Day 14 & 15: The Final Weekend 26th & 27th of April, 2015
So here we are at the end of our amazing Sumopore Sojourn. What’s left to do but relax, pack and go you say? Well, we are the Sabretoothed Chickens, and we are waking up in the Lion City :).
Explore our local area – Joo Chiat Road
Joo Chiat or Katong was historically a weekend getaway area for rich city dwellers and filled with swaying coconut palms. It was named after Chew Joo Chiat, one such wealthy landowner. It was developed as a residential area in the early twentieth century when it became known as the “Home of the Peranakans”.
Peranakans (‘local born’) are the descendants of Chinese and Indian immigrants who married indigenous people from the Malay Archipelago in the 15th century. Joo Chiat is known for its pre-war architecture – colourful two-storey shophouses and ornate terrace houses.
Food – Of course
In the last 150 years, Singapore has not only transformed from a quiet fishing village to a modern metropolis but it has also become the food centre of South East Asia. It is known for its hawker markets, of which we are slowly taste testing a wide selection, each with a small collection of stalls which specialise in one or two dishes. Here you can have Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, Peranakan or Nonya.
Notable meals in these final days included the battered fried oysters at the Dumas Food Centre (which Prunella had twice) and breakfast at the famous Ho Kee Pau.
Window Shopping at least…
When exploring the myriad of shops in Singapore, you are bound to be amazed by the hippest shop décor, the innovative products you have never seen before, how you can buy things from every small corner of the globe and how spotlessly clean it all is. Also you will be amazed that no matter what the weather, a labyrinth of undercover walkways or bridges mean your shopping will never get wet.
As for the Singaporeans themselves, with local shops set at tourist prices, they are mostly shopping online. Paypal estimates that their online shopping market is worth over 4 billion dollars.
Water Park fun
When you are outside the many luxurious air-conditioned malls, it is hot and humid. So any stay in Singapore involves a water park. Unlike the usually reserved locals we parents sported our togs and joined in the fun. Why not?
Let’s be truthful, in a lot of South East Asia you would be hard pushed to find a quiet, clean coffee shop with really good coffee. So we always hit a few in Singapore where they are plentiful and wonderful. On this occasion we picked one appropriate for our son Reuben who would soon be celebrating his birthday!
Further Afield with Friends
Singapore is more than meets the eye. Away from the skyscrapers and many tourist attractions and even the many food centres, are the places native Singaporeans live and enjoy, like East Coast Park.
Our last evening in Singapore was spent with new couchsurfing friends, TL and family, having an evening beach picnic. In Perth we had chatted online and sought advice from this lovely local family. Now here we were with a few other surfers they knew, feasting at castle beach with all our six kids playing together. Perfect.
A wonderful end to another epic Sabretoothed Chickens adventure.
(Exclusive STCT Changi tips:
Duty Free Shopping: Don’t ask us why but Australians must purchase their duty free more than 90 minutes before their flight departure. So buy early or miss out. They take it from you and you get it back on entry to the departure gate.
Secret Cheap Eats: Changi Airport food is OK but pricey. Take a page out of our book and check out the old staff canteen – Basement 1, outside T1 then down the stairs. A huge variety of food at great prices. They are happy to serve non-staff at slightly higher prices. Yes, it has air-con ;))
People will tell you Singapore is sterile, expensive and boring, they are wrong. Just dig deeper.