Sizzling in Singapore

Trip Start Mar 29, 2006
Trip End Feb 28, 2007

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Saturday, April 1, 2006

SATURDAY, 1st April...Sizzling in Singapore
...a tigger in the shape of J. came bouncing on to my bed and in spite of my very obvious presence completely ignored me as he got rid of some of his early morning energy.
I abluted and went to look for some breakfast. Toast and marmalade was provided by Zany after which Anne and I slipped on our walking gear and prepared to hit the town on our own this day. We hailed a cab at the end of the road which dropped us off at the entrance to Temple street in Chinatown. Anne found and purchased some silk tissue box covers as gifts for her friends in England. I have yet to come to terms with that one but she knows best. At least they are light. I looked at some cameras but was really not convinced that we need two in the family. But, I was to be owed a birthday present as my 65th rushed up to meet me in a few days.
It was very warm in that street so we went hunting for an air-conned shopping centre. We walked across a bridge over a busy road into a mall but entered on the third level which was devoted entirely to massage parlours. [No. Not that kind of parlour. These were genuine torture chambers.] I surrendered my shoulders and arms to an immensely strong pair of male hands which spent 20 minutes giving me one of the most agonizing experiences of my life...all designed to loosen up my muscles. That it did...I think. At least I felt more relaxed for the rest of the day. But what a painful way to manipulate my joints as he forced his thumbs into all my aching muscles and stretched all my finger joints.

We wandered through the other floors looking at some more cameras and lenses but decided we had had enough. We crossed the street again, entered what turned out to be a Best and Less type store, exited and hailed another cab to take us to Orchard Road which we recalled from our previous trip to be the 'bees knees' in shopping streets.
We went into Centre Point, found an ATM and a bookshop and would you believe a Harvey Norman. We lunched in a Pizza Hut which was not cheap and decided then to walk to Clarke Quays which we recalled to be a hub of activity. Bad decision. The walk was wearying in the heat...not unexpected...and the Quay was deserted. Wrong time of the day really. We were desperate for a drink but could only find the one air conned café. Most of the others were in the open air which explains why most of their business is at night. We had one expensive beer each and, cooled down, we set off again. Of course 50 metres down the road was a regular bar wasn't there! With soccer on their TV!! We caught another cab back to the apartment.  
[We discussed the possibility of airconning the whole city. It is a great place to live but for the climate. There is a lot of money here so I am sure they could progressively surround the city in a cocoon of cool air. The impermeable dome would not have to be high. It need only be 20 metres and could be attached to the walls of the city buildings. A translucent gossamer type of material that would allow rain through but not the humid air. BUT where does one install the compressors to cool the air on the streets??]

Just in time to catch the end of J's birthday party downstairs. There is a small function room in the foyer and they had invited a dozen kids to be entertained with finger food, music and games. We arrived in time to clear up which was a little awkward carrying balloons and leftover food into the lift. Not to mention chasing after J as he took off for the playground outside or tipped his new Lego out of the jar for the umpteenth time.

I snoozed, read the newspaper, watched the kids play with toys or read to V until it was time for their evening meal. E offered me a Scotch which was hard to refuse and disappeared to help put the kids to bed while we took the opportunity to get dressed for dinner out. We said goodnight to the kids leaving them with Zany again and set off for our evening meal as a foursome.

First we drove to this crazy wine bar or club that E belongs to. A tall, but solid, modern building right in the middle of town surrounded by an acre of lawn yet enclosed by the concrete jungle of the city. E once again found a parking spot right outside, flashed his membership card and seated us at a low table in the middle of what at first seemed to be a cathedral. It was an enormous foyer with a ceiling that seemed to go on forever. Around the wall high up amongst the timber and marble and behind a wrought iron railing was a narrow mezzanine. However, there were bars at each end of ground level and a wine rack. A wine rack that stretched from the ground to the ceiling above...about 30 metres...accessed by a chick dressed as a fairy. [I kid you not. She wore a pink taffeta dress with gossamer wings on the back!] She would hook herself on to a cable that dangled from the roof and manoeuvre herself up the side of this wine rack by means of one of those hand controls normally associated with remote cranes or hoists. On our behalf she flew up the wine rack and selected our Veuve Cliquot as ordered by our host. Served in fine flutes by a flightless waiter, we emptied the bottle, nibbled nuts and left. It was really a magnificent building owned and occupied by DHL. 

We drove a short distance to the Chimes Monastery. An equally magnificent building but as the name indicates it was old and it was low. The two acre site was now devoted to fine dining. The chapel still remained [in which there was a wedding taking place as we arrived] but the vestibules had been divided up into restaurants. The ground above the vaults had been cut away leaving a cavernous central entertainment and drinking area. E had the car valet parked and while we waited for a table to be cleared I wandered around being nosy and just caught the end of Match of the Day on the big screen down in the vaults!

We were to dine a la Nipponese tonight. We were not asked, otherwise we may have persuaded them otherwise. But maybe just maybe it would turn out to be better than previous experiments with Japanese foods. It was not. The table had a central gas burner over which was placed (and changed frequently) a griddle upon which we were expected to cook the meats that E ordered. I'm glad he did but wished he hadn't. The meats in my opinion were rubbish. Pieces of pork, beef and chicken that they must have scraped off the butcher floor. It was fatty, grisly and tough...even the chicken was inedible. I had very little and like all Japanese side dishes the salads were meagre and unrecognisable. E ordered a bottle of Saki. He sent the first one back because they had served it warm when he had specifically asked for it chilled. It arrived shortly after in a bucket of ice but even then E accused them of merely chilling the same bottle. E and S seemed to enjoy the meal and the tasteless drink immensely. I nibbled and sipped. The principle was good...that of cooking our own meats but the food was the pits. The dessert was passable. I mean what can you do wrong with a dessert? It was very hard to be polite but I think E got the message.

We were to depart Singapore at 5 am the following morning so it was pointless going to bed. When we got back to the apartment we packed our cases, put them near the door, sent E and S off to bed and waited for our 2 am taxi which arrived promptly outside Arthur Mansions. 
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