Something that I have long wanted to do is to take a stroll or a ride along the East Coast Park. We have driven along the road from Changi to Katong countless times and for most of it the coastline is obscured by a strip of jungle, but here and there are playgrounds, food centres and seafood restaurants. I wanted to see more, especially as we stay so close by.
There is a two hour time difference between Sydney and Singapore, so naturally we woke early, but I managed to fall back into a second sleep. Breakfast was our usual Katong Janggut laksa from inside the Roxy Centre, though B had a nasi lemak instead.
Crossing Marine Parade we found a bike hire place and rented three mountain bicycles, though any old bike would have been sufficient for this flat track. From there an underpass took us to Area B in the East Coast Park.
A tall canopy of tree shelters the path while waves can be heard lapping at the sandy shore. Off the coast wait hundreds of cargo ships, waiting to swap their loads of containers, cars and other goods from across Asia and the world. Fighter jets from the Paya Lebar Airbase and passenger aircraft flying out of Changi can be heard in the skies.
We take a long and relaxing ride through the tropical heat and humidity, the breeze of the ride welcome on our faces.
There are plentiful benches for sitting at, playgrounds for kids, a wake board lake and a massive skate park along the way.
It’s so nice to be away from shopping centres and suburbia, out in the manicured nature that is garden Singapore.
We ride as far as Bedok Jetty, cycling out past the fishermen tangling their bait fish into the gentle waters as seaweed washed up on the shores.
By the time we ride back and returned our bikes we are hot, sweaty and tired. After lime juices and lunches of roti, noodles and nyonya nasi lemak we stumble into the hotel and lie down.
I have a huge headache and am not feeling well. I think all the stress and anxiety prior to today has left my immune system in a poor state and I’ve got sick.
B and Alex head out to the nearby Popular bookstore. I stay in bed and try to sleep.
It seems to do me some good. At five o’clock we head back out to the East Coast Park, this time by taxi, to the East Coast Lagoon Hawker Centre, one of our favourites.
A big storm cloud spits rain as we arrive, but quickly blows away. It’s quiet, before the Friday evening crowds arrive. We indulge in a huge meal of grilled stingray, satay, pippies, rojak and fried rice. I can just imagine a number of my friends boasting on social media about how they are eating Western food in some posh restaurant in Singapore or Indonesia, but this is where it is at. Cheap local food from a hawker store.
We can barely move afterwards. Fortunately, we quickly find a taxi without needing to call one, an issue at this hawker centre.
The rest of the evening is spent at the Parkway Parade shopping mall, browsing Lego and clothes in air conditioned comfort, buying kuih lapis spekkoek from Bengawan Solo, other snacks that can somehow be fitted into full stomachs. Then again, exhaustion defeats us and we return to the hotel.