After being trapped in transit for so long, and having my first day planned by accidentally scheduling a cooking class, I needed a day to get out and stretch my legs. At my host’s suggestion I headed to MacRitchie Park and Reservoir. Running in New York made me feel like I was in such good shape, I did 5 and 7 mile runs without any trouble. Running in Singapore made me feel totally different, my pace went from 9 minutes a mile to almost 11. To be fair it was 85 degrees, New Orleans muggy, hilly, and there was traffic on my way to and from the park. I managed to struggle through 5 or 6 miles anyway, and the view made it totally worth it:
After my run I decided to take advantage of the sunshine, which seems to be a rarity in Singapore and head to Sentosa. I was thirsty after my run and had seen an interesting drink in the vending machine at the end of my block. I grabbed one on my way to the bus stop and ventured a tentative sip. Surprisingly, it was good. Apparently bird’s nest tastes a lot like coconut water, mild, sweet, totally inoffensive.
A bus and a subway later, I realized I was starving so checked out one of the many bread places in the mall where I had to transfer from the subway to the Sentosa monorail. I can’t get over how many malls there are here, or how maze-like they all are. They’re like casinos: no maps, no clocks, no natural light and full of escalators, ramps and underpasses so you never have to leave. I skipped the shopping and just grabbed a snack.
I didn’t realize it but Sentosa is really built up. I was just excited to go lay on a beach and read in the sun, but it seems that most people go for the rides. Imagine Disney had a beach, that’s what Sentosa is like. Indoor skydiving and other activities, and all of the restaurants are sort of themed.
I made it through the crowd and to the beaches, which were remarkably un-crowded given the fact that I’d had to stand in line for almost 30 minutes to just to buy the $4 monorail ticket. The beaches there are really beautiful but odd. If you looked past the white sand and the clear water there were tons of huge container ships and cranes just offshore.
I spent the day happily reading Sweetbitter and feeling nostalgic about working in the restaurant. Then out of nowhere, it started to pour. You’d think that people were made of sugar the way they ran for shelter at the first rain drops. They’d all just been swimming but somehow water from the sky is different? It was bizarre to watch.
I was disappointed to lose the sun but happily absorbed in my book so hid under an overhang and just kept reading, overlooking the deserted beach.
From Sentosa I headed back to Chinatown to get dinner. I’d been debating between trying some “carrot cake” or the Huanese chicken rice that Singapore is known for but the chicken rice stall that had been recommended was closed so I didn’t have to choose.
Carrot cake comes in two types, black, and white. White is the regular, black is the regular plus a sweet molasses soy sauce. I’d had too much sun and not enough food to make a decision so I ordered both. As I mentioned earlier, carrot cake doesn’t have any carrot in it, nor is it a cake. It’s made of egg and radish cake (which is steamed) and garlic, onion, etc. all mixed up together in a wok. They tasted omelette-esque, especially the white. While both delicious, I particularly liked the black. It has that savory-sweet combination I love so much. Excited to eat more of it while I’m here.
For dessert I resisted all of the soybean curd puddings and just had more mangosteens