Like everyone else, I feel like I've been living life by the weekends. As I've been living in Singapore (for the most part) for over 3 months, I've been getting into a routine while still discovering new things.
Friday was fun because we got to go up to the top of the new Sands Hotel and check out the new (and only) bar/lounge up there, Ku De Ta. Apparently there is a Ku De Ta in Bali, Indonesia that is just absolutely stunning, so we got to check out this new one that had its soft opening this past week.
View of the infinity pool and Ku De Ta.
Interior of Ku De Ta.
View of the pool and city from Ku De Ta.
It was slightly drizzly, hence the clouds and interesting lighting in the photos (and why no one is sitting on those comfy looking couches on the terrace). It was really amazing to see the top without all the tourists and hotel guests in the pool. It's the best view of the city, by far.
Continuing my taste for new things, I've concluded that I've seriously lived through life as the worst excuse for a Japanese person. I've never had this dish, photographed below, which seemed to consist of various vegetables, fish eggs, mochi, etc. You poured it onto the hot plate and mashed it up until it was cooked and soaked in with the juices. It was really tasty along with some of the other dishes we had. Pretty cool, it was owned by Japanese and obviously had great food. I will get back to what this dish was called as well as the restaurant.
Saturday was with a more familiar feel: China One. It's a bar in Clarke Quay that has a bunch of pool tables, a dance floor and good music that makes it easy to just stay in the whole night. It kind of reminds me of Busby's in LA where it has a bit of everything for everyone, has a good location and is just an overall good bet for the night.
If you can't tell, I made the extra effort this weekend to lug around my SLR so that I can practice my photography. Low light photography is something I want to master because it's usually my favorite setting.
Despite everyone's doubts, I woke up Sunday (today) DETERMINED to go kayaking. I think I've been craving to go for over a month now and so me and Ky went out in search of this fabled activity at the MacRitchie Reservoir, which is this huge piece of beautiful jungle right in the middle of Singapore that I was never aware of! We went kayaking and I did a short hike before my body started shutting down (4 hours of sleep, that's a little impressive, right?). They have all these really cool (and intense) hiking trails that you can go on including the Treetop Hike, which is this huge suspended bridge that goes over the tops of all the trees. It looks incredible! Definitely on my to-do list before leaving Singapore.
Yes, monkeys! In the middle of the city, there are monkeys! They are really used to humans, naturally, so they just ignored me as I snapped away at them.
So that's a recap of most of my weekend, which felt good-tired in the end. I'll reiterate, again, how people claim that there is nothing to do in Singapore just aren't looking in the right places. The country is changing so fast, there is always something new or different to check out. I'm not saying that you're going to like all of it (I'm not a fan of intense hiking or jogging) but I think you can gain an appreciation for trying new things as well as the familiar (Hello, Ku De Ta and China One.).
Overall, it's come to the point where I'll be pretty disappointed if I leave Singapore next month. I'm emotionally attached and feel like I've put a lot in. Returning to California is definitely not a depressing idea, I love the place (duh) and the people; I have everything to gain going back. But I definitely feel like I've passed a point where I'll be broken hearted if I have to leave this place. I never expected to find myself in this situation, but then again, who ever does?
I'm having a hard time feeling accomplished these days. It's getting tougher and tougher to stay motivated and positive when nothing seems to go to plan or make change to my current situation. I especially miss feeling grounded and having emotional support. I can't seem to find that in anyone anymore, especially when most are so far away.
I'm trying to remind myself to feel grateful for what I have:
Good health (except for my knee, which could always be worse)
I had really wanted to purchase tickets earlier, but when I saw the prices, I just accepted that I would have to make the sacrifice so that I could stretch my funds a bit longer. However, this morning I was surprised with my very own ticket! I am so excited!
The Singapore Grand Prix is Formula One's first night race...and yes, it's in Singapore of all places! I saw the lineup for music performances and it looks sick. I have a Saturday ticket so I'll see Adam Lambert, but Missy Elliot (love her) is performing Friday and Mariah Carey and Sean Kingston are performing Sunday (LOVE THEM). I heard it's super loud and festive throughout all of Singapore during this time so I'm PUMPED.
