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Singapore! Day 11 – Kazbar on the last day before heading home

** Note from the author:  It’s been almost a week since I returned from Singapore, and I’ve gone back and read the posts from throughout my trip a few times.  It’s been so nice to read these, and I can genuinely say that I had a wonderful time in SE Asia with Steve and his friends.  No, the trip didn’t end as planned, but it also did not in any way spoil the vacation for me.  I just needed a little bit of time to process my emotions and move on.  So, again, thanks to my old friend Steve for allowing me to stay with him for two weeks.  Having a houseguest for that long can’t be an easy transition.  **

I’m sitting in the Chicago airport, delayed by United, after flying for 20+ hours (yup, I still miss the days of Continental!). I’ve tried to let my emotions cool down a bit before writing my final “Singapore!” post. Yet, I still have hard feelings about my last day in Singapore. I’ll move directly on to apologizing to Steve’s friend, Jacqui. Steve put her and I in very awkward positions, and I was not very friendly toward her. It was nothing personal, rather it was me allowing my anger and hurt feelings from Steve to spill over to her. Jacqui, if you are reading this, I am sorry that I was not more friendly toward you.

Steve came home from work at lunchtime, which was the general routine during my stay. He mentioned that we would meet his “friend” for lunch. I politely declined, providing my reasons for not wanting to meet her, and decided to wait at the house for him to return at 2PM. He said that Jacqui had to leave by 2, so he’d be home shortly thereafter. I guess 5:50PM was close enough in his book.

Rather than catching up on sleep, or checking off the last few things we had on our list of things to do (e.g. zip line, Geylang, golf, etc), I had spent the day sitting by the pool, attempting to check in with Steve, and waiting for him to return. When he finally did text me, he mentioned we were to meet Andy and Mike (whom I had met on Sunday), and others in Boat Quay at 6:30. When I went up to change, Steve and his friend were watching TV. It was immediately clear to me that he spent the entire day with this woman, and that she was joining us for dinner. I was upset and very hurt. Thus, not very engaging.

The only food I had on Friday was at dinner. We walked to Boat Quay and met up with the gang, which was rounded out by Andy’s wife, Sandra and another couple, Ted and Norma. We dined at Kazbar, a Middle Eastern restaurant. We started off with plates of hummus, mohammarah, babaganoush, and tabouleh.

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And salad…

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I had the grilled lamb kebab, which was deliciously prepared, and had great flavor. Unfortunately, at this point, I didn’t have much of an appetite, so I didn’t eat much of it. But, I did happily provide Mike a few spoonfuls of the lamb, so as not to let it go to waste!

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After dinner, Steve handed me an MRT card and told me that would get me home. He wanted to personally escort his Singapore friend home. That’s where the night totally broke down. On my last day in the city, I had barely seen or spoken with Steve, and then was left behind for a woman who lives there and can see him anytime. Mind you, his friends were very gracious (and quite appalled by his behavior), but this vacation had taken a nosedive at this point.

Still trying to make the best of a crappy situation, we headed over to Andy and Sandra’s, had quite a few laughs, and almost as many jabs at how the night played out. I would like to very sincerely thank Andy, Sandra, Ted and Norma for keeping me company on my last evening in town.

Andy and I having a laugh.

Andy and I having a laugh.

Sandra, my "Singapore mum"

Sandra, my “Singapore mum”

Eventually, Andy and Sandra walked me back to Steve’s place, to ensure I arrived safely. If y’all are reading this, know that my parents greatly appreciate your doing so as well. (((hugs))) I’m grateful to the new friends I made while in Singapore – not just those mentioned in this post, but those from earlier adventures as well.

Steve did take me back to the airport in the morning. I really wanted to take a cab, but he insisted on seeing me off.

I’m so very glad that I have been keeping up with my adventures on a daily basis. I can look back at earlier posts and appreciate the things I saw and the experiences I had. And I do thank Steve for his hospitality over the two weeks I was there. As I mentioned before, Steve was a very generous host – everything we did was his treat. It’s just that I would rather someone spend time with me and pay attention to me, more so than money on me. It was a once-in-a-lifetime vacation with an old friend, and I’m glad that I was able to experience another set of cultures.

I encourage you to read my earlier (and more positive!) “Singapore!” posts, as you’ll see many of the great sights of Singapore – as well as amazing food! I spent eleven days there, but if you’re like me and can avoid jet lag, I think five or six days would suffice. It’s a pretty small island!

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my stay in SE Asia! Thanks for stopping by the blog.



Singapore! Day 10: Chinese seafood, Durian, and “that lunch we won’t talk about”

Tomorrow is my last day in Singapore.  The time has pretty much flown by – especially considering I prefer long weekend vacations to full week vacations (and two weeks, in this instance!).  Steve has done a great job of packing in a lot of sightseeing, time with his friends, walking about town, and of course…fantastic food!

