Saturday, 15 June 2013

Out on the town in Singapore

So I know I'm supposed to be here researching but I haven't been working too hard yet.  My NUS host researcher says "hang out with my students, have fun, you don't need to do any work!" which doesn't help me muster up motivation.  But I'm definitely having a great time and it's been action-packed!  Where to begin??
Friday, a bunch of us sat down to plan weekend trips and I booked tickets for Bali, Cambodia and Malyasia for less than $600 USD for all three trips.  Singapore is an expensive city to live (especially compared to India and Thailand) so that makes it especially tempting to travel.   Deb went out with a friend friday night and paid $100 for dinner and two drinks at a moderately priced restaurant.  Buying a beer here can cover hostel housing for a long weekend anywhere else in Southeast Asia.  So it's almost economical when you think about how much a night out in Singapore costs.  We're probably going to book a trip to Cebu, Philippines too... I'm just going to hate airplanes and flying by the end of the summer... too bad Tiger Airlines and Malyasia air won't help with frequent flier miles back home.
So Friday night, a bunch of us headed to Hard Rock Cafe with the intention of meeting up with a couple who are friends of friends (she worked at TIP nerd camp back in the States) and listening to a live band.  We got live music (mostly a 60s/70s cover band) but the couple was at the OTHER Hard Rock Cafe, which was unfortunate.  But good times were had by all and I plan to catch up with Lauren soon.
Saturday morning, several of us went on an early morning tree-top trek at MacRitchie Reservoir with Owen, one of my couchsurfing friends.  The hiking group kind of polarized into Deb and I (who moved at a reasonable clip) and the photographers who definitely took their time enjoying and capturing their surroundings.  It was pretty crazy being in a relatively dense jungle in the middle of this busy city, seeing monkeys, lizards and hearing the forest buzz with insects and birds that you can't see.  This trek involved some bridges amongst the treetops that were pretty cool and had some amazing views of the leafy green fauna below.  Deb and I wasted time exploring Holland Village to wait up for the rest of the group but once we realized they were a couple hours behind on the 11 km hike, we enjoyed some Dim Sum and headed back to the hostel.  I enjoy everyone here on the fellowship but it's great to have Deb around.  She's an engineer so both of us aren't used to hanging out with girls much so we both appreciate how exciting it is to have a fellow female with similar interests.  We're both vegetarians, love to hike, love to travel, definite go-getters... and now I've got a place to stay in Nashville during her last year finishing up a PhD in environmental engineering at Vanderbilt.
We were pretty high...

Deb and I at the Treetop Trek at MacRitchie
When we came back Saturday afternoon, I had every intention of getting work done but ended up playing bananagrams and doing more trip planning.  Saturday night, we went to Clarke Quay for some happy hour specials at a Spanish Tapas bar and walked around to enjoy some live music and the illuminated river scenery.
Clarke Quay at night

Alissa, Justin and Ken at Clarke Quay
 Sunday morning, Deb, David and I went on another nice walk to Faber point (the highest point in the city), Henderson Waves bridge, HortPark gardens and another canopy walk on elevated bridges... we definitely covered a lot of ground.  After that, we sat at Labrador Park, absorbing the sea breezes and looked out at the barges floating in and out of the busy seaport.  Time for transcribing... talk soon!
Deb and David at the Alexandria bridge