Singapore is a host to a very diverse population that actually caters to mainly Chinese, Malays and Indians; they officially recognize three languages, three religions and therefore have...several public holidays!
This past Friday was actually the start of Hari Raya, the end of Ramadan for Muslims. I loved seeing all family together; apparently, the entire family will dress in the same color scheme together. I had no idea this was popular and so I asked a vibrant family if I could take their photo. As usual, I was a bit afraid they would think I was some crazy tourist, but they were actually super enthusiastic by gathering and posing their family, "No, no! This is the second time we've been asked!" They also said that since the first day fell on a Friday, they would also dress in different colors on Saturday and Sunday, "Maybe pink tomorrow and then green the day after."
I'm bummed that I didn't have my big camera around to take a better photo, but you get the idea...
I snuck this photo because I felt too embarrassed to ask yet another family.
It is/was also the Mid-Autumn Festival (AKA Moon Festival, Mooncake Festival, Lantern Festival), which is just such a whimsical holiday to me. I always imagine the holiday how I read about it in a childhood story which was filled with sticky mooncakes, glittering dragonflies, amazing food and charming dance performances. Instead, Clarke Quay set up all these brightly colored shapes and figures that make references to stories or figures. One of my favorites was a display of the Monkey King along with the Monk, the Pig, etc. They're made of soldered, wiry, metal frames and covered in some sort of opaque material that is very waterproof.
They has these huge floats all along the river and the bridge (which was also swarmed over with a Taiwanese food festival!). Again, I apologize for the terrible photos but I've been too lazy to lug around the SLR. Also, I think my lens is acting a bit wonky...
Anyways, there is always something to do here...I often hear people complain that there is "nothing to do in Singapore...it's boring..." Well, I say that you're not looking hard enough! I think it's key to have a great group of friends, though. That, I will admit. We should always aim to maintain our child-like curiosity in experiencing life. Otherwise, we'll just end up as old and boring as we fear.
Call me naive, foolish, or even reckless, but I don't seem to have the capacity to go half-way with people and relationships. I either love my friends to death or I just don't understand why not. I'm sure everyone has has their fall-outs and breakups with friends and boyfriends/girlfriends, but despite traumatizing experiences, I can't help but love fully when I have new friends or relationships. Baggage and hurt feelings melt away when you love fully and that's how I'm going to keep living my life.
I just spent the weekend on Railay Beach, Thailand, which is very near Krabi. It was my first time there and despite the clouds and rain, it was a nice escape from the daily routine!
Getting there is a bit of an ordeal. I flew from Singapore to Krabi, got driven about 40 minutes to the port, then another 20-25 minutes of transport via longboat. It was a spashy ride!
There are two parts to Railay: East vs. West and the better side is (of course) the West Siiiiide! Actually, they are very near each other, like a 5-10 minute walk, but West Side definitely has the prettier beach and scenic shots.
This is the West Side. It's incredible, isn't it? The cliffs look like they're out of a movie...I really wanted to go rock climbing but my knee was just out of commission still. I was really bummed about that. I also wanted to go kayaking through the mangroves, but the cloudy weather prevented me from taking that on. The water was really choppy and the current was quite strong so I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have made it very far even if I tried my best!
Isn't this cute? Someone made this and sadly, someone kicked its head off the day after. =(
This was at a cool shack called Skunk Bar. I'm pretty sure you can guess why, but it was nice and low key on the East Side. I had White Russians! They were super tasty and I think I might have found my new default drink.
I stayed at Railay Villiage Resort on the West Side, which was super nice.
Some room service and a view from the doorway...it was super lush and private. The ponds around each room were pretty with their Laker-colored lilies but was inevitably a breeding ground for mosquitos. O_o
Railay in the evening...of course, the trip would not be complete without trying some food!
I think pretty much anything with Basil is an automatic win for me.
Unfortunately, we didn't get much sun until the last day but we had a couple hours of beautiful, beautiful sun!
When we left it was storming! It still made for some interesting photography, though.
