Monday, May 28, 2012

Eating Singapore style

Aside from shopping, Singapore is also known for its hawkers.  These are food stalls selling cheap but delicious Singaporean dishes.  I was so excited to try out the food!  We went to a hawker station near the Esplanade and my friend who's based in Singapore did the ordering.  She made us try out the stingray and rose drink.  We also tried the Char Kway Teow. The food was a bit spicy but it was something that one can still tolerate.  I think you can request for no-spice when you order it.  I have an allergy for seafoods but that didn't stop me from trying out the dishes served in front of me (I bought my medicines anyway, haha).

From left: Fried rice, barbecue, rose drink, Char Kway Teow and Spicy Stingray
If you happen to be in Singapore, you can also check out their chicken rice.  Chicken rice is also a known dish in Singapore.  But unfortunately, I wasn't able to taste it.  I wanted to see if the chicken rice in Wee Nam Kee Singapore tastes just the same as that of their branch here in Manila.  You can also try out the tofu fries in I love Tamei.  I've heard it tastes good too.  Do share your stories with me when you get to taste it. :-)

Orchard Road and Bugis Street

Most people usually think shopping when they hear about Singapore.  True enough, it was a shopaholic's paradise.  Orchard Road is filled with famous brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Georgio Armani to name a few. A wide selection of clothes, shoes and bags are there for anyone who's ready to burn their wallet or max out their credit cards.  But for a poor backpacker like me, it was torture. I was contented posing in front of the stores and just do window shopping.  Haha.

There were a lot of different malls along Orchard Road and one can easily get lost among the long aisles of branded items.  Prices range from S$12 to who knows what. The Great Singapore Sale happens this weekend so expect all the items to be on super sale.  My friend says that sometimes prices can go down to 70% off during this time.

After going to different stores we saw this S$1 ice cream stand.  It's a perfect refuge on a hot summer day.  You can choose from a variety of flavors and whether you want your ice cream to be placed in a cone, a wafer or bread.  I chose a sweet corn flavored ice cream in a wafer.  It was delicious!

Further away from the ice cream stand, there was a guy playing an instrument along the street.  I was impressed by the beautiful sound that he made using an Appalachian Dulcimer – an American folk musical instrument created somewhere between 1800’s - 1940.   His music evoked a certain calmness, very different from the fast-paced people walking along Orchard Road.

Budget conscious people flock to Bugis Street for cheap finds.  It's also a long stretch of stalls selling shirts, souvenirs, bags and many others.  I was able to buy my trip souvenir here - a Singapore magnet for S$5. Haggle and you can get discounts when you buy in bulk.

Singapore truly is a shopper's paradise.  It has something to offer someone who likes branded items and someone who's on a budget.  Be sure to wear comfortable shoes since walking through the long stretch of stalls can be tiring.  Also bring enough water or be prepared to pay at least S$1.50 for a bottle.

And as a bonus, there was a Canon Blogger Workshop on one of the malls in Orchard Road. I get to see the international celebrity photographer, Russell James.

Plan, plan and let go

For the past 100 days or so, I have been counting down until my Southeast Asian trip. Together with a friend, we plan to travel to 4 countries (Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia and Thailand) for 9 days. All plane tickets and hotel reservations have already been arranged. Then a week before the trip, I was informed that I have to cut short my trip because of some "urgent" matters that I have to attend to!  I was so disappointed and honestly the excitement that I felt toward this trip somehow disappeared. I have been planning about this since last year. Endless hours of waiting for seat sales, hotel and tour promos, researching the itinerary and budgeting have been put into it to make sure that everything goes well.  And worst, I have to cancel and rebook my ticket. But I have to make do of whatever is left - and that is 4 days of travel!  We dropped Thailand but made it through the other three countries.  We spent 2 days in Singapore, 1 day in Malaysia and 1 day in Cambodia.  This is not an ideal trip my dear readers because I believe that we need to spend more time in each country to fully appreciate its beauty, history and culture.  But as I've said, I have to make do of whatever is left. I'll be posting my adventures in my upcoming posts and I'll try to give you as much info on the places that we've been to, the foods that we ate and the amount of money that we spent. So sit tight and join me in this roller coaster ride...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Inspirations: The Practical Nomad - How to Travel Around the World

Today, I introduce you to a new section on my blog.  I thought of posting some of my travel inspirations.  It could be a book, a picture, an event or anything that somehow fuels my wanderlust. My first inspiration is the book, The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World (5th edition) by Edward Hasbrouck. I have browsed through this book in a local bookstore still undecided if I would buy it or not because of its price.  I was thinking that I could use the money instead for accommodation in one of our destinations for our upcoming trip.  After reading a lot of good reviews about this book, I finally decided to buy it.  I have read a few chapters and I can say that this book really does make you wanna go out there and pursue your dream trip.

Well, I hope this book inspires you as much as I have been inspired by it.  Happy reading! :-)