The Best of Singapore

As our time in Singapore started to draw to a close, we wanted to take the opportunity of free time after classes were over to do all of our favorite things one last time. It was a week of adventuring, to check off all the items that remained on our wishlists. It was a lot of fun but also sentimental, at least for me, because for most of the events I had a conscious awareness that this was the last time. One last brunch, one last light show, one last day trip. But here’s how we packed our last few days to the max:

To start, we made a schedule. By “we” I mean Katie and I made a schedule, and we were very determined to stick to it. First up on our list was Sunday brunch at Haji Lane, at the Mad Sailor’s. Unfortunately the food wasn’t quite as delicious as it was the first time around, but brunch is always a good start to the day. We met our friend Keetki later on, walked around to see the murals, and did some shopping. I also used this week to buy souvenirs for friends and family, so I picked up several pashminas.

We also went to see Justice League in Bugis Junction, which was Zach’s idea. It turned out to be one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, but Katie and I had a good time stifling our hysteric laughter. Our last quest for the day was to eat dim sum. This was our first test of if we could stick to the schedule and finish everything. We had a hard time finding the dim sum place and ended up walking around for quite awhile, to the point where we almost gave up, but we persevered and found the place!

Our next day was Little India and Chinatown. My main reason for visiting Little India was to get one more order of Kaju Burfy. We basically got off the MRT, went to our favorite kaju burfy stand, and then got back on the MRT and made our way on to Chinatown, the home of the best shopping. We spent most of the day getting name paintings from the woman we had seen when we came with Natasha. Katie and I each got about 7. Day well spent.

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Tuesday was one of the best days! We went to Universal Studios on Sentosa Island. It was all decorated for Christmas, and there were even some Christmas shows!

Unlike Disneyland, I hadn’t made a detailed plan for Universal, so as soon as we got to the park and Zach went to Starbucks, I sat down and pulled out my maps and schedules. Brad kindly borrowed a pen from the barista, and I was on my way to planning out the day! Gotta have a plan, you know. There’s just so much going on! So looking at the map and the timing of the shows, we made a general schedule for the day. One of our first stops was to get waffles on a stick – it was so good. We ate them in front of Shrek’s swamp, because of course Donkey would have made them for us.

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“We can stay up late, swappin’ manly stories and in the mornin’ – I’m makin’ waffles!”

The best ride of the day was definitely The Mummy – one of the only rides that comes with a warning, it was a high speed indoor coaster with fire and mummies and ancient Egyptian curses! How can you not love that? Zach and I acted like true children at lunchtime – we got the dino nuggets. They were fantastic. It was a great day of just having fun and seeing as much as we could.

We also watched a water action show, and some Christmas performances. The best was when 4 singers were doing a show in the rain, and the four of us were the only ones applauding. It’s not as common in Asian culture to be loud in an audience, but as the performers were American they appreciated our cheers. We tried to be extra loud and enthusiastic, and we could see it made them laugh. We were their biggest fans!

After the busy day, we did one more bucket list item, that I’ve wanted to do before leaving Singapore. Brad and I ate some durian. If you don’t know, durian is a popular Singapore fruit infamous for having a terrible odor. They’re not even allowed on public transportation. Most people hate it and others love it. A man on the sidewalk had a cart of durians, and convinced us to try one. The fruit came with plastic gloves, so the horrible smell wouldn’t get on our fingers. I have to admit that it wasn’t too bad! We tried a small bite at first but then ended up eating most of the whole thing. It’s probably my least favorite fruit, as Brad described it “a gassy mashed potato,” but not as bad as I was expecting. And now I can say that I tried durian! What a day.

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On Wednesday, we said goodbye to our amazing advisor Katie Fassbinder (my savior in times of food poisoning – seriously the most helpful and kind person ever) and got dinner at a restaurant that I had discovered with my parents, The Bird. Zach sadly wasn’t with us for most of the last week, but the three of us made the most of it. At the restaurant, I told Brad and Katie that the best part of the meal was the biscuits, so we each ordered some, and the waitress was very concerned with our decision. “You realize that is 3 biscuits for each of you, 9 biscuits total?? Are you sure you don’t want to share?” But we were all very pleased with our meal. And finished all 9 biscuits.

