Friday, April 15, 2011

(Travelogue) Oriental Outings Day 2: The Melted Pot

Mar 2, 2011

Breakfast with Chicken Rice!

As expected, we woke up late in the morning to make up for the previous extended days.

For the breakfast, Jeffery microwaved us the chicken rice! Rice is the name of food in Singaproe and the rest is noodles. It is not uncommon to have them even in the breakfast. But for us, it was a surprise, especially for Urooba who was once again not comfortable with the mildly sweet taste, however, I enjoyed that and she had to resort to the porridge!

Jeffery is all about food, so if you are visiting him, always expect more food! So, the next surprise was the Hyderabadi Lukhmi with a slightly different shape. In Singapore, they call it curry puff!

Back to MRT:

Today, we planned to explore cultural neighborhoods of Singapore, following Wikitravel Singapore Day 2 Morning Walk. So let’s go back to the MRT! 
On the go: MRT Interchange
There are four MRT lines in Singapore – red, green, purple, and yellow – which intersect each other at designated stations. In order for us to reach to Chinatown station we had to change from the red line to the purple at Dhoby Ghaut station! 

Note the MRT sign in Tamil!
The clean and busy Dhoby Ghuat station was like any thing but a Dhoby Ghuat, which in Urdu/Hindi is actually referred to a messy washing place mostly besides a river stream! Pondering about the etymologic reasons, we had to hurry to change the MRT line!
MRT Values

Here, I would like to shed some more praise on the MRT system of Singapore! Besides the fact that it connects the whole city well, it is super clean and friendly. Drinking and eating is strictly prohibited onboard, platforms are well marked, electronic screens can tell you precisely in how many minutes – or seconds – the next train is due, ticketing is simple, and vending machines are user friendly!

I started daydreaming that one day Karachi would also have a credible mass transit system until I heard someone in the train saying "Singaporeans are fed up with the MRT service!" What? 

Yes, people always want more; “frequency of trains should be increased”, “there are too few handgrips”, “air-conditioning does not work in daytime”, and “due to rush, we have to bear close contact with other commuters, which is embarrassing” are some of the complains poor Singaporeans often make! I guess, they need to visit Karachi and spend a day with the notorious W-11 to realize what a paradise they are living in! 

Now note the MRT sign in Chinese!
Although most of Singapore is modern and well planned, this part of the city, i.e. Chinatown, was allowed to maintain its traditional color; narrow streets decorated with typical red balloons, sign boards in vertical Chinese vernacular, roadside stalls selling Chinese handicrafts, and those fragrant herb shops marketing traditional Chinese spices and medics!
Coming out of MRT escalator
Chinese style building
Another Chinese style building
Yet another Chinese style building
A street in Chinatown
Roadside vendors around Chinatown
Where Gods Meet:

After wandering and peaking around, we ended up at the junction of Pagoda street and South Bridge Road, where located the Sri Mariamman Temple, a nonchalant place of worship for local Hindus and a photo opportunity for foreign tourists.

Temple gate
The roof

The exterior

Gods' glimpses are not cheap here!
Temple entrance
few meters away was the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple housed in a Tibetan style vermilion building. The prayer hall was more like a church with seating arrangements while there were hundreds of miniature Buddhas shelved in the surrounding walls in addition to a giant one in the front. The nearby Jamae Chulia Mosque adds to the diversity of the area.

I have a point!

Praying for peace!

Gold bricks!!
Have luck!
Yum Cha

This exuberant experience of religious harmony left us empty stomached! Nearby, we could not find anything except for hawkers selling not-so-familiar food so we had to resort to a guide book’s recommendation Yum Cha for snacks! 
Misha enjoying Yum Cha's ambiance

Khalid: happy go lucky
Sentosa Fun

After having late lunch, it was time to meet Khalid, so we headed back to MRT to catch purple line to reach to the Harbour Front station, where Khalid was waiting for us for Sentosa ride. We then quickly bought tickets as we wanted to make it to the island before the sunset.

Colours of the sunset at Sentoda Island!

Artificial Kampong at Sentosa Island

Chairlift that connects the island from another island!
Song of the Sea

Sentosa is a heaven for theme park lovers with so many activities to do, especially the famous Universal Studio, however, we stuck to the beach side cabaret Song of the Sea, which was based on a folk story where a young boy got enchanted with the sleeping Princess of the Sea and finally made her awake after a long struggle full of hurdles and with the help of his freinds.

Spectators waiting for the show to start

The arena for the Song of the Sea

The show starts
The performance

The show started around sunset, and as the natural light got dim, the tradition Malay style Kampong glowed up with colourful laser lights. Use of effects, such as water springs and fireworks, which can be felt in the audience, made the performance worthwhile.

This Time We Passed the Food Test

Khalid’s hospitality did not end with the end of the show as we ended the day at another delicious dinner at Vivo City food court! And frankly, that was the first meal since last three days when we could manage to survive the food test!

Thank you Khalid :)
Half way our meal, Hadi also joined us and then we made to Vivo City rooftop for the sepectacular bird eyeview of the island before going back home.


  1. Hi Muzzammil, that must have been quite an adventure for you all to deal with different kind of food. Cannot immagine how's Pakistani (well, Karachi) one like, though... spicier ? I also realize how much of Singapura I missed during our short 2 days stay! Well... if there will be another time.... Great blog, BTW.

    Vesna (in VT as picek) (trying to see how the comments here work :)

  2. Thanks Vesna for the read and for the comment. Encouraging for me that you liked that.

    The food experience was great overall, however, there were surprises all the time! Food in Karachi is mostly borrowed from India, especially from Mogul courts in Dehli. At times, it gets toooo spicy here otherwise its only too spicy :)

  3. good work Muzamil and thanks for sharing it. now 'll finalize the trip.