Downstairs again for a breakfast of curry puffs, fried banana and roti prata. Not as nice as the roti canai of Malaysia, but really, could you ask for a better start to the day?
Overhead flew Singaporean military aircraft, including transport aircraft and F-15 jet fighters.
The Paya Lebar MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) station is about ten minutes walk from the hotel. The railway line runs overhead for part of the way, giving a glimpse of normal life in Singapore. Condominiums, some with resort-like swimming pools, little shops and eating places. Before the line descended underground we even saw the new casino and world’s tallest ferris wheel.
Once we completed our business the official part of our trip to Singapore was over and we were free to enjoy ourselves. We wandered around the area nearby Bugis station. It had changed substantially since last year, with large scale construction everywhere. Other areas had now been completed.
It was too hot and stuffy to want to do anything much. We wandered around a few shopping areas without much urge to buy, not even for Sim Lim Square, home of cheap electronics, or the fashionable department stores. Failed to find curry powder at the Rochor Centre, despite locals directing us there. A number of Buddhist shops were housed in the Rochor Centre, selling gold statues and shrines.
The heat meant that the lime juice (for me) and sugar cane juice (for B) was consumed with more enthusiasm than the food at the Albert Centre hawker stalls. Last year, when they were housed in temporary accommodation, I had wanted to try the green pandan rice. This time I joined the queue and purchased the green nasi lemak (coconut rice) with sides of fried fish and luncheon meat (why this is a delicacy in SE Asia I have no clue). It was okay, but then on an even earlier trip this very same hawker centre had taught me that the size of the queue in Singapore is no indication of the quality of the food.
We were all hot and tired, so we caught the MRT back to Geylang and our hotel. On with our swimming trunks and a very pleasant dip in the shallow hotel pool. Alex loved swimming around by himself, equipped with some back flotation aids.
Then worn out, it was time for an afternoon nap. When we woke up the light had changed to the gorgeous tropical gold and the air had cooled a bit. It was a perfect time for a stroll along the old shophouses of Joo Chiat Road.
After buying some otah-otah (fish paste grilled in banana leaves) we decided to splurge on a dinner of chili crab at a seafood restaurant we had passed on the previous trip.
Kim’s Place Seafood Restaurant is one of those open sided eating places that is perfect for enjoying a tropical evening. In addition to the crab, we ordered their specialty Hokkien noodles, stir fried broccoli for Alex and one of my new favourite dishes, fried prawns in a fragrant cereal.
Another dish on offer, which we didn’t try, was frog. Like the crabs and fish the giant frogs were kept live in a glass tank.
On my very first trip to Singapore we had been overdosed with almond flavoured jelly by the aunt that we were staying with, but the restaurant’s version was simply delicious. We were initially given two bowls of almond jellies with longans (fruit) and one of “grass jelly” (which I don’t eat). But Alex stole almost all the almond jelly, so we swapped the grass jelly for another almond.
Satisfied, after a perfect tropical afternoon, we returned to the hotel with a very happy son.