Shiok and/or

The exhaustion of yesterday provided one massive benefit today: Alex slept in. This was greatly welcomed.

The hotel has the Australian Asia-Pacific Network available on the television, which means kids shows like Giggle and Hoot, Bananas in Pyjamas (animated in Singapore anyway) and Playschool. More chances to catch up on some typing.

B and Alex went hunting for breakfast at the Golden Mile Food Centre, leaving me to get ready at my pace. It’s nice to take things a little slower as it’s usually me who gets up first at home (and yesterday). By the time they returned and we were all ready it was 11am and approaching lunchtime. This part of the trip is all about the food.

I suggested that we return to Tanjong Pagar and the Maxwell Food Centre to eat the dishes we missed out on last night.

On the way to Bugis MRT station we stopped by the massive Parkview Square building. This art deco style edifice looks incongruous in Singapore, as if it were transported from New York (and the design was according to Wikipedia). The statues out the front are an eclectic mix, including Sun-Yat Sen, Plato, Dali and Winston Churchill.

I’m travelling without the big Sony camera today, but the Panasonic is all fogged up from the transition from airconditioning into the heat and humidity of outdoor Singapore.

The MRT returns us to Tanjong Pagar and the now very busy Maxwell Food Centre. B buys some silky smooth soya bean tofu pudding which turns out to be almond essence flavoured. After we find a seat I then purchase some of my favourite apom balik, thick pandan flavoured pancakes filled with coconut, or peanuts and one with green bean filling. Then B queues in front of the famous Tian Tian Hainanese chicken rice stall. Alex and I are seated with three Japanese and he falls asleep as usual. I speak to them a little in Japanese. It is surprising how many Japanese are wandering around Maxwell.

B returns with half a chicken and three plates of chicken flavoured rice. It is very tasty, although not the best ever, and also terribly filling. Alex eats a bit too.

Too full to eat more we return to Tanjong Pagar MRT station. We have promised Alex a swim and it’s a choice between the more expensive but supposedly better Wild Wild Wet and the Jurong East Swimming Complex. We pick the cheap option, but the trains seem to be terminating at earlier stations than either.

Eventually we catch one going to the Chinese Gardens MRT station. I’m amused as I visited the gardens last time and was not planning on returning. This time we headed to the opposite side, a very local single story shopping complex. I like these places, full of shops selling cheap plastic this and thats, a bird shop surrounded by bamboo aviaries and a couple of quiet local food courts.

The walk in the heat felt a lot longer than it was. The swimming complex, part of the sports complex, looked really fun with tall water slides, a landscaped “river” and a wave pool. It also seemed very quiet…

It turned out that there was plenty of people there, just nobody swimming. The facilities were temporarily closed due to the potential for lightning strikes, and this would be reviewed in a bit under an hour.

We retreated to the only food shop in the complex, a combination KFC and Pizza Hut. The former’s offerings were quite different to those in Australia. Chicken with rice, fish donuts and egg tarts were some of the items on the menu.

To strange looks I just ordered a small coleslaw and peach-mango drink. Alex ate all of the coleslaw.

An hour later the complex was still closed with no sign of any lightning or thunder. We gave up and caught the MRT to Orchard Road station and the ION shopping complex.

I was hoping to avoid Orchard Road, but B wanted to shop. We stopped off in the upmarket basement food court for some promised ice cream for Alex. I felt a bit strange ordering a “Pink Fantasy” – strawberry ice cream on shaved ice and jellies.

Let me walk kilometres rather than stand around shopping, especially with a sleeping kid on my arm. I was so glad to leave and catch a taxi to dinner.

The taxi driver was garrulous and the journey out to the East Coast Lagoon Hawker Centre long and slow. Alex was feeling very tired and motion sick when we arrived.

Unlike the big seafood restaurants along the coast, the hawker centre is composed of many little stalls around a central courtyard buzzing with diners. I ordered some of the best satay I’ve tasted from the famous Haron 30 stall. Then chilli crab and grilled stingray from another stall. The food was all so good and I loved mopping up the chilli sauce with the fried buns.

Alex ate little more than a stick of satay and complained persistently. It was a relief to catch another taxi back to the hotel, though we would definitely visit again.

When we arrived back Alex perked up again and had a supper of bananas, some avocado and biscuits. Despite his “no sleeping it’s Friday” statement, he did eventually sleep again and so should I.

Off to Penang tomorrow.


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