Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Living the high life

Last night, we met one of Jen's friends who is moving to Austin, Texas after working in Singapore for a year and he said that he's excited to go back but his time in Singapore felt like a mini vacation (despite having to work throughout) and he's sorry to see that end.  I'm glad people who are hired here full time feel like way too- I've been doing a lot more work during the day but especially this week, the nights have been amazing.
On Tuesday, Ken, Kevin and I met up with couchsurfers Kaz and Sam in Chinatown (we wanted to give Sam a honorary name that started with "K" to complete the Ken-Katie-Kevin-Kaz clump of us).  The boys were ravenous so we started with a hearty meal in the Hawker Center.  Kevin ordered the Chili Crab, a Singaporean specialty.  They delivered the dish with two mountains of rice, a pile of gloves and Kevin dug right in.  
Kevin chillin' with Chili crab in the Hawker Center
From there, we wandered around the streets, checking out the cheap souvenirs and colorful lanterns.  Kaz requested we get snow ices at the famous Mei Heong Yuen Dessert place then we headed toward the waterfront to hit up Uncle Bob's suggestion of getting a Singapore Sling at the Raffles hotel.  The hotel is a beautiful example of 19th colonial charm and the famous inventors of this drink.  The drink itself was too sweet but the experience was worth it.  Entering the Long Bar ushered in the grandness of British imperialism.  The ceiling fans looked like handheld fans that swayed back and forth to the beat of the live band, a groovin' Malaysian group that played everything from Adele to Japanese love songs.  There were peanuts on the tables and you could throw the shells all over the floor (which is especially fun in a country with excessive fines for littering).  Once we survived the epically slow mirrored ancient elevator ride down a floor, we all went home with pieces of peanuts in our pockets and purses.
Sam, Ken, Kaz, me and Kevin with our Singapore Slings
Wednesday evening was even more action-packed.  A bunch of us bought Groupons for the river boat cruise, Gardens by the Bay and Cloud Forest so we started the night with a sunset cruise down the river.  When I left my residence, a Chinese girl and her mother asked me for directions to the MRT (not sure why they thought I knew where to go haha) and we started chatting and they decided to follow me around for the next five hours.  They came on the river cruise, joined us for free cider at the couchsurfing gathering and invited Deb and I over their house for extreme dumpling making tonight.  They invited me to visit China with them in July too- they were adorable!
Back row: Dave, Jen's friend, me, my new Chinese friends
Front row: Jen and Alissa
 After the river cruise, we met up with Marie and some of the boys at Zsafi for a special edition of the weekly couchsurfing meeting.  The restaurant supposedly was opening its kitchen so they served free food and cider so the place was packed.  We convinced a bunch of people to join us for Hakuna Matata Ladies' Night at the Marina Bay Sands clubs so after a prata pitstop, we headed out.  Dancing was a blast- there were a surprising number of people out for a wednesday but that's what happens when ladies get three free drink tickets I guess.
When we were in Kuching, there were these two french guys who were literally following us the whole time.  Same incoming flight, they went to Bako national park on saturday, we saw them at the Orang utan center Sunday morning and they went back on the same flight on Sunday.  But being French and pretentious, they were too cool to talk to us in Malaysia except to tell us that they knew we were American by our ugly accents.  But last night, we found one of them and actually talked to him for awhile.  We also bumped into a lot of the same people who were at the couchsurfing meeting and I met a Turkish computer science PhD guy who promised me lunch and to help me with planning my eventual trip to Turkey.
At the bottom of Avalon with Singapore skyline
After some time at the Avalon, we went up to the 57th floor to the Ku de Ta nightclub 200 meters in the sky with 360 degree panoramic views of the skyline and Straits of Singapore.  The club was supposedly voted one of the top ten global hot spots by the New York Times and I think connects to the famous infinity pool (but you can only go if you reserve a room- you can check out the B.o.b. music video that features it here- I don't like the song but the video is cool- does a better job with the scenery than my snapshots).   And we continued to dance our socks off- what a night!  And even better because it was free!
Always-photogenic-Ken and I two hundred meters up at Ku De Ta 
 By the way, this is my 100th post and the blog has about 3500 page views!  Thanks to all of you who check in, especially those of whom e-mail me your thoughts and comments!  I've been blessed with amazing opportunities and it's been a pleasure to share them with you!