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16 Days In Singapore (Part 2 Till The End)

So what did we do in Singapore? Said nobody since it's been nearly two months since we've been back and I haven't had time to write up part 2 of our trip. Anyway, here's a poorly written recap to the best of my recollection:

Dealing with Singapore's new normal

The next morning (Like early start because the Lek household starts early), we were off to get the kind of breakfast we could never get in Sydney.

This kind

Also an immediate reminder of how affordable Singapore food is compared to Sydney. Breakfast was at some random coffeeshop which didn't have the five pax rule so we ended up sitting with random strangers but it didn't matter that much since we were here for the food.

One thing post breakfast I remember quite clearly was that non-surreal feeling that we were back home as we were walking around the crowds at the HDB shops. I expected we would after an extended period of time being away but it honestly felt like we never left.

Christmas Back Home

Christmas Day started with a trip to do our supervised ART at a nearby former school. Definitely efficient as per Singapore's standards but also a little unnecessary. Also, we had to pay $15 for us to do the ART.

Once that was out of the way, it was Christmas lunch at my brother's new place (which is pretty amazing) then to Sarah's grandma's and ending the day at her parents for the usual gift exchange/opening.

Definitely a good call to be home for Christmas because it was the best thing we could have done for ourselves being with family over the festive period. Covid restrictions made things a lot quieter but made the hassle of coming home worth it.

Food & Friends

The next few days started like this with daily ART tests.

Once Christmas celebrations were done, most of our time shifted to spending time with friends. We finally had more than two friends to hang out with so that was an awesome change of pace.

At this point of time, meeting up with friends to eat and drink was still something we would look forward to. By the end of the trip, we would have had enough Singapore food for awhile.

New Year's Eve

New year's eve was when things started to turn for us with Covid restrictions limiting where we could go and most of our many many friends didn't really have any plans. Coupled with the lack of anywhere interesting to go in Singapore, we 'opted' to stay home and watched Encanto instead.

It was a pretty miserable night and was a reminder of how limited Singapore can be: No place to go, no friends to meet, nothing to do.

Meaningful Things

Other than family, friends or food, we spent our time back home meaningfully. Whether it was an overdue haircut for me, running errands, hospital/dental check ups for Sarah, visiting Sarah's grandfather, visiting our neighbour Cecilia, checking out our friend's new places, or just the quieter moments by myself going to cafes that I used to frequent.

Non-Meaningful Things

On the flip side, we also did a lot of non-meaningful things. Like the SRV vouchers that was due to expire forced us to book random touristy activities like the Luge in Sentosa (Ruined by rain and every Singaporean being on Sentosa because they had to use their SRV) and a cable car and random lunch at Good Old Days Restaurant in Sentosa (Slightly better than expected but still unnecessary).

Thoughts on Our Trip

Compressing Singapore in 16 days is not a normal experience. For one, every catch up with family and friends had a food element which meant every meal was outside at a hawker or restaurant which is not normal. Nobody eats out every meal for 16 days straight.

One other major difference was not having our own place and not having a car which sometimes meant staying out for the sake of staying out or having to take a Grab (which was perpetually surging no matter what time of the day it was) or catching long train rides.

The affordability of Singapore was another big change for us. I remember asking the train station uncle how much it would cost to get a ticket to my destination and he said something like $0.80 but if I forget to tap out, it's $2.00. Oh wow, $2.00?

It's not that we weren't grateful to be back but spending time back in the small pond of Singapore quickly got tiring for us. No real interesting places to see. Every meet up was food related. Strict Covid rules with masks outside. Rainy, humid weather. And the routine. It didn't sell us on the idea (yet) that we should and want to come home soon because home is awesome. I know things change but for now, our Singapore trip was more a refuelling pit stop rather than a reminder to come home.

Leaving Home for Home

Leaving Singapore was more difficult than I had expected. We ended the day at Pasir Ris beach (which is absolutely filthy and dangerous with rusted nails) with family and Lexus.

Had dinner at Sarah's and then quite teary farewells to everyone before we made our way to the airport. Called my parents at the airport with super poor connection which was frustrating but that wrapped up our first trip back to Singapore.

The flight back was equally full. I was dreading the flight back after seeing how packed the boarding gate was. I think half of them were students because of new inbound rules which allowed students to come back in. Thankfully the plane was newer (I guess) because it felt more spacious and less cramped to the flight we arrived in.

And as with any flight, there were a couple of super weird people like this guy who was decked out in a matching head-to-toe tracksuit, shoes, and watch.

Guess what his favourite color is?

And these two girls who sat in front of us in FULL PPE for the entire flight. Where do you even get a PPE suit from!?

We touched down in Sydney, did the immigration stuff, boarded an Uber and we were back in our apartment. And since Sydney did away with any PCR and ART requirements, we picked up our new Audi and drove out for dinner at this place called Charcoal Fish at Rose Bay set up by a fish sustainability chef.

Now that sounded a lot more interesting to me than any place we've been to in the last 16 days in Singapore.

We're officially back (and have been for the past two months) and ready for whatever the next chapter in Sydney brings.

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