Back in Sydney…Again!

Since getting back to Sydney a mere 4 weeks ago, Jackie and I have been busy catching up with friends, going to parties, seeing Jack Johnson perform in centennial park, and believe it or not, going on holiday again – we just got back from a week in Singapore in time to celebrate my 24th birthday in Sydney!

Our first few weeks back were great fun. We’d been away so long that it was nice to unpack and catch up with all of our friends. We also found time to go and see a Jack Johnson concert with our friend Mel in Centennial Park which was a great relaxed show.

Jackie’s uni decided that her mid session holiday should be after week 3 out of 14 because of easter so we decided that it was the perfect opportunity to use some of dad’s frequent flyer miles (Thanks again dad!) to visit Singapore (on the A380 no less). We had a wonderful time there staying with some old family friends, the Ball’s, just round the corner from where we used to live. It really was great to show Jackie around where I grew up, do lots of shopping, eat lots of food, and catch up with old friends.

Our first day in Singapore we arrived mid afternoon and headed straight out to a tailor that dad has used for years to get some suits and shirts made (and also to get a snack of peanut filled tutu cakes), before heading out to dinner with the Ball’s at a chinese restaurant near Alexandra Park where they live, called Manhill. Dinner was delicious and we overate, but we seemed to do that at every meal in Singapore. After dinner, Domina (one of the Ball girls) took us out to Clarke Quay for some Margarita’s at a bar called Iguana Bar overlooking the Singapore River. Clarke Quay has been renovated since I lived in Singapore and is really a fun area, and even the outdoor areas are air conditioned!

The next day was Easter friday so we had a quiet morning eating roti prata (an indian bread and curry breakfast) that Dorian went out to get, before heading out to a traditional Cantonese lunch with an old Family friend, Carol Wee, her daughter Alex and some of their family and friends. After lunch we headed to Queensway Shopping Center near the park, as well as Alexandra Village, our local hawker center. We then walked back to the park and visited my old house on Cornwall Rd, where we were given a tour by the current tenants which brought back alot of memories. We then headed out to a brand new shopping center called Vivo City (which is HUGE!!!!) to have a late second lunch with Leny and Eden, who were our maids in Singapore for years and years. We also tried some yummy local dessert as I had taken it on myself to make sure Jackie tried just about everything Singapore has to offer 🙂 That night we were out at Clarke Quay again with an old friend of mine Moubin, and another friend, Lauren, for a few drinks including a Chocolate Martini, as well as a cherry shisha at a Moroccan style Bar.

Given how much I wanted to show Jackie in Singapore and our standard busy schedule whenever Jackie and I travel, Saturday was not a day of rest. We were up early and off to see Chinatown Colonial District and Little India. Chinatown was fun, since walking out of the MRT (the metro equivalent) we were immediately surrounded by decorations and a stall to buy some Bakkwa, a honey bbq pork snack that I love. We checked out some temples and slowly made our way through the cbd to Lau Pa Sat, another food court for a snack of Popiah, before continuing our walk to see the Fullerton Hotel in the old post office building, the Merlion (Singapore’s Icon), the Esplanade which houses the theatre’s on the bay and is nick named ‘the durian’ because of it’s architecture, the cricket club, and of course, the famous Raffles Hotel. At the Raffles we stopped by the Long Bar to have a Singapore Sling right where it was invented!! After that we quickly checked out Chijmes, an old church converted into a restaurant area and then headed up the road to Arab St and Little India, where we bought a few little trinkets and saw another temple. After that we hopped back on the MRT home, via a quick stop at Alexandra Village for some laksa for lunch. Then it was out to dinner at Moira (a family friend) and Lauren’s house for a delicious dinner and early birthday cake after which we were ready for an early night!

Sunday we were up early again and off to the Botanic Gardens where we walked around for a little while before having lunch with Carol and some of her family and friends at Samy’s Curry Restaurant where we had all kinds of delicacies on our banana leaf plates, including fish head curry and masala chicken! After lunch we spent hours checking out all the shops along Orchard rd although we somehow managed not to buy anything 🙁 After shopping we headed home for a quick swim and some relaxation before heading out again to the Night Safari, which is basically like a zoo but at night and is very cool!

