Ok, so I swear there’s stuff in here that’s not edible, but first…
I stopped into the Mustafa Centre on my way to yoga the other day. It’s another shopping spot, this one in Little India, people had recommended I check out and I’d walked by a couple of times but I hadn’t made it in. I figured it’d be like all of the many other malls. Wrong. It’s crazy, the only really chaotic place I’ve seen in the city. I don’t even quite know how to describe it, it’s as if a Super Walmart and a flea market had an Asian baby? I know the world literally is completely overused, but I believe this place might literally sell everything. Electronics, household goods, toiletries, clothing, anything you can think of. And the full spectrum of quality of each, from cheap costume jewelry to expensive watches. Add in narrow aisles, it being a tourist attraction as well as a functioning store for locals, and that all of them have shopping carts and it was totally overwhelming. I apologize that there aren’t a lot of pictures but I didn’t have a lot of time and it was making me anxious. They did have an entire counter full of flashlights, which as you already know, are my favorite! (And if you didn’t already know, I’m still accepting Christmas and birthday presents.)
So that evening, I met someone else who I’d connected with on Bumble. We’d been talking for a couple of days, and his profile said “Gentleman. Gamma male. Conversationalist. Bookworm.” If even one of those things were actually true he’d be worlds ahead of the first guy. We met at the beautiful and high-end Raffles Hotel, home of the Singapore Sling. On each table there was a bag of roasted peanuts, and there were shells all over the floor. It’s tradition but I had a really hard time tossing mine on the ground. In New Orleans I wouldn’t have thought twice but here in Singapore everything is so clean it seemed sacrilegious. Even when I went for a run there was a man with a broom sweeping leaves off the boardwalk! In the middle of the forest!
My date was great, and a good sport for meeting me at such a touristy place. Especially when the bill came and the drinks were $36 each. Had I known that, I would’ve eaten more peanuts! He’s Indian, grew up in the South, near Chennai. Not only does he speak a bunch of languages but he has traveled and lived all over the world. Turns out he even lived in New Orleans for six months! We hit it off, talking about all sorts of things: yoga, travel, politics, music, food, more travel. After our drinks we walked to a South Indian restaurant he loves for dinner. He ordered the rocket dosai for me, which looks how it sounds:
From there we walked to Garden by the Bay. This city is incredibly efficient and modern, it’s amazing in all sorts of ways but if there’s one thing they really nail, it’s dramatic lighting. Even regular buildings in the city are highlighted beautifully and Garden by the Bay is meant to be artistic, so it’s really breathtaking. Also, their special Christmas installation had just finished, but hadn’t been broken down yet so some the structures were still up, but not lit. It gave the place a bit of a ghostly feel. And I want to apologize in advance, there are a lot of similar pictures. I always try to edit down as much as I can, I don’t want anyone to get bored but I had a really hard time with this post. I really love these pictures. I had so much fun taking them and some of them don’t even look real but I swear I didn’t do anything to them. I don’t have Photoshop and wouldn’t know how to use it if I did. I’m certainly open to any feedback you have about them though, so I can pare down to a more reasonable number.
At first we couldn’t figure out why all these people were laying on benches, it seemed like an odd place to nap but then Christmas music started playing and a light show started, with the trees blinking and throbbing to the music. It was really fun and the big finale was to my favorite Christmas song, Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You.”
The Gardens are free to wander around. Besides the Supertrees there are sculptures and actual gardens and koi ponds and a river. Plus one of the oddest vending machines I’ve ever seen:
Between the Garden by the Bay and the rest of the city is the Marina Bay Sands, perhaps the city’s most striking building. It’s a casino and hotel with 2,500 rooms. It’s made up of three 55 story towers with a “SkyPark” top connecting them. The SkyPark has restaurants, clubs, an observation deck and a nearly 500 foot long infinity pool that sits 600 feet above the ground.
We walked through the hotel and stayed on the raised walkway, which brought us to the marina. There were some incredible views of the hotel, the water, the city skyline and the mall (surprise!)