – popiah and Tiger beer at the Tiong Bahru Market. The stall that I ordered from was Lau Chen Carrot Cake and Poh Piah, which has only 3 menu items on their menu (Fried White Carrot Cake, Fried Black Carrot Cake and Poh Piah).

 

I finally met up with Tom, after his first day’s seminar. He made use of my hotel room to rest, while I went to the lobby with my Kindle. Later, we walked to Club 1880, where Tom wanted to show me around. There was a fancy function in progress, so we stayed only long enough to see a couple of the rooms. Then walked to the Zion Road Food Center for satay.

Eating satay at the Zion Road Food Center

Sunday morning, I went for a run with One Tree Hill as one of my objectives. Jenny’s family had moved from Central Green to a small complex on One Tree Hill after Pat and I had moved back to the U.S.A. When they left SG a year later, they were told the apartment complex was going to be torn down soon. The way things like this work in Singapore, we didn’t know if it would happen. My run confirmed it had been torn down.

Later on Sunday, I went to a Holiday Party at our friends, Jane and Sunder. It was a fun party and I also enjoyed the company of other former book club members, Gulcin and Phil. Other book club members had not arrived by the time I left.  I certainly miss the book club and the good people we became friends with.

Monday included breakfast at the Book Cafe and lunch with another friend, Kirsten Schultz. After lunch, Kirsten and I walked toward Kampong Glam and Arab Street. I peeled off early to see the photo museum from the outside. It was nice to see Kirsten again. Later that day, I went to Chinatown to visit Smith Street Taps. Unfortunately, I forgot it was always closed on Mondays – damn!

Tuesday included another run, this time along the Singapore River to the Merlion and back to the hotel. This was another of my regular running routes. Then I took the #851 bus to Little India and went to Mustafa Center to buy a couple of belts. By then it was lunch time, so I went to another favorite restaurant, Kailash Parbat.

Tuesday afternoon, I also visited other friends at Central Green, Alvin, Angie and their 3 children. Once again, what fun it is to visit old friends.

For dinner, I had been invited to Phil’s and Gulcin’s. Good meal and even better company.

Wednesday is my last day in Singapore, but I had no plans, so I spent most of the time in the hotel lobby, reading and occasionally working on websites. I left Singapore late Wednesday night, bound for LHR and then Miami. It was good to get home.

One thing I definitely learned from this trip was that it’s a lot more fun to travel with Pat!

 

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