As we set out for lunch today, he had planned on taking me over to Orchard Road for something “fancy”.  As we walked, we saw more chickens on the side of the road.  Because that still amuses me, I took a picture.

I told Steve that the burger joint he had mentioned earlier in the week actually sounded good.  I think after having so much ethnic food (even for breakfast), I was just craving something American.  Kind of pathetic, I know!  It turns out that the place he had mentioned was not open for lunch.  Steve begged me not to mention this in the blog, but in the interest of full disclosure, I’ll admit that we went to Carl’s Junior in the MRT station to have burgers and fries for lunch!  I had the avocado and bacon burger, and he had the jalapeno burger.  I also had the first caffeine drink I’ve had since I’ve been here.  “American” iced tea.  It was decadent!

We decided to head back to his apartment for the afternoon, as the threat of rain loomed over us.  Again, it never did rain, but it was a good excuse for Steve to do laundry and for us to enjoy “The Dark Knight Rises“.  At 2 hours and 40 minutes, it was a perfect way to spend part of the afternoon before heading out toward Wing Seong Fatty’s  for dinner.

Fatty’s is a regular haunt for Steve and his friends.  He ordered us Spring Rolls, Bok Choy, Black Pepper Prawns, and Black Pepper Chicken.

Spring Rolls

Bok Choy

Black Pepper Prawns

Black Pepper Chicken

While all of the food was very good, I was especially partial to the Bok Choy and the Black Pepper Chicken.  The black pepper in these dishes reminds me of the Kampot Pepper my friend Chanda sends me (it’s Cambodian pepper, and it’s amazing!)  One piece of advice…the black pepper totally sticks in one’s teeth, so toothpicks and dental floss are key!

Since we were so close, Steve and I walked over to Bugis Street to check out the “affordable shopping”.  Basically, it’s a small step up from China Town’s street market shopping, and you can buy everything from produce to clothing to accessories to trinkets.  We stopped to check out the Durian, which is a fruit that smells so bad it’s actually banned on the MRT lines!


I told Steve that I would try it if it was a “must do”, but he didn’t force me to do so after dinner (had we gone before dinner, I think he’d have bought one for me).  In all honesty, the pungent smell alone was enough to make me happy to pass on tasting it.

We then hopped the MRT back home and walked in intense humidity (89%)!  I swear that today was the only day I truly felt like I was melting in Singapore – and it wasn’t all that hot!  I have no idea how I’m going to adjust to going back to the Midwest US and deal with the snow and cold.  I have one more day to enjoy the warmth of Singapore – stay tuned!



Singapore! Day 9: Golf in Indonesia and Fish ‘n Chips in Boat Quay

Steve was finally able to take a day off today, so we woke up early to meet his friend, Jeff, and catch a ferry to Indonesia to golf on Batam Island in Indonesia.  We were in a taxi, and on the road by ~6:30AM. It was still dark out, and I think Steve was still half asleep!  🙂

At the station, Steve ordered Laksa noodles for me for breakfast (served with egg), and then we caught the 7:50AM ferry from Vivo City to the Sekupang terminal on Batam Island, Indonesia.

This was supposed to be a meal of spicy noodles, but they weren’t really spicy.   Steve had a HUGE “dollop” of chile paste added to his meal, which caused him to break into a  small sweat.  Mine, not so much.  It was tasty, don’t get me wrong; it just wasn’t as “hot” as I imagined it would be.

At 7:50AM, we took the ferry over from Singapore to Batam Island – about a 45 minute ride.   And, I’m telling you…this was the most well-organized, easy-going trip – ever!  Try as I did to tick Steve off by having “blonde moments”!

Once we arrived at Batam Hills, from the moment we stepped onto the golf resort grounds, every woman – to a T – said I looked like a doll, Barbie!  Ummm?? But, it sure was nice to have women saying something nice to me!

This was not on the course, but pre-golf game, this is what my hair looked like…very “Barbie”! LOL

It was the curls (thank you Pamcakes and TK), and the color (thank you, Michael!) that had them complimenting me at every turn!

The golf was superbly enjoyable, thanks to three fantastic caddies – of whom I did not capture a collective picture.  But, I did manage to get a picture with my caddy (after a round of golf – “Barbie hair” was not looking good!)

Me and my caddy for the day, Riyama.

After that extremely fun round of golf (if not a “good” round of golf), we grabbed lunch at BHGR.  I was served the “Batam Hills Sandwich” – which included chicken, beef bacon, tomato, cucumber, egg, and mayo – I suppose it was an Asian version of the Club Sandwich.  I wasn’t sure whether I’d like it, but it was quite tasty.  It was unexpectedly refreshing with the cucumber and tomato.  I finished the full sandwich easily.  I also dug having the french fries with chile sauce (they have a nice, spicy chile sauce at the club).

