Bugis. Coming out from fun bouncy barre at 7:30pm on Monday, with no plans, I receive a call from Sanoop, who meets me for an adventure. We walk across the beautiful white bridge between Clarke and Boat Quays, pass by City Hall, towards the white arches and travelling banana trees gracing the facade of Raffles Hotel, stop at Papi’s Tacos, where we sit at the bar counter and share a few vegan and fish tacos, a cactus salad, corn-off-the-cob drizzled with a very spicy sauce and a frozen margarita. Ahh… Meander around the area that we like so much – the mix of sleek futuristic, cute Peranakan and regally colonial architecture, and eventually walk back towards Fort Canning Park, through Rob Quay, back across the river, to Tiong Bahru. At home, we down a turmeric tonic and a few episodes of Atypical.
Merlion. Tuesday is a public holiday – Diwali. We head down to the Merlion, and find that this is an excellent time to pay it a visit: there’s no one around at 8am. It’s a beautiful morning to play tourist and sit in the sun in one of the most iconic places in Singapore for a while. Once we’ve had enough, we walk down the river to Dutch Coffee Company for a coffee, then over to Plain Vanilla for more coffee and to do some work from one of the little wooden tables placed outside in the leafy walkway. That night, we watch an episode of Tales of Light on Netflix – very recommendable if you’re into nature and photography…
✨Happy Diwali from Singapore!✨ As the city celebrates the Hindu festival of light, people light lamps inside themselves: 🕯1 melts away anger; 🕯2 melts away greed and makes you feel contented with what you have; 🕯3 melts away insecurities; carry🕯4 to each part of your body and feel healthy as it illuminates each organ; 🕯 5 is a miniature of the ☀️ – light it near the centre of your body and let it fill you with warmth to then ooze out through your smile, eyes and speech … carry the positivity of these 🕯🕯🕯🕯🕯 wherever you go!
Glorious Morning. Wednesday and Thursday mornings, after nights of torrential downpour and lightning, the world is washed clean, the humidity is relatively low, and I wander down to feel the buzz of Tiong Bahru Market, buying loads of flowers and fresh fruits from my go-to stalls, and walk back home to enjoy Sanoop’s homemade chai and listen to Bright Eyes with First Day of My Life on repeat.
Arab Street. Meet a friend for another touristy wander – around Haji Lane and Arab Street. We drink freshly pressed pomegranate juice at Limaa. I buy a white crepe dress at Tangers, justifying the rather insensible purchase (I need woollen clothes!) by pointing out to myself that the designer of the dress is Singaporean and the fabric sustainable by all kinds of parametres. A souvenir. We eat falafels and hummus at a Lebanese cafe, talking about her approaching wedding on a small Indonesian island and my approaching move to England.
Boutique Fair. F1 Pit Building. Lots of talented Singaporean makers, of which my favourites are Our Second Nature and, the ultimate highlight, Esse, owned by my friend Alicia, who is home on a visit from Auckland. Give her a huge hug when I meet her at her stand, congratulate her for this nice feature in The Honeycombers, and purchase three souvenir pieces of her beautiful design: a stunning black ballgown, a pale blue shirt-dress and a pair of brown trousers, all made in beautiful organic materials.
Sydney to New York by Land & Sea. On Friday and Saturday nights, we meet our friends, who have been on the road for exactly a year, going from Sydney to New York by motorbike and boat. Very happy they decided to make a slow loop through Singapore! The first time I met them, in Byron Bay, Sanoop and I had just been spending the night on the cold floor of a service station, stuck in the flooded aftermath of a cyclone … enjoying a moment of unplanned presence. While Amelia and Steve have fortunately been able to steer clear of natural disasters, they do go through some pretty wild, intense, blissful, uncomfortable and memorable adventures on a daily basis… And now we’re celebrating their first anniversary on the road. They’ve got no deadline; they’re digital nomads and so not pressured by any financial or professional concerns; they allow themselves to soak in experiences and reflect on them as well, make plans and update those plans according to new inputs… Very inspiring.
La Dolce Vita à la Lost Guides. On Saturday morning, my travel blogger friend, Anna, throws a casual brunch hen-do at the Mandarin Oriental. Eight sweet girls. Splendid conversations, food, drinks and views of the Marina Bay. She specifically ordered us to NOT book a stripper, and as such, we’ve gone with a more sober alternative – life drawing in Meatsmith, Little India. Perfect – small cosy room, male model, white wine.
CamSnoop Day. Every 11th of the month is our day. While Sanoop spends all morning conjuring up a fresh batch of his special, very spicy, chai, I read my favourite Danish newspaper, Berlingske, in the sofa. We then go out for lunch at Bincho, a cool yakitori / cocktail / sake bar tucked in between a carpark and a traditional Singaporean kopitiam, where we first met, on 11 June 2016. Continue down to Tiann’s for ice cream, chatting with the sweet owners as the rain is drumming forcefully on the glass roof. When it stops, we walk home and watch an episode of Chef’s Table, do some sketching, some reading… And then head north for a late afternoon walk around MacRitchie Reservoir… So romantic and beautiful… Back home, I cook dinner while Sanoop finds a film on Netflix – Notting Hill. It occurs to me that we are moving to London together – glorious, romantic, exciting London. I’m grateful.