After dinner we watch the marina bay light show one last time, and then headed over to a bar that our friend was working at that night. It turned out to be ladies’ night, and gals could get free drinks (choice of margaritas, apple martinis, or lychee martinis) until 10pm. We had a lot of fun!

Thursday brought around our last visit to the symbol of the city – our majestic Merlion. That’s one of our favorite spots in Singapore because you can see all of the great things surrounding the marina from there. I also got one more Singaporean ice cream sandwich, and we sat in the park with the cool reflective balls. The weather was perfect, and we just took it all in.

We got dinner at Boat Quay, which has some incredible views of the river, and Katie and I got our favorite – frozen margaritas.

Friday was the first day of December! We started the day with something I really wanted to do – see the Murder on the Orient Express at the movie theater. I’m a little biased because it’s one of my favorite books, but the movie was extraordinary. The acting was top notch, effects were realistic, storyline stayed true to the book, and it was the perfect mix of suspense and excitement. We also went back to Haji Lane one more time, because I wanted to find a specific pair of earrings for my mom. The guys ended up eating at a Turkish restaurant, but Katie and I went across the street to a bakery, where we discovered the most amazing bagels on the planet. We each got a cream cheese and cranberry filled bagel with cheese baked into the top and they were giant and soft and delicious. It made our day!

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That night, we celebrated the start of December at the Christmas Wonderland at the Gardens by the Bay! We met up with Natasha and had a great night filled with food stalls and music and string lights and a huge light display and even fake snow! We spent the night walking around, looking in the shops, meeting Santa (it was Natasha’s first time!) and even seeing an Ethiopian show. Watching the contortionists made me cringe (I was worried for their safety) but seeing the dances was great. The night really got me excited for Christmas.

Saturday was quite the marathon of food and drinking. We got brunch at our favorite French cafe down the street, and then went to Stickies in Clarke Quay for afternoon drinks. We also got to check out the Friends Cafe, which was made to look like Central Perk, and then headed to Boat Quay again for dinner. Katie and I got seabass with risotto that was delicious, then we went over to our favorite bar, The Warehouse for some strawberry margaritas and live music. There was a slight incident when I leaned over the table and my hair caught fire on a candle. I was on fire! I still can’t believe that happened. But luckily Brad put it out right away. And I barely lost any hair! As Katie pointed out to me, if Brad hadn’t put it out within that one second, I could have been going to a very unfortunate emergency hair appointment. Or worse. I knew I was scared of fire for good reason. Quick tip: don’t sit near a candle at a bar! Just sees like common sense. But the night ended on a good note because Katie and I went to stay in the Roxy in the room she won at the D&D! No ants or spiders in sight! That’s all anyone could really want.

Sunday rounded out our final week of Singapore adventures. We went to one last Wild Honey brunch! Gonna miss that place. Then later that night, we went out to get pecking duck with the professor of our sociology class. I wasn’t sure how the night was going to go, but we ended up having a great time! Natasha met us there as well and knew exactly what to order. The food was great, and then we spent some time walking along Orchard Road and looking at the Christmas light displays. Our professor Kris also treated us to some gelato.

Thank you Singapore for an incredible 4 months and the perfect final week to finish it all out!

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Hi there! Thanks so much for stopping by. I'm Elyssa, an average gal with an unshakable habit of wandering the globe. Here I'll give you all the best stories, advice, and suggestions collected from my travels abroad. I've lived in New York, Boston, London, Spain, and Singapore. Now as a recent college grad, I want to share my continuing adventures with all of you! For me, there is no greater experience than discovering new places around the globe. I hope I can convey here all of the beauty and wonders that I see, and even inspire you to take on an adventure of your own.

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