As a teenager, I was always fascinated by Raageshwari in the video of her song ‘Duniya’ where she goes travelling on her own to Maldives, shops for clothes and most interestingly, wears them immediately! That was something I’ve always wanted to do! And believe me, I feel as excited today, when I am doing that, as my old teenager self! We discovered a shopping heaven right behind our hotel. It is known as the Bugis Street. Duplicates of all latest shoes, bags, jewellery and clothes are available at cheaper prices. So after looking at all those Topshop pleated skirts dejectedly (because nothing was below SGD 35), I found similar ones in the many narrow lanes of this maze. But, beware of the quality! A shopaholic like me, who has shopped everywhere from India to aboard, malls to streets, should better know this. The quality of such places is highly questionable. And sure enough, the pleated skirts either did not have enough pleats or were of cheap cloth. Nonetheless, I managed to find something decent. It is absolute fun wearing local fashion.
Being a tourist is so cool. You can wear whatever you like. Eat whatever you want. Be whatever you want to be. Because whatever you do, you will always be different from others; it is a totally acceptable fact. You have all the right to make mistakes, look confused and doubtful.
Having had breakfast at Toastbox for 3 consecutive days, I decided to have breakfast at different places every day. So one day it was McDonalds and one day Mos Burgers (a Japanese joint. The coffee shake was brilliant and so so heavy). Most of the times, I go out on my own in the morning, have my breakfast at Bugis Junction, pack some food for Mum and/or Sis and come back to the hotel after loitering around a bit. I enjoy these me-times. These times when I am left free on my own is a breather for me. I walk at my own pace, take new lanes and click photos on the way. Now that’s what a traveller should do.
The way to Bugis junction from our hotel is now a road walked on several times. We get out of the hotel, walk across a Chinese area (the first thing you will notice about this area is the soothing Chinese chants playing in a shop. The chants have an extremely soothing effect) which has a famous Chinese temple and a Hindu temple too. Surrounding the 2 temples are traditional Chinese shops selling souvenirs, gift items and cheap clothing. Then comes a hawker street where a full meal can be had in SGD 5 (our cabbie had told us). You wouldn’t want to have that food even for free because the traditional Asian food is not something we can easily consume; the odour itself is unbearable. Too much for the weak Indian heart. The only noticeable thing here is even though this particular patch is crowded, local and old fashioned, it is clean. The area around the enclosure of food area is clean too. No rubbish, no leftovers. Then comes the street shopping area which is a kind of a dangerous area, actually. Lot of mean, messy things go on inside and not just the goody-goody clothes and shoes shopping. You can feel an uncanny presence of a force that compels you to be alert while inside. So best to go there in the afternoon and not focus on anything except the pretty shoes and clothes. I did venture into it alone to shop and explore and on the face of it, it was all sweet. I wouldn’t even want to scrape further.
Coming back to food – because that is my sole interest after fashion. Singapore is food heaven too. Every attractive food joint I see, I am tempted to try atleast one little thing there, just to get a feel of the place; just for the experience. I had banana cake and chicken ham bun at Barcook Bakery which is another bakery I have discovered here (I sneaked there during one of my me-times). They have all kinds of buns (sweet, meat, fruit). And this particular one I tried was so fresh, even though I bought it at around 4 pm, sweet and soft. In fact, almost everything that I have tried here has worked for me – Chocoloco Donut at J.Co, Chicken Ranch pizza at Saprino’s, Chicken Burger at Mos Burgers, Hash Brown at McD, Molten chocolate cake at Starbucks, Ice Kachang at Ion Mall, Chocolate Stack at Awfully chocolate, Grilled chicken and rice at Nando’s. This leads me into a constant confusion – to repeat what I’ve loved or keep trying new things?
Apart from Chinatown, we have only been visiting malls in all our available time.
Each MRT station opens into a mall. And not just any randomly made mall. All malls are well made and have big brands. My knowledge of fashion brands has drastically improved because I have been seeing the same brands again and again in different malls; so their names AND patterns had to get grilled into my mind. Though Ion Mall at Orchard and the stores at Somerset are undoubtedly top class, they are also expensive and common. I liked the malls at Tampinies and Jurong Point more. They have a mix of big and small names (of food, stationery, apparel, shoes – everything) such that you can decide your space and scope. They have brilliant food joints too.
Singapore is full of manmade wonders and they have done a brilliant job at it. I am beginning to agree with Sis’s point that Singaporeans have not much to do here except malls – shopping and food. I have always looked at the crowd and wondered that if all they do is dress up and roam around in malls, when do they work, if they ever do? I have concluded that that is all they can do here. As locals, they are not going to visit night Safari or Sentosa or the flyer. Even if they do, they’d do it once in 2 years. In such a small country, which comprises of only one city practically, what new can happen? They may be visiting night clubs. How many would be there in this tiny space? And that’s why they spend their weekends and holidays going to Hongkong, Malaysia and other nearby countries, I am told.
Tomorrow, we will be visiting an important landmark of Singapore – the 57 storeyed Marina Bay Sands.