Singapore was up next for us. Peter had been offered and procured an opportunity to be trained by one of the world’s premier online marketers, Charles Ngo. Peter was really enthused and excited for this next step and adventure in his career.
For Peter it would be three days of long hours of learning, absorbing, and networking. Because Peter has no real interest in shopping or clothes for that matter— I found myself forcing him to the mall before we left Bangkok to get him ready for his meetings.
When he left the first morning, I felt like it was the first day of school. Who would he meet? Who would he eat lunch with? I even ironed his clothes.
Andrew joined us, because we can never shake that guy (kidding). Peter was able to debrief and update Andrew after a long-day of meetings and networkings so the information could be cascading before forgotten.
On the day we arrived we checked into the Carlton Hotel, the location of the training, and that evening took a stroll to Clarke Quay. We stopped at a restaurant along the water, RedDot, and had a nice quiet evening before Peter commenced his training.
During the days I did a good amount of sightseeing. I did a ton of research and discovered many of the city’s highlights. It felt like the old days of solo traveling where I would research and go explore places on my own. Peter is very talented when it comes to navigational skills so I did miss him, but it was good for me to challenge myself again.
My first day I visited Little India where I grabbed a delicious lunch at a top rated spot, Banana Leaf Apolo. Then I set out to explore the neighborhood.
I was lucky to visit the temple just when a “pooja” was starting. A pooja is a ceremony to honor the Hindu deities led by a priest. It consists of music, bells, chanting, and an electric energy the permeates throughout the temple walls. It was a treat to witness. We had witnessed our last pooja in Varanasi, India.
Afterwords I dipped in and out of the stores which really were like the stalls that I had experienced in India a couple months earlier.
I did have one peculiar thing that occurred. As I was walking around I had a young Indian man stop me to ask if I would take his picture in front of the tempe. I obliged which then opened the door for him to begin a dialogue. It started off innocent enough.
“Where are you from?”
“Why are you here?”
“Have you been to India?”
Then it turned creepy when he offered me a free massage. I declined his generous but mainly odd and scary offer and went on my way. I was reminded in that instance the strange things that can happen to females traveling on their own. I wonder if that guys manages to beguile any women with that offer.
Next up I visited the cable cars that runs from Mount Faber to Sentosa Island. It provided a nice aerial view of the city.
Afterwords I headed back to the hotel to meet up with Andrew who had just flown in. Just about everyone who I asked for recommendations when it came to dining in Singapore suggested Din Tai Fung for dumplings. Andrew and I hit it up for dinner and neither one of us was disappointed. So good!
Andrew’s friend Brendan has two close friends who live in Singapore — Greg and Lauren. He had introduced us via Facebook and we had all made plans to meet up after dinner. We met at a rooftop bar just around the corner from our hotel by the name Loof.
It was an immediate friendship between all of us. It was as if we had all hung out many times before. Just easy, fun, and funny with a lot in common. There is something really remarkable about making friends overseas. There is this instant connection because all of you are so far from home and your experiencing something unique together. Meeting on a rooftop in Singapore adds a distinct element to a friendship.
Greg and Lauren were both so generous to offer their time to show us around the next couple days.
I started the next morning with them to a tour of the Botanical Gardens. I no longer had to figure my way around. They picked me up in their car from my hotel. The gardens have a tranquil feel with some nice trail walks and variety of plants, trees, and people watching.
We were dressed a little more appropriately for hiking.
Next up we headed to brunch at a restaurant called Home. This is where my fondness for Lauren really heightened to the next level. And why is this? Because of her superb ordering skills. She ordered the boldest item on the menu – the aptly named menage-a-trio of doughnuts which came three ways: cinnamon, maple bacon, and peanut butter and jelly. And a side of curry fries. And she is a yoga instructor that is phenomenal shape. MAD RESPECT.
