We touched down in Singapore after a grueling 17 hour journey (not including the two flights beforehand) on a full flight, cramped in a small, US economy seat the entire way. (I find it odd that given the average size of our population, we still offer the least amount of space on our airlines). I had spent the past two hours watching Crazy Rich Asians, a movie that had gotten good reviews, but neither Fletch nor I had shown any interest in seeing in the theaters. Now that we were Singapore bound for a 48 hour layover, it seemed appropriate. I still didn’t get it. The entire lack of plot was predictable from the first ten minutes, and the entire movie just seemed to be a show of, how would you spend a ridiculous amount of wealth if you had it? Not that I wouldn’t love to win the lottery, who wouldn’t, but I prefer my fantasy stories to revolve around unicorns and mermaids rather than snobby, shallow attitudes. Bing-watching Sharp Objects had been a much more enthralling way to pass some hours.

From the moment we touched down in Singapore, I was blown away by how green everything was. It was my third time visiting, and I had still forgotten how alive and natural everything felt, especially for being a big city. Or maybe it had just become that much greener since our last visit. The "Garden City" has only been independent since 1965, and at that point in time, was as crowded and polluted as the rest of other major Asian cities. Ever since their independence though, they have been on a mission to make the city green, and an enjoyable place to live despite the population density. The Marina Bay area even has a 100% greenery replacement policy. The 5 years since our previous visit had apparently given a lot of new greