Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Day 1 (Wednesday 4/26) in more detail

We didn't get started until about 10:30 because we got in late last night. I got up at 8:30 and got my backpack organized and stuff like that. We took the subway to Chinatown and spent about 90 minutes walking around and checking out the various markets as well as an interesting Hindu shrine. Then we walked about seven blocks to the financial district and had lunch at the "Lau Pau Sat" center. Think big open-air version of a US food court like the Ogilvy Center. I ended up not eating the first thing I ordered (a noodle soup) because there turned out to be a fried egg in it and I couldn't get the egg specks out of the broth. Oh well, a whole US$2.40 wasted. I ended up going back to the place where Nick got his lunch and got a pork
and potato dish with steamed rice that was pretty good. I wasn't incredibly hungry, so it was just enough to fill me up and I left most of the rice. (My blood sugar seems to be ok with the time change and the rice-heavy diet, probably because of all the walking.)

Then we walked north up to the Fullerton, which is one of the historical hotels, and to a statue of a mythical creature which guards the river. That's when I fell, trying to get a better photo. We walked about six blocks to a big downtown shopping center, where I bought the brace and sat for a while. (Finding the pharmacy was fun, because the pharmacy was in a basement annex of the shopping center and nobody could give us decent directions).

We then saw a former cathedral called Chijmes which had been coverted into a dining mall, and the outside of a new cathedral when the skies darkened. We decided to head back to the hotel early, and it started to rain while we were on the train. Rain isn't the word for it, it was a classic summer thunderstorm. We waited it out for about fifteen minutes at the train station three doors down from the hotel, and got back maybe an hour earlier than planned, and sat and talked for a while, then split up for an hour to go get ready for dinner.

Our dinner destination was No Signboard seafood in the Geylang district. Geylang is about 20 minutes away by train. It also happens to be where the semi-legalized prostitution is allowed to occur, which made for some interesting sights on the way to the restaurant. (There's a branch of No Signboard down in a city center mall for those who don't want to be around the locals). The customer mix was probably 85% local, 15% tourist. It is, to use the phrase my dad would use, "a factory." Tanks of huge live lobsters, an open-air kitchen, outdoor seating under a tent, and just a highly organized chaos.

We had been told by friends to try the chili crab and pepper crab, and since both of use are crab lovers, we had no problem with that. We also ordered some fried rice, which had much less egg in it than the US version. The crab was great, but I could have just had the chili sauce and a loaf of bread. The chili sauce had flecks of crabmeat in it, looked almost creamy with a tomato base. Of course, trying to crack crabs open with one good hand is a challenge! In retrospect, we should have gotten one crab dish and one prawn dish.

At this point, Cousin Nick's knee was killing him, as he had reaggravated an existing problem earlier in the day. So instead of going off to Orchard Road as originally planned, the walking wounded retreated to my suite for another hour of talking (and loading photos up to Shutterfly) before calling it a night.

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