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Published: August 24th 2018
After a good lounge breakfast, I made my way to the bus stop across from my hotel, ready to head down to Chinatown. While waiting at the bench, I heard three loud cracks of thunder. Awesome. And I was smart by sitting on the bottom level of the open top bus- a few minutes after boarding, a few women came running down. Loved it! Good start to the day.
The bus let me off right across from the Smith Street Food Center of Chinatown. It was still early at this time, around 11am, so most of the stalls / restaurants were just getting started. I walked down the street to see if anything looked particularly interesting, but in the end, I wound up in the restaurant of a girl who was forward, but friendly. It was empty when I went in, but it quickly filled. Not sure if it was due to lunch time or the rain, but what I had planned to be a quiet meal soon because a hopping place. I ordered the chili crab, a Singapore staple. I figured I had to try it once while I was here, particularly since I love crab. Sadly, it was
expensive and not very good. The crab was overcooked and the sauce was way too sweet. There was a lot of ginger (which I usually like) and onion. And the crab shell was very broken, so I often was spitting out shell fragments while trying to eat it. Oh well. I tried.
I then wandered around chinatown, mostly souvenir shopping. I got quite a bit for not too much money. I also saw some of the "handmade in Dubai" pillowcases I bought last weekend at the souq. Lol. Shocker. Oh well, I still like what I got. There did not seem to be much else to do really, so I thought I would head towards the next bus stop through Chinatown, but I got lost because of the construction, so decided just to go back to the first spot. On the way, I passed Maxwell Food Centre and went in, because the really the crab did not fill me up anyway. Also, this place was highlighted on the map for foods. It was crowded. It is so funny to see which are the best places because they had long lines - maybe like 4 or 5 had lines of
10-20 people. I wound up going for steamed dumplings from a cute older lady; they were delicious. Seriously, probably one of the best things I've had the whole trip, and I've had some great food!
I got back on the bus and headed back to the hotel. My facial appointment was in a couple hours and I just wanted to chill. And finish my book - Crazy Rich Asians. I did and already started the second one. So hilarious! I got a bite to eat at the lounge (strawberry pistachio tarts - divine!) before heading down to my facial. I was on the fence about doing this, but I really wanted to get one so I went for it. Unlike the painful massage yesterday (while laying down on the table today, I finally realized why my arms were so sore!), this one was mostly very relaxing. Except when she trimmed my eyebrows. My face feels smooth as a baby's butt now!
After my facial, I went to Suntec centre to get some dinner; somehow, I was still starving, but I didn't want anything heavy. So I settled on a place that gave me a ginseng chicken soup, but
it was really a broth with half a chicken carcass in it. I was not impressed. The side of kimchi was good though. At least it satisfied my hunger. What an up and down day of food!
I headed to the night safari bus, which was included with my hop-on hop-off tour package. I was second guessing going so early since it would be about 4 hours of trip time and I was not sure I would want it to take that long (the first bus back was not until 9:30 and we were leaving at 6). I needn't have worried. It was perfect timing. The ride to the zoo itself took about 40 minutes. Then I had to redeem my voucher in a long line at the main entrance, then walk back to the night safari entrance. Fortunately, I got the first timing and it was checking in just as I walked up. Got on a tram (after being pushed aside by an older Chinese woman who then brought like 12 of her family members in front of me in line, including one who ran over my foot with her stroller - Crazy Rich Asians was going through
my head...), sat next to a couple who were on the bus with me (they were NOT friendly and she was kind of annoying - I may have been hangry). The tram ride was about 30 minutes going pretty much around most of the park. We saw quite a few things, but it got harder to see as the sun disappeared, though it was super cool to see things with the bright moonlight. My favorites were the Asiatic Black Bear and the Malayan Tapir. There were some elephants, a couple of rhinos and tons of deer. Seriously, who'd have thought there would be so many different kinds of deer species in the world. I got a little freaked out at one point as it was very dark and just to my right something big and yellow was climbing a tree and eating; at the time, it looked like a female lion, but I later saw that it was the spotted hyena. Yeah, so much better. Not to mention, we had just seen the White African Lion.
After the tram ride, I walked all around the park. You could see almost everything in about an hour. Well, actually, "see" is
probably not the right word as it was a night safari and many of the animals were resting or hidden or not available. It was fine as I saw many on the tram ride and the ones that were not on the tram ride were mostly small - I walked straight through the cave exhibit - not overly interested in tarantulas or snakes. I loved seeing the wallaby's who were just chilling out free range; that was cool. I also enjoyed seeing the Slow Loris and porcupines. So, while I didn't take the time to thoroughly inspect the animals, I did enjoy it. I think the night safari is a very good idea, but I did feel bad about some of the larger animals being kept in such confined spaces (lions, leopards, elephants....).
I got back to the first bus to the city just a little early. They took you basically to your hotel or close enough so as not to make a difference. This time, I sat up top and enjoyed the view. It's Friday night, so there is a lot going on, including a street food festival and the lights of the bay looking extra fabulous. I'm
Maxwell Food Center
one of three aisle of stalls
a little sad that it is my last night in this beautiful city. I think I could have stayed one day longer and it would have been perfect. There is so much to see here! I still have time tomorrow as my flight does not leave until late at night, so I plan to see Little India (maybe - we drove by tonight and I may skip it), the Malay area, and a museum or two. We'll see what tomorrow brings! Steps: 15,200 / Distance: 6.25 miles
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Ren & Andrew
...that's the Old Hill Street Police Station building. Do you remember the stall in the Maxwell Centre you bought the fabulous dumplings from?
Alexis M Spencer
Thank you for telling me which building - it was beautifully lit at night. I think (think) that the stall was called Shanghai Tim-Sum and is located along the street side.
Something doesn't look right...
My immediate reaction to this photo was it doesn't look right. There's usually a lot more gravy, and the itty bitty parts of the gravy usually aren't so visible. If you're still there, you might want to consider black pepper crab.
D MJ Binkley
Dave and Merry Jo Binkley
Not sure how the chef dreamed this up but it looks interesting.