Punggol Waterway & Coney Island | 07-130817

National Day! Wednesday marks Singapore’s 52nd year as an independent state. Military parades on ground and in air, multi-cultural song-and-dance performances, fireworks, 300 drones light show aimed at inspiring people to imagine which opportunities the future will bring…  fascinating! I spend the day at the beach with a friend (S is in KL for work). We start out with a long walk and a barre class followed by brunch at Punch, and then head out to Tanjong Beach to just lounge in the sand all day, reading, chatting, gazing up into the palm tree canopies and skies (and an occasional military helicopter with a giant Singapore flag hanging from it flying past), drinking fresh coconut water and chatting to 10 or so cute dogs strolling along with bandanas around their necks reading ‘Adopt Me,’ their leashes held by smiling local teenagers volunteering at a shelter housing 500 dogs. They’re here to give the dogs a day of chilling on the beach – and create awareness about the shelter. Lots of cuddles and pieces of information about each of their well-behaved furry friends later, I promise the teenagers and myself that I’ll stop by now and then on weekends to feet or walk the dogs. We were planning to go see the fireworks after sunset, but it’s just so nice on the beach… going for a dip in the (admittedly, fully unclear) ocean, getting more coconut water from the vibrant beach club, exchanging smiles and nods with our joyful and relaxed co-beachgoers, watching the big yellow sun sink down beyond the palm trees and tankers.

Bakalaki. On Thursday night, S touching down from KL at 6pm, we meet a couple of friends for dinner at the new Greek tavern in Tiong Bahru. It’s such a great new spot – from the delicious fresh food and decent wine to the beautiful interior design and wonderful service; really a nice ambiance for dinners or just hanging out; just what we needed in the neighbourhood. Thus, on Saturday afternoon, I’m back for a glass of wine and some delicious marinated olives, this time with a friend and her friend, who also lives in TB, a sweet Dutch girl who grew up in Singapore – the first European person I’ve met who’s lived here for most of her life. After my friend has left for a dinner, she and I order a second glass of wine and keep on chatting and laughing for a long while – so nice!

HPS Lamp. From a small new age shop in vibrant Kandahar Street in Kampong Glam, we purchase a big chunk of pink salt with a light bulb inside it for our bedroom. Whether it really does cleanse the air, increase energy levels, neutralise electromagnetic radiation and improve sleep, mood and concentration as the sweet lady in the alluring shop and several sources on the internet suggest or not quite, it’s still just a beautiful source of light, especially in a spacious white room that’s devoid of any other decoration.

Jai Thai. Friday night’s meal is the best Thai food I’ve ever had.

Punggol Waterway Park. Early Saturday morning, we take an uber to the east coast of the country, out by the airport. The thrill of ‘discovering’ a ‘new’ beautiful nature reserve – and so big! The rainforest stretches for several kilometers along the water, a beautiful wooden boardwalk running the whole length of it between the neat and narrow white beach and the lush greenery. We walk amongst runners and bicyclists – lively yet not nearly as crowded as MacRitchie or the Southern Ridges. On the way, just as we can make out Pulau Ubin in the water between us and Malaysia, we also spot Coney Island. When our driver mentioned it in the car, he quickly managed to disperse any connotations of bearded ladies and ferris wheels that might be popping up in our minds by explaining that it’s a tiny desert island with nothing but a lonely cow on it. Actually, the cow might have died, he thought. He was right – we cross the bridge to the island and enter a variety of habitats – forest, meadows, mangroves, a wide variety of fauna and flora, some of which are endangered and therefore being nurtured carefully in this little oasis. We can help but smile as we venture along the winding paths leading us through the vegetation and along the beach. What a spot! For exercise, relaxation, rejuvenation, solitude or lovely mornings with your sidekick. We’ll be back, I think to myself, as we cross another bridge, leading us back to the waterway park and some beautiful winding bridges, some of which are painted a bright red and one of which is called the Sunrise Bridge and currently occupied by a few yogis doing sun salutations. Ahhh…

Ninja Cut. We are suckers for onsen eggs, fermented cabbage and yuzu-marinated smooth chunks of salmon served in beautiful ceramic bowls in venues with concrete floors, newish issues of Kinfolk and Monocle on copper hangers, dried eucalyptus in vases, neon-lit artsy statements on the walls and decent artisan coffee. Pop in here for a late breakfast after our long morning walk – incidentally in the same street as where S was staying when we first met (he was a nomad at that time, hopping from Airbnb to Airbnb with all of his material possessions fitting into one single duffle bag).

Looksee Looksee. This weekend, the weather almost feels a bit cool. Walking briskly through the nature reserve makes us sweat as usual, but as we stand still on a street corner in Bugis after the lunch at Ninja Cut, S notices my lips turn purple as a gush of wind hits us under a blanket of very dark grey clouds. This might be the first time I’ve ever felt cold in Singapore. The answer is a cup of fragrant white tea in The Lo and Behold Group‘s beautifully designed sanctuary of a reading room and tea salon fitted into a charming little shophouse on Beach Road – followed by another cup of mixed oolong and earl grey tea at next door Scene Shang, the most elegant homeware shop I’ve seen in a while, where we are offered the warming treat as we browse around among beautiful pieces displayed on the indigo blue walls and shiny floor.

Barre. Daily classes, learning so much, loving the strength, control and grace, feeling grateful that those months of being out of the game weren’t alienating. My body and mind remember essential details. The teachers are all so sweet and considerate, modifying exercises to accommodate my knee. I listen to all of their small pieces of advice and corrections. Imagine that there’s a string attached to the top of your scalp, pulling you up – keep this nice posture throughout the day and week. On Sunday morning, with a cup of S’s homemade masala clasped in my hand, I walk through the calm and deserted city towards the studio and notice how the range of motion in my leg has improved so much this week, the tightness around it completely disappeared. Maybe thanks to barre, or leg presses at the gym, or just time – whichever, it’s nice.

Sunday. With a Danish friend in town on business, we meet for brunch at PS Cafe at Harding Road, followed by a drizzly walk in the Botanic Gardens, followed by an afternoon of chilling, followed by a dinner of scrumpy masala dosa in Little India, followed by an hour’s foot massage at Rule of Thumb. 🙂

This Week’s Specials:

  • This cute animated short film made me smile.
  • In celebration of Singapore’s birthday, here are some of the small special traits of its people.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s