After lunch, we headed back on the ferry toward Singapore.  The return route was a bit more choppy, thanks to this guy…

He was making waves for us to cross over.

Steve and I had ~an hour to regroup before heading over to Boat Quay.  One problem…thunder and lightning struck about 10 minutes before we had to leave.  I admit that I was a bit of a pansy, and after giving Steve crap about getting a taxi to take us places earlier in the week, I (more than once!) asked “are you going to make me walk through the storm??”  He did (though it wasn’t storming yet).  We grabbed umbrellas and headed through Robertson Quay to Clarke Quay and over to Boat Quay to “Smith’s Fish and Chips“.

And…we beat the rain!! VICTORY!!

Once there, I was reacquainted with Bryan, whom I had met Friday night, and I met a few others – great people!  And, as the night progressed, I was reacquainted with more and more (now) familiar faces!  We also watched an incredible thunderstorm (with brilliant lightning) from the deck of the restaurant.  I’ve never been outside in such a storm, but nobody else flinched, so I powered through it!

Steve ordered me fried cod for dinner.  Holy I-can’t-finish-this-portion dinner!  Quite tasty, mind you. The fish and chips (fries) were delicious with vinegar and salt.  But, dear gosh… a HUGE portion!

It took me forever to even get through a third of this portion, mostly because I was chatting up a storm with Steve’s friends. Again, really cool men.

It was ~9:30PM by the time we left. AKA: way past Steve’s bedtime. No judgement…dude knows he needs sleep.

As we walked home, I couldn’t resist the urge to take a picture of the view of Clarke Quay at night – it was beautiful!

I know Steve loves his sleep, so I was grateful to Bryan for going out and grabbing a beer with me at Harry’s (Steve’s local “haunt”).  I have a hard time going to bed early, and it was nice to spend the evening chatting with a friendly man.  Bryan is a gem to be around.  He’s a hunter,  a beer drinker, a cook, and a family man…we shared stories about food, family, and Steve.  😉  And, now I know that I have a second home to stay in when I go to Baton Rouge (IF I go to Baton Rouge again).

Another great day in Southeast Asia!



Singapore! Day 7 – Chilli Crab (Clarke Quay) and Sashimi and Maki ( Robertson Quay)

Since Steve had to go into work this morning, I spent the morning walking around Robertson and Clarke Quays.  There wasn’t much to actually see or do, because very few things are open in the morning, but it was nice to wander, rather than sit in the apartment.  Mind you, it was seriously crazy hot and humid too!

That walk allowed me to further explore areas Steve had taken me to earlier.  So, when he came home shortly after noon local time and suggested we set out for lunch in Clarke Quay, I felt comfortable that I knew where he was heading.

We ended up walking over to Clarke Quay to dine at Jumbo’s Seafood. Our mission that day: take on the Chilli Crab challenge! And, we did.

We were seated with six other people at a table set for four twosomes. One twosome ordered the Chilli Crab, one ordered the Pepper Crab (boiled in black pepper) and one ordered duck (???). Steve ordered us the fried baby squid, stir-fried asparagus (shockingly, cooked in garlic!), and Chilli Crab.

Side note:  One of Steve’s coworkers (a Brit) happened upon us on the streets of Singapore and mentioned that I must be Steve’s sister – y’all….we don’t look ANYTHING alike! He’s Italian. I’m Irish-mix. He has green eyes, mine change color daily. He’s dark. I’m not just light, I’m white! And, on from there.  However, despite our distinctly different backgrounds and looks, we have an uncanny knack for liking the same things.  Very similar tastes and even mannerisms.

Back to Jumbo’s…just as the food was being served, I tied on the provided bib. I’m no dummy! Everyone else at the table (except Steve) wore their bibs too.  There was no shame in doing so.

The baby squid were delicious and served with a chile sauce (reminiscent of spring roll sauce). Crispy and easy to eat.

The asparagus was amazing! Bright green, cooked to perfection, and piled atop a delicious garlic sauce.  Steve and I found ourselves doing the same thing, pushing the garlic to the corners to try to soak it all up with our asparagus!  And, we devoured the veggies!

Then came our Chilli Crab, which is boiled and served in a delicious chilli pepper sauce that is the consistency of a heavy soup or stew.

Steve served me a claw first and I broke the meat out with ease (and no mess!).

I think I impressed us both equally – as I had anticipated wearing the red pepper sauce all over. Granted, my bib was quite covered, but my hands, arms and dress were not!  I will say that I tired of using my chopsticks by the end of this meal.  It’s so messy that it becomes difficult to use them the whole time – plus, it’s totally appropriate to use your hands and just eat the meat.  We proceeded to suck every last piece out of that pot, and then proceeded to eat the sauce by the spoonful.

