after the customary greeting with the taxi driver (“you Philippines, ya?”) and with the singaporean driver getting lost in his own city who had to call my sister’s friend to ask for directions to her place, and with my sister’s friend not familiar with the landmarks the driver asked (it was all too, funny, i tell you. but not anymore when the meter was running by the minute and we knew we’d be paying a lot by the time we get to the correct Eunos Road 5), the driver had to consult this booklet which consisted of maps and landmarks of the city of Singapore. it was very kind of him, trying to get us to the right place and he was apologizing profusely for not knowing the address we gave him. my sister, who was miraculously even kinder than him, assured him that it was okay and even told the mister to take his time. i was like, “what?! the meter’s running right there and you’re telling him to take his time?!” i didn’t tell her that, though. but in my head i was bashing her head against the glass window. i love my sister to death! haha.
anyhow, the chinese gods got bored playing welcoming tricks on us and we finally (finally!) reached the correct building — after paying the driver SG$25. the equivalent peso computation killed me. i didn’t realize getting safely to one’s destination in one piece can be quite expensive these days. but then, of course, there’s that eery consolation of going home as a passenger and not as a cargo. so yeah, i was thankful in that sense.
Stephanie’s (the sister’s friend) flat was on the fourth floor. as always, dumbness comes naturally to my sister and me (although it heavily predominates in my sister’s system than in mine) and i soon found myself dragging my luggage up several flights of stairs — when there was an elevator all along!
a short taxi ride later, i was eating the best chicken rice in town ever! and this is coming from somebody who’s generally not too fond of chicken. so take my word on this: it’s really really good. should you find yourself lost in the land of the merlion, stop by Boon Tong Kee and try their chicken rice. you won’t regret it. it might look a little pale, like it’s half-cooked or something but like i said, it’s really good. and the fried food, too, with the purple orchid decoration and everything. or maybe i was just plain hungry.
after dinner, we walked around the place a little bit. and i mean “walk” in the literal, calf-numbing sense. once again, with my boots. hey, they didn’t make up that song “these boots are made for walking” for nothing, right? yeah, i kind of figured that out too. and all that for what again?
anyhow, we walked around the city “a little.” okay, i’m kidding, we did a lot (an understatement) of walking on our first night — from Marina Bay (where the Merlion Park is situated, assuming that i’m correct) to Clarke Quay. that’s probably, like, 1/4 of the entire Raffles Place/Marina Bay map. i should know. that map is right in front of me.
to be honest, there’s really nothing much to look at. i mean, once the amazement for the city lights and the tall buildings wear off, that’s about it. but, of course, you can get creative by making up scandalous stories in your head about the strangers you see swarming all over the parks. i did that at one point. but then i got bored of that too. and then i started wondering, “do these people ever go home?!” it wasn’t even a weekend and it seemed like 90% of the population was all there, with the remaining 10% on their way to getting there. i soon learned that hanging out after work is a favorite pastime of the locals there. like it’s their way of unwinding from all the stress and, perhaps, the perfection that Singapore nearly is.
as if all that walking wasn’t enough to paralyze me from my lumbar area-down, we did even more walking going to clark quay. the mounting muscular torture was interrupted by the sight of a big green trash can overflowing with litter.
finally! something negative to say about Singapore! the perfection was getting quite boring. the image of an overflowing trash can with the words “Singapore” and “litter-free” was a complete antithesis of the cleanliness of the country. but i have to admit that my ecstasy of finally digging up some dirt was cut short when i realized that i was strolling (rather painfully) back into the familiar litter-free environment — past that trash can, which would probably be cleaned out the day after, anyway. and once again the merlion city would be as squeaky clean as ever. so much for dirt-digging.
Singapore’s obsessed with signage. or so i noticed. it’s everywhere. and to scare people into obedience, different amounts of fines are established depending on the rules. like the Singaporeans need that. they seem like the really obedient type of people. the Filipinos, on the other hand, could definitely take a page from their book and duct-tape it on their foreheads as a constant reminder of the laws of obedience. and if that were the case, my forehead would be full of duct tape marks. haha.
saw hundreds of king crabs there on the restaurants along the way, pleading customers with their black pin eyes to please kill them and cook them already to end the torture once and for all. they reminded me of my friend, cari. those crabs wouldn’t know what steamed them if they were in cari’s hands. haha. but, of course, the moment you get close to get a good look at the huge crabs, some restaurant personnel would come up to you with a cheerful smile and a couple of sales tricks up their sleeves. most of the time, their introduction would go like this: you philippines, ya? i bet they can spot a filipino from three blocks away. are we that common?! and there i was, a filipino, and i could never even recognize strangers’ faces if they were filipino or not!
the highlight of this night was the mint chocolate chip ice cream bought from this vendor at Clark Quay. it was really good. i love anything minty on my sweets. anyhow, i noticed that the ice cream’s brand name was Wall’s but surprisingly enough, it has the same logo as our Selecta here. i deduced it’s the same company but they just change the name of their products depending on the country where they sell it. also, their ice cream was served in blocks sandwiched in between wafers. it doesn’t melt that easily too, maybe because of the thickness of it. did i tell you already it’s really good? ‘coz it is. and look at my arms! instant flabs, baby. God knows i could use the added calories and the consequent weight gain. haha.