Here we are again. Beginning of the post, and I don't know where to begin, what to say, what to skip, what not to miss. Spending the last few hours sorting and sifting though my stash of pictures from last week hasn't helped the cause much. I am back in Singapore, reminiscing the many streets, alleys, cafes, restaurants, galleries, shops, riverside, seaside, gardens - phew, all that I walked through. While pictures do tell a story, I have so much to share that I just have to sit you down and talk to you. So, hope you have your cup of coffee/tea/milk/whatever-your-heart-desires in place, and are sitting with feet tucked in, for here, my dear readers, is what I did last week, apart from the Design Week!
When the fabulous team from MSL and The Singapore Tourism Board reached out to me with the invite for The Singapore Design Week, I knew that the trip and the agenda would be incomplete if I didn't experience and bring back the design and the vibe from the streets and neighborhoods of Singapore for you. As I shared my ideas with the team, they put together a comprehensive itinerary that really hit the nail on An Indian Summer's passionate spot. [Erm, it isn't meant to sound like the way it might be sounding. If you get what I mean, hush, move on, don't linger. There, read ahead]. This trip has me wanting for more [Ok, I give up. It's all in Your mind by the way!], and I can't wait to go back and revisit every nook and cranny again.
I absolutely love exploring and feeling the character of a city; the heart behind the steel and glass exterior. The streets that have a past and buildings that have a tale or two to tell. Talking to the locals, the young and the old, finding commonalities and discovering something new. Singapore particularly has such an interesting juxtaposition of glitzy, modern, state-of-art architecture and traditional shop houses, stately old buildings reminiscent of Singapore's colonial past and beautiful old architecture and design influenced by the native country of origin of the early settlers. I fell in love with the louvered windows in China Town! And gasped at the gorgeous colorful facades in the Joo Chiat neighborhood. The art deco style in Tioang Bahru reminded me of parts of Bombay. The vibrancy of Haji Ali Lane took me back to the urban villages turned chic designer hubs in Delhi. The sprawling bungalows at Dempsey Hill had me doing quick mental calculation of how much one of those might cost, and then giving up mid way. [The calculation bit ie. Quick calculation is a misnomer in my case. Nothing is quick where numbers are involved. Time slows down considerably] The pride with which residents maintain their heritage, their residential areas, the public spaces is commendable. It all adds to a city and a country which is very pleasing to the eye and easy on the aesthetes soul.
And then came the food! I wish and wish that I had a larger frame and a larger appetite - Singapore is truly an epicureans delight! And this coming from a non foodie, who craves home cooked meal the moment she steps out of her beloved country, goes to show that I not only noticed food for a change, but also enjoyed a variety of gourmet meals! I have to admit that I was wildly distracted by how prettily the restaurants, cafes were done up; the wine glass was always in my hand to make space for the omnipresent camera on the table. From being served a specially cooked vegetarian Peranakan dinner at True Blue, a home dining establishment, to one of the best soup & salad (& dessert) lunches at The Black Swan, to the delicious nasi goreng at quirky Coastal Settlement, some good ol' Indian food at Earl of Hindh and well, fabulous stone bowls at Open Door Policy, and a bunch of other places. In almost all places, I could have sat for an hour or two easily, soaking in the ambiance and the decor.
Design - check marked. Architecture - check marked. Food - check marked. What about cats? You know that cats and I have a certain affinity and they invariably find a way on this blog of mine. Well they definitely found their way on this trip of mine! To make sure that I have uninterrupted supply of purrs, I spent an hour at the Cat Cafe in Boats Quay. And then, my favorite book shop so far in Singapore - Books Actually, had a cat AND books! What else can a woman ask for? Well many other things, but stay with me for now. Cats and books for us. Yaaay!
Boutique hotels, museums in homes, antique shops, cute little bookstores, indie designers and boutiques, chic cafes, cosy coffee houses, edgy pubs and bars, eclectic shopping, and and louvered windows...sigh! All and more on one island. I had a brilliant time discovering and exploring this facet of Singapore, hidden behind the many malls and high rises. I am already planning a trip back. You should too :)
As I mentioned, my little camera [little, my foot! it's heavy as a rock!] and I went berserk and clicked everything clickable, and more often than not, the not-so-usually-clicked. Check here on Monday, and you will be delighted [please do be delighted!] to see a fresh album with all the above pics independently and many more. More design, more cafes, more quaintness, more art, more craft and, more cats! Remember to visit me on facebook on Monday!
Part Uno of Singapore right here.
[All images: Mine/An Indian Summer. Please credit and link back to this post if you share or use]