Monday, once again we were up quite early to go for a walk around Alexandra Park (to see another of our old houses’) with Deirdre, as well as around the nearby Kent Ridge Park, where there is now a walk through the canopy of the trees! After that we cooled off in the pool and then got a taxi to Changi Village to get a bumboat out to Pulau Ubin, a little island off the coast of Singapore where we went for a walk through the wilderness and then had a delicious but huge lunch of mee goreng, fried rice and kai lan with oyster sauce. Then we were off again back to the mainland and on to East Coast Park Seafood Center where there is now a cable skiing park (think wakeboarding/waterskiiing, but being pulled by a cable around a lake – check out the videos in the gallery). Daniella met us at the cable skiing (ski 360) and we spent the afternoon there having a great time, before meeting Moubin and his brother Misrab for a delicious seafood dinner next door at No Signboard Seafood (which has it’s name on a huge signboard). We had bamboo clam, sambal kang kong, pepper crayfish, and of course, the famous Singapore delicacy of chilli crab, all washed down with some tiger beer and followed by refreshing soursop juice and mango sago pudding – yum yum!

Tuesday morning we woke up still feeling quite full, and very sore from wakeboarding, but still managed to head off to check out my old school, United World College or UWC, as well as Holland Village, another shopping center. We then swung by Mohan’s (the tailor) for Jackie’s first fitting and then our old club, the Tanglin Club, where we used to hang out by the pool. After a few minutes there we headed to another hawker center, Newton Circus, for some popiah and char siew wanton noodles! The weather wasn’t looking great so we headed home and had some wine with Deirdre and Dorian and then went out to meet Leny again for dinner at Vivo City and some shopping. We were in the shopping mood and Jackie bought a new wallet and lip stick and I bought a new belt in about 5 minutes!! You’d think that after shopping at Vivo city we could check that off our list of things to do, but you’d be wrong! Wednesday morning we were back at Harbourfront and Vivo City to get the cable car across to Sentosa Island where we checked out the beach and wondered around a bit before getting the cable car back. We then shopped around Vivo City again and Jackie bought 2 pairs of shoes and a jacket. We then swung by Mohan’s for Jackie to get another fitting, and then stopped at another one of my local shopping centers, anchorpoint, on the way back to the park.

That night Moubin’s family had invited us over to dinner, so we headed over there and had a wonderful home cooked meal. It was great to see the house again after all the times that I had stayed there growing up. After dinner, Moubin took us for a tour of the polo club where we had a drink and chatted. We then headed out to Clarke Quay (again!!) to meet Lauren and finally have a night out at Ministry of Sound. We started off at a bar called Clinic where we ordered drinks in large syringes, and then headed over to MoS where Lauren knows everyone and got us in to all the VIP rooms and everything. We danced and had a great fun night, although Thursday morning we were a little tired for our last day in Singapore.

Despite the lack of sleep we were up early for Jackie to bake a flourless orange chocolate cake for dinner since we were all chipping in for our final dinner – I was in charge of the appetizer. When Jackie was done with the cake we headed to Mohan’s yet again to collect everything before having lunch at a Japanese restaurant with Sam Siddique, the daughter of one of dad’s old friends. Sam is working at Ogilvy, which is one of the firms that Jackie is interested in working for so we also had a tour of the office which was really useful! Never having a minute unplanned, we headed straight to the American club after lunch to meet Daniella and Deirdre. The girls then got pampered in the spa while I sat by the pool and swam a few lengths which helped loosen up all the muscles that were still stiff from wakeboarding. When they were finally finished we went back to the house to pack and prepare the final supper! Lauren and Moira came round and we had a great dinner by the pool overlooking the valley before heading off to the airport! It really was a wonderful week and we were sad to say goodbye to the Ball’s who were such great hosts, as well as everyone else we had caught up with, and Singapore in general!

Yesterday morning we got back to Sydney in time for my birthday. To celebrate, mum and dad took me and some friends out to dinner at a delicious Italian Restaurant, and afterwards we all headed out to Kings Cross for a big night out on the town. It was a really great night, and a fun way to celebrate my 24th!

Hope you’re all well.

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