Anyways, it was an awesome weekend and I can't wait to go back another time. =)
I think this is one of the main reasons why I am so keen in living out here; travel to places like these is actually possible for just the weekend! So friends, consider moving out here! We can be roomies! =D
I feel like I'm finally aligning myself with actually staying in Asia (fingers crossed that I land a job). Of course, the whole job hunting ordeal has been an obvious indication, but I think this morning was pivotal in the fact that I spent a good 20 minutes trying to figure out how to change my Gmail time stamp. I even tried yesterday, and when it still persisted, I googled it again and again. I don't usually bother with such a trivial aspect of technology, and I even liked having my California timestamp because it made me feel a bit like home. Well, I guess I'm feeling more at home here!
I honestly think that insufficient internet will be my sad, sad demise. Right now, my internet is so modem its painful for me to sit and watch my browser strain to load its page.
Anyways, I'm currently sitting in a Starbucks feeling like I paid too much for a Java Chip Frapp yet feeling very much at home (as in, the States). The company often has the media image of a villain yet makes me feel very comforted with its stringent guides in customer service and and upbeat attitude. For the first time, thank you, Starbucks, for providing comforting smiles and free wifi.
I also found it interesting how McDonald's and Starbucks are located adjacent to each other (as pictured). I know they say that placing niche markets together ends up stabilizing a consistent sales flow rather than beating each other out in competition (hence, why fast food chains, being located near each other, manage to survive amongst competition), but even so, I guess I'm surprised that these two tolerate each other. Perhaps Singapore's compactness is what allows this sort of harmony. If it were a McCafe, however, I don't think it would be quite the same situation.
In other thoughts, I realized I need to brush up on some studying and refresh my math skills. Things are a bit more exciting as of late, but I don't want to jinx myself by speaking too soon. Once my anxiety clears and there are actual results, I'll be less cryptic and cease my stream-of-thought entries. Well, I mean, I'll never quit stream-of-thought, but I'll try to make them more cohesive to include interesting events that are happening. A post on my recent trip to Thailand will be coming up!
I feel like I have so much I want to say yet nothing to update on. I can't wait for the next twelve hours to pass! I hope the weekend feels longer than the weekdays it took to get here. The next ten days are going to be pivotal, I feel like. This next week is going to be so clutch; it's go big or go home; make it or break it; whatever you want to call it, the time is now!
Okay, the sooner I sleep, the sooner tomorrow comes. Paradise, here I come!
I believe I've come to a point to where I've decided: I want to stay in Singapore. Don't get me wrong; I still miss California and my wonderful, amazing friends, but I know if I go back, I will regret not staying and giving it my best shot. I've gotten much more comfortable with life here (despite my ongoing frustration with the job hunt...it's the same story no matter where I am in the world, it seems.) and I'm liking the people I'm meeting. It's definitely been surprising, and to my luck, healing. I am exponentially happier now than I was 3 months ago, and for that I am grateful. I'm moving forward with an open heart and bright eyes...though a bit chubbier and with hair that I cannot seem to tame (darn humidity).
My knee is still healing...I have ice on it at this moment. I have been trying to find low-impact activities/sports to do since I'm gaining weight in less than ideal places. So I've been taking up swimming lately while getting a much needed dose of Vitamin D, which makes me feel much better. I still think it's a bit strenuous on my knee, though, as it was a bit swollen and weak by the end of the day. I am super bummed that I won't be able to go rock climbing this weekend...it's supposed to be amazing! I do feel comforted in the fact that I can makeup for it in the form of kayaking and snorkeling. I wish I could go diving, but I don't think I have the time.
Speaking of casualties, I also chipped my front tooth! God, it was awful. Another lame story that is almost as bad as how I injured my knee. This time, it was because I bit down too hard on a fork. Yup. I was eating too fast and chipped my front tooth biting down on a fork. Who does that?? Sigh!
On a more exciting note, I think the next two weeks week will be much more interesting. I know I haven't been updating, but I've been unmotivated to share how I haven't accomplished much adventuring. Sorry to disappoint! However, I'll be traveling the next two weekends this weekend so I should have some new material and new photos. I'm also keeping my hopes up for the job scene!
So cross your fingers and blow me a kiss, I could use all the luck I can get!
P.S. I thought it would be notable to mention that this past weekend, we had the highest girl-to-guy ratio. 5 to 2! Lucky boys, eh?