Monday

Fletch and I woke up in that heavenly cushy cloud of a bed and both had the same idea: Toast Box. The day before, whilst walking around, we had noticed a little chain of restaurants called Toast Box, one of which was right outside our hotel. It sounded like a breakfast place, it had a cute name, and it had to have good food by default being in Singapore. So we got dressed and started walking out various exits from the hotel, trying to remember exactly where we had seen it. When we finally found it we walked in and looked at the menu to find a wide selection of toast and nothing but toast. Toast with butter, toast with jam, toast with butter and sugar, toast with butter and sugar and cinnamon, toast with peanut butter, but nothing besides toast. We looked at each other for a moment.
     "Do you still want to eat here?"
     "No."
     "Ok good."
So we left in search of a place with something a little more substantial. Like eggs. What breakfast place doesn't serve eggs? As it turned out, a lot of places.

We walked around the food court in the basement of the Bugis mall looking for something breakfasty, preferably eggs. We found plenty of pastry shops, one of which had some little sponge cakey looking buns filled with cream cheese that we couldn't pass up. Then we found another pastry shop with little miniature, muffin-sized pot pies, so we picked up one veggie and one 'otoh' which was some sort of curried fish filling. Neither of these places had seating so we figured maybe if we found a coffee shop we could order drinks and sit and eat our pastries. We found a little shop called Ya Kun Kaya Toast, and to our great delight they had soft boiled eggs. Finally some eggs; I need my protein in the morning. Two orders of those, a couple of signature coffees, and an order of "kaya buns" and we finally sat down at a little rickety wooden table with a nice assortment of food. The cream cheese buns were warm and spongey, the fish and veggie pastures tasted like pot pies, the soft boiled eggs were highly satisfying despite their slimy texture, and the coffee and kaya buns both were about 90% sugar. All in all, a very satisfying breakfast.

Our check out time was noon so we headed back to the hotel to take care of that, and then continued on the previous day's journey to find Maxwell's Hawker Center. As we walked through the mall to get to the MRT station down below, we passed by a drug store called Watson's, which is just like a Walgreens, and you'll never guess what I found there. A YOGA MAT! Not only did I find a yoga mat but it was only $16 Singaporean dollars, which is about $13 US. Do you know how much a new yoga mat costs on Koh Tao? 3000 baht! ($94 US). And that's only for a little paper thin one. The nicer thicker ones are 4000 ($125 US), and yes, I searched the entire island for a yoga mat. You can buy a gnarly used one for 300 baht ($10 US) at one of the yoga studios but they are really nasty and not something you'd want to touch with anything except your feet. So I finally have a yoga mat!

We jumped on the blue line back to Chinatown station, continued on past Food Street, and several blocks later found the rundown center that was Maxwell's, housing hundreds of hawker stands. We stood there for a few moments, overwhelmed, realizing with dismay that we were still full from breakfast and needed something to do to build up our appetites before eating again. There had been a flea market no the opposite side of the road, somewhere between Maxwell's and Food Street so we headed back that way, thinking we'd just walk around and window shop, maybe find Fletch a lanyard which he had been looking for.

On our way to the flea market, I happened to glance up at the second story of the building we were walking past and saw the word scuba. When you are a diver, you can see that word from a mile away. So we went around to the back of the building, found the staircase and visited the dive shop. The guys running the place were very friendly and told us all about the weekend Malaysia trips that they would run, then tried to sell us some pointer sticks which we politely told them we wouldn't be able to carry onto the airplane with us.

