Singapore: Day 2
It was Christmas Day. But of course, Singapore doesn’t have a winter season, nor any overwhelming desire to care about Western traditions. So all stores were open, and it was just another day for most people. Oh, but Orchard Road was decorated for the tourists!
Today was also “Tourist Day” on my itinerary — the plan was to go to Chinatown, Orchard Road, and Little India. The typical guidebook destinations.
What can I say? Good and traditional food can be found at your local hawker centre for really cheap. [Sidenote: that article in Wikipedia is written by a Singaporean, because the second picture in the article is of this glutinous rice shop in Chinatown that I also ate at…]
Right across from the hawker centre is the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum — by far the most opulent and tourist-oriented Buddhist temple I have visited yet. The temple on Lantau Island, Hong Kong has got nothing on this one.
There was a large prayer hall and a glittering collection of various deities on the first floor, followed by a couple floors of more exclusive and opulent prayer rooms for religious VIPs. There was also a rooftop orchid garden and a 10-foot Prayer Wheel.
There was a slight detour (read: 4 hours) while my friend went back to his office to finish up some work for a project. Tch, architects. Workaholics, all of them… (-.- ”) To make up for it, he treated me to a late lunch/afternoon tea at Maxwell Food Centre — the main attraction being the famous Hainanese Chicken Rice.
Afterwards, we headed out to Orchard Road. There were sales (Christmas being such an excellent excuse for consumerism), and the consequent shopping crowds. It was fun to be surrounded/crushed by people again — there aren’t many places in Mie like that. I found a Forever 21 (and managed to get a complete outfit — shoes, shirt, shorts, and tights — for $85 SGD), and even HZ got convinced to buy a pair of pants at TopMan.
From Orchard Road, we headed to Little India. At this point, the culture shock hit me hard. Saturday night in Little India is crazy — the crowds, the narrow sidewalks, the language, the men staring, and the complete lack of people obeying basic road rules attacked my senses all at once. I could only think of leaving as soon as possible and finding a safer, less populated place. You know the deer-in-the-headlights look? It was frozen on my face the entire time we pushed our way to the Mustafa Centre, a mall that’s open 24 hours. Well, at least now I can say I’ve been there…
They also boasted a rooftop restaurant, where we had our dinner. We got forgotten by the waiting staff near the end, but the food itself was pretty good. And so ended my second day in Singapore!
- Things I learned:
- Country living has affected this city girl more than she thought.
- Singaporeans really like their food (this can be both a good and a bad thing)