After a crazy night of Swedish House Mafia, the next afternoon called for a lazy day by the pool. Another unofficial exchange student hangout (we outnumbered all the regular graduate and undergraduate students, faculty and staff combined on the sign in sheet), sunshine and Olympic-sized laps were just what I needed. The sun – gods were pleased with my worship (read: tanning session) and I even managed to avoid burning (shuddup, this excites me a lot when it happens!!)
Batteries recharged, I was ready to see another piece of Singapore’s world. The first stop was Bugis street: famous for cheap shopping and home to a seemingly endless supply of hawker stands, over an hour was spent trying to navigate the maze of the Bugis Street Market. Set with 3 floors of shops, I left with a 3$ birdcage necklace and a sense of amazement at how many shops could fit in such a small space.
The original plan was to head to Arab Street for dinner, but shopping is hard work and we instead opted for the hawker stands around the market. Still wanting to try some new food, I decided chicken feet would be an acceptable substitute for Arab cuisine (just to warn you, I’m going to describe the experience in full play-by-play detail in the next section).
I have to say I was a bit sceptical about chicken feet before trying them, it didn’t seem like there was going to be any meet on the feet of a chicken – they’re so scrawny looking – but the foot managed to hold several bites. Eating the actual foot was a bit of an event in itself, you have to pick the feet apart and gnaw the slightly-chewier-than-chicken-body meat off each toe, kind of like a dog. The palm of the foot really holds the most meat, if you make sure to avoid the funky-looking bone in the middle.
After dinner (yuuuuuum), we finally made it down to Arab Street. This wasn’t before receiving directions from 3 groups of people trying to lead us in completely opposite directions. The people in Singapore are really friendly and always seem to want to help out, even when they clearly have no idea how.
After passing several large Mosques and hand-woven tapestries, we made it to a Shisha bar some local friends told us we needed to try. It was tucked away on a narrow, but well-lit street, lined with closed-up retail stores whose fronts had become littered with blankets, pillows and groups of people surrounding various Shishas. We were lead up a small staircase and into a room set up for large groups with several short tables and a TV showing an English football match.
I soon realized that my batteries weren’t as charged as I thought they were, and could feel myself beginning to crash, but not before taking one final detour to a towering building my hospitality-brain suspected was a hotel. After touring the front courtyard and lobby bar (complete with lounge singer and piano), I was shocked to discover the building was simply an office. I now have a new mission in Singapore: find out who works in this place, and how I can get a job there!