Singers Morning Glory. Coming back to Singapore on an early morning flight. Driving from Changi and straight to the office in the CBD. So clean, fresh, bright, and, luckily, haze-free at that. The manicured greenery lining the roads. The steel gloss of the Marina Bay Sands, flower domes and office buildings. Such a smooth start to the week.
The Flying Squirrel. Delicious sashimi salad and sushi to share after work on Monday in this cosy little dark spot in the alleyway between Amoy Street and Chinatown.
Grains by the Bay. Next evening, we get a salad from Grain Traders and find a bench on the Marina Boulevard from where to tuck into our quinoa and seared tuna while watching the exercisers, tourists and couples in love drifting past us at different paces in the sunset.
Quick Drink. Dessert is the world’s quickest glass of red wine at a downtown bar while waiting for an Uber to take us from the bay area and home.
Meet Me at the Barre. From Tuesday onwards, my friend and I meet at the pilates barre to train the tiniest muscles with minuscule movements for an hour each morning.
River Haze. On one of those mornings, I combine the class with a run along the river while listening to Desert Island Discs with Malcolm Gladwell. He’s got some interesting points, of course – like, how ‘things in the middle’ are so much more interesting than their superlative counterpart because of their massive appeal, or like how more than a thinker or writer he thinks of himself as a storyteller, exploring ideas and wrapping them up, or how his chosen tracks are all quite sad because he thinks that’s so much more of an admirable quality in music than joyfulness – it’s easy to make someone smile with your art; much harder to make them shed a tear; or how he’s not afraid of boring people in his mundane-topiced TED talks or other public presentations, as he finds that as long as an audience senses it’s being taken seriously, that the speaker has prepared his pitch, the subject matter itself can be anything really. I chew on all of this, and on how he describes all memories as reconstructions, as I slowly wake up with such a deep feeling of excitement in my whole body. It’s the first day of my favourite month. For as long as I can remember there’s always been a feeling of pure happiness building up inside of me throughout September – culminating with my birthday at the end of it. With full-time jobs and random holidays, and after moving to the tropics in particular, it’s just another month in a pretty linear time perception. The magical circle of seasonality is still so ingrained in me, however, that the childhood memories of everything coming to life after a long summer daze, the back to school feeling, the thought of the first crispness in the air, my favourite hymns (Septembers himmel er så blå, Nu falmer skoven, Vi pløjed og vi å’de), fill me up and colour my perception of the present. The skies might be bluer in Denmark right now, but on this morning, the morning haze stays just above the water and leaves the rest of the air above me looking pretty fresh.
Emotional Coffee. Walking to work on one of these first September days, my friend and I stop for a cup of Allpress coffee from a small anonymous-looking place on Asia Square conjuring up what the baristas themselves refer to as emotional coffee. How lovely. I wait a second before putting the plastic lid on my takeaway cup; just so I can smell the blend and try to pick out its specific flavours and aromas. I blow on it and take a sip – delightful.
Ah Bong’s Italian. After work on Thursday, I meet a friend by Beach Road to check out Ah Bong’s actual restaurant, which opened a few months back. Before then, the pasta-loving chef behind the funny name (pet-name for his daughter) worked his magic from a small mobile kitchen in a multi-purpose space opposite the Monkey God Temple in my street. Not as hip as that quirky place, this upgrade from the cart is still nice in all its simplicity – with cheerful details such as the mint green walls. The small team present a new menu every day – of hearty, good quality pasta dishes. I have a prawn pesto variety; my friend a pork one; and then we share a bitter salad (nice contrast to the rich flavours of the carby mains) and a poached egg dish. Drink to our health in delicious homemade roasted orange, cardamum and mint sodas. All so simple, delicious, relatively cheap.
Longplay. A drink here after Ah Bong’s – love the interior.
Bincho. A drink (or two) here after Longplay – love the interior, and the fact that this little jewel exists in our little neighbourhood.
Sunny Morning at the Bakery. Friday starts in a sun-kissed spot outside the Tiong Bahru Bakery. Coffee and freshly squeezed orange, carrot and ginger juice. Extra ginger.
My Awesome Cafe. Serves as a cheerful place for an afterwork drink on Friday, where I meet a bunch of new interesting and lovely people through a friend.
Shirokane Tori Tama. Spot-on yakitori with sake in Robertson Quay. We eat parts of chicken that I’ve never tasted before – windpipe, for instance. Everything is tasty, and in nice surroundings – our party has a nice little room to ourselves.
Blair Road. Saturday morning walk. In the sun. Bump into friends on the way to my newest favourite road – twice – adding such a community feel. Chat for a bit. Walk on. Smilingly. A coffee to go from Strangers’ Reunion. Taking in the quaint, idyllic look of every single pastel-coloured facade on Blair Road.
Super Loco. Next stop is the Mexican place by the river in Robertson Quay. Fresh juice, sourdough toast smeared with ripe avocado, runny poached eggs and super hot homemade chili sauce. An açaí bowl to share. With an old – in a Singaporean sense – friend and a friend of a friend from home, who just moved here this morning. My turn to show someone around! Starting with a walk along the river, a tour of Tiong Bahru and –
Skyline Residences. An afternoon by the pool with almost all the people I call my friends here. Danish, Swedish, English, American. Such a lovely little bunch. Such good weather. So much fun. Chatting, laughing, chilling, drinking in the pool, and later in the barbecue area, where we grill tasty meat and greens and bread. Watermelon for dessert. Cheers in chilled rosé and prosecco. Skyline and ocean view. Invigorating.
Sunny Sunday Morning. 40 Hands coffee. Strolling through Chinatown for the week’s last barre session. Sunny Park Read. September issue of Monocle. Coconuts. Travel and Leisure. Dream jobs and killing leisure. FaceTime with favourite girls in California and NYC.
Labrador Park Tropical Rain. Afternoon venture out along the boardwalk soaring above the water along Labrador Park. It starts pouring down as we’re there, stuck in the middle of the sea. The girl who moved here on Saturday and me. Welcome to the tropics! Pretty romantic albeit wet. We’re alone except for a nice uncle who kindly gives us his umbrella.
Plain Vanilla Bakery. Just as it clears up, we reach the end of the boardwalk and manage to hire a cab to take us back to Tiong Bahru, where we stretch our wet legs on the broad wooden bench outside the cute and cosy little cafe opposite 40 Hands and enjoy a cup of its excellent matcha soy latte.
PS, I Like You. Ever since the evening I moved to the neighbourhood (wow, 4 months ago this week!) I’ve loved the idea of having dinner among the wine cabinets in the petit Tiong Bahru branch of PS Cafe. My friend and I do just that on Sunday night. Superfood salad and a glass of Tempranillo and Shiraz to share. Cheerful, slightly sleepy chat. Two minutes from home.