We later joined forces with Andrew and he made this peculiar activity suggestion: “Little India where we can get our fortune told be a parrot.” Having no clue what Andrew was talking about, we all acquiesced. Apparently on the plane ride out to Singapore he read about this in an article. Supposedly there is a parrot located in Little India that will point out tarot cards specific to a person. The parrot owner can then read you your fortune.
As we searched the neighborhood we learned that the parrot has since been relocated to a different area in the city. Sounding like a wild goose chase we threw in the towel. Ever since then I can’t get that tarot card pointing parrot out of my mind and have been on the look-out ever since.
Greg and Lauren took off after that — possibly because they were concerned that Andrew might come up with more odd ideas — to get ready to meet up that evening.
Andrew and I with a little time to kill made a trip over to the well known and uber-photographed Super Tree Grove. It’s known as looking like the world of Avatar.
From the Super Tree Grove there is a nice view of the other uber-photographed spot in Singapore— Marina Bay Sands Hotel.
That night we met up with Greg and Lauren for the National Day fireworks display. Singapore was celebrating it’s 50th birthday. We met at One Altitude which offers panoramic views of the city.
Luckily, after the fireworks display, Peter was able to join us and we all went out for a delicious Italian dinner at Trattoria Lafiandra.
We all talked about and hoped to meet up again. Coincidently as I write this post we are all finding ourselves in Bangkok next week. This time Brendan included. Cannot wait. I’ve been going back and forth with Lauren about various brunch spots and items that she might order.
The next day Andrew headed back to Bangkok. Peter had his last day of training. I took the opportunity to explore a bit more.
I did some research for a good lunch spot to try a Singaporean dish — Hainanese chicken rice. It’s called “the national dish” of Singapore. Figured it was a must try and found a highly reviewed place nearby called Zheng Swee Kee. It was fine. It was chicken with rice. It was no menage-a-trio of doughnuts. I already missed Lauren.
After that it was off to Chinatown. At this point I was getting the hang of the MRT — the underground train system — which is how I got to Chinatown.
Chinatown was fun just to walk around in — the colors, energy, and people alone were enough to be entertained by.
Below are a plethora of serious chess games being battled out amongst non-smiling men.
My favorite stop in Chinatown was the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. It was around this point in my travels what I was starting to read a good amount Buddhism and was growing a strong affinity towards the philosophy. One of my favorite things to do is sit and meditate in a Buddhist Temple. This one was particularly charming. It contains four floors each offering a different experience of art and history. I got lost in the world of spiritualism for awhile. There was a room that told the story of Siddhārtha Gautama (Buddha) and all the different stages of his life. I went though the room and read everything.
Instead of paying a premium price —$30— for a drink we don’t particularly care for, we opted to grab a couple pizzas in the courtyard area of the the hotel.
Peter was then off to his last engagement/drinks with Charles and all the people he had trained with over the past few days.
For my last evening I decided to check out the Super Tree Grove which is lit up my various colored lights at night. I have to say the trees were quite different when compared to seeing them in daylight. I was happy that I got to experience both.
The Marina Bay Sands Hotel also looks spectacular at night.
It’s a times like these that I really wished I was a better photographer. Something to work on for the future.
To end the night I walked over to Marina Bay Sands Hotel and took the elevator all the way to the top and took a long hard look at the inspiring view before I met back up with Peter at our hotel.
The 3 days of training for Peter provided crucial insight and contacts that would place him on a secondary path in his career. He has since then really honed the skills he acquired during that trip. Six months later those training days have served him well and he is working harder than ever with reinvigorated excitement. I’ve been really happy for him and it’s been such fun for me to watch it all unfold.
We left for Bangkok in the morning. It was funny to see our reaction when we first got to Singapore. We were both refreshed by the better air quality, cleanliness, organization of Singapore, but after a few days we felt ready to get back to the grittiness of Bangkok. Singapore is a great city, but with it being so young, I didn’t feel a lot of depth and soul to it. With that being said, I haven’t spent a ton of time there. We have friends that absolutely love it. But a part of my heart is perpetually in Bangkok.
Thanks as always for your support in reading about our journey around the globe.