The flea market turned out to be exhausting and overwhelming. Endless stores selling all sorts of trinkets and clothing and anything you could imagine. We didn't find a lanyard, but then again we didn't look very hard. It didn't take much walking around for us to decide it was time to head back to Maxwell's. As we left the flea market complex, I noticed a shop across the street that said "Shark Fin Trading Co." I immediately got sick to my stomach and had to fight back tears. In the dive community, it is common knowledge that shark finning is a horrible practice that is driving many species of sharks to extinction. Shark fin soup is a delicacy in countries like China and Hong Kong, so sharks are fished out of the ocean, their fins hacked off, and then the rest of the shark is just dumped back into the ocean to die. Like I said, it is very well known in the dive community that such practices are harming the ocean's ecosystem, and coming from a country like the US where we don't really care all that much about shark fins one way or the other, It's like knowing that there's starving kids in Africa. We know it, but we don't see it so it doesn't affect us. Walking down the street and seeing in broad daylight, a place that openly said "Shark Fin Trading Co." was not something I ever banked on seeing. Fletch said we should head over and knock things over. I had to walk away as fast as I could.

So we made our way for the second time that day over to Maxwell's. We stood in the doorway once again completely overwhelmed. Four long lanes to walk down, each lined with about 25 stalls on either side. We found one lone empty table that no one else wanted thanks to the fact that it was outside in the direct sunlight, and sat down to settle in. Fletch decided to check on our flight status and I went for a stroll around the center to see what we were in for. I walked up and down each of the four rows, not even knowing where to begin before finally stopping at a juice stand and ordering a carrot and starfruit juice, then walked back to Fletch with nothing but a juice in my hand and told him we should take turns sitting with our bags at the table while the other one walked around. I told him to go check out dish number six at stall number eight which had looked yummy, some sort of noodle soup with mushrooms and fish balls. I wasn't too keen on the vermicelli noodles it came with but the rest sounded too good to pass up. He came back several minutes later with another juice (soursop and raspberry) and the noodle soup, only he must have read my mind because the noodles weren't the standard vermicelli, but something much nicer. The mushrooms in that soup were divine, all meaty and practically tasted like candy. I wanted to go back and just ask for a bowl of broth and shrooms.

My turn to go explore again and this time down the second isle. I walked up and down, passing up the place advertising turtle soup, and finally settled on a Japanese bento box from Benri Bento. Fletch and I both love unagi so that part was easy. I brought the bento box back to our table and we enjoyed a nice meal of eel. After that we were already nearing being full again so I decided that the last thing we ordered should be some banana fritters from a stall I had seen across from Benri Bento. Fletch said we should also get two more juices so I also grabbed a mango kiwi juice and an avocado milkshake. I used to love avocado milkshakes when I was traveling through Vietnam and hadn't had one since.

By that point it was time to head to the airport, so we searched the entire subway station for a garbage can to throw away our juices (there's a very hefty fine for having food or drinks or durian on the subways) but could not find a trash bin anywhere. We approached a security guard to ask where we might throw the juice away but he just rudely informed us that we weren't supposed to have food or drinks on the subway. Thank you, that is why we were looking for a rubbish bin in the first place. We finally ended up going back above ground and reentering the subway. Then we took the blue line back to Bugis, and transferred over to the green line that would take us all the way back to the airport.

We had planned on getting to the airport fairly early because it is consistently rated the best airport to have a layover in. There is so much cool stuff to do there! They have a butterfly garden, a sunflower garden, a giant ass slide, two movie theaters, and a swimming pool. As soon as we found out there was a swimming pool we made a beeline for it and had a couple singapore slings whilst suntanning and chilling in the crystal clear water. Before we knew it, it was already time to find our gate, but on the way we found leg massaging chairs that you could sit in for as long as you liked for free.

The flight back to Thailand was fairly uneventful, they fed us our vegetarian meals and we watched a tv episode on Fletch's computer. It was late by the time we landed on Koh Samui and the soonest we would be able to take a ferry back to Koh Tao was the next day, so we found a hotel directly next door to the ferry station and spent the night in a little bungalow with a mini fridge that smelled like a rat had died in it.

Oh and as for the hoser eel, in Singapore, the fire hose is marked HOSEREEL, all one word. I looked at it completely perplexed the first time I saw it and finally, unable to decipher what in the world it meant, said out loud, "What is a hoser eel?" Of course the second I said it I realized it really said.

Check back for pictures, I don't currently have a strong enough internet connection to upload anything. (Or post this for that matter.)