We certainly did not leave hungry, and we managed to leave clean!

We then set off to Little India to visit the Wet Market – fresh fish, meat and produce vendors galore!

Most of it was closed by the time we weaved our way through Little India, but the stuff that was left was still amazing!  The seafood alone would have me visiting several times a week!

We rushed home to beat a rain that never came. Both Steve and I were convinced that it was going to pour, but the threat was idle. Regardless, we used the time to relax and watch “The Hangover 2“, set in Thailand – one of Steve’s favorite places, and one we were going to try to visit, but couldn’t make happen.

Then, off to a small Japanese restaurant, Yume Ya, for sushi dinner. We both had a tough time ordering, because there were so many things we wanted to try! We ended up having Shake (Salmon) sashimi, Kanpachi (yellow tail) sashimi, Spicy Tuna Maki Temaki (spicy tuna roll), Soft Shell Crab Maki Temaki (soft shell crab roll), and the Yumeya Special Maki (house special roll).

The sashimi melted in our mouths – it was so good!

Neither of us were huge fans of the spicy tuna roll, as the flavors were overwhelming since it was topped with a 12 spices blend. The house roll and the soft shell crab rolls were a different story. Both delicious!

We managed to finish all of the food and went home happy!  I was especially happy, as I was FINALLY able to pay a bill here.  Steve has been so very generous, and I had to sneak one in while I’m here.  🙂

I’m on my own in Singapore Tuesday since Steve has work commitments. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do since we’ve covered so much ground already.  But, I’m sure it will be a splendid day 8 on vacation!

If anyone has suggestions, please feel free to chime in as to how I should spend my day!



Singapore! Day 4 (a bit late!) Karu’s Indian Banana Leaf Restaurant

I had to delay writing this post because I wasn’t exactly sure what all I had eaten on Friday night!  I put Steve to work to gather a list of the specifics so I could do the dinner we had with his coworkers justice! As usual, he pulled through – actually bringing me the ticket from dinner that night!
Meeting his coworkers for a traditional Southern Indian meal at Karu’s Indian Banana Leaf Restaurant after golfing in Malaysia earlier that morning was a perfect plan! We were hungry, and there was plenty of food! Additionally, the company we kept was awesome. I sat next to an American named Mark, and across from Steve and his coworker (and host for the evening), Lingam.  There were four more folks who joined us at the other end of the table: Scott and his lovely wife, Lynn and Mubarak and Bong Tong, who treated us to this fantastic meal!
If you haven’t been to this style of Indian restaurant (and I had not been), you sit down at a setting which has a “table” set for you, on a banana leaf. It looks like a place mat, but actually serves as your plate.
I’m not sure I’ll get the order correct, just trust me that Lingam ordered a great variety of foods, and lots of it!
We started off with a few pieces of Papadum, which served as my utensils.  Lingam and a few others ate traditionally, by using their fingers to mix and eat their food. I never quite got that comfortable at the dinner table, and therefore managed to walk away with very little curry under my nails!
The servers brought Briyani rice, cabbage and Brinjal (eggplant) first. Then, things came more quickly than I could try them! More than once, Lingam laughed at how I was trying to keep up – but was failing miserably to do so! Out came spoonfuls of Chicken Mysore, Mutton Curry, Fried Fish, Chicken Masala, Fishhead Curry and Chicken Curry.

Fishhead Curry

I tried it all, and enjoyed it all. There were a variety of flavors, but I was most partial to the Mutton Curry, the Chicken Mysore, the Fishhead Curry, and the Cabbage.
There was no way I could finish everything I had been served, so I hoped that the gang would not be offended when I folded my banana leaf over to indicate that I was done (not to indicate that there was anything wrong with the meal…which I’m told one might also do). There was also no way I could keep up with taking pictures of the food whilst trying to taste it all…so, I apologize, but I missed capturing many of the delightful dishes of the evening in photos.  😦
We had anticipated going out with one or two of the guys that night, but everyone headed in their own directions.  Steve and I headed back to Robertson Quay – figuring we’d have a glass of wine and enjoy the evening outdoors.  We immediately ran into two more coworkers of his, chatted, and had several laughs.  Everyone I have met thus far has been tremendous! Really fun people!
After Bryan and Jason (aforementioned run-ins) left, Steve and I headed back to Wine Connection for that Cab we enjoyed so much earlier in the week.  Turns out, we still enjoyed it! Two bottles and a long catch-up conversation later, we retired home to rest up for an outing to Sentosa Island the next day.
Yes, we were both exhausted and we got a late start the next day, but I think it was worth having a rare late night out (might have allegedly been an early morning out) in Robertson Quay!
As a parting thought tonight, if you have the chance to try a Banana Leaf Indian meal, I highly recommend it!  I thoroughly enjoyed this adventure! I’d love to hear from those of you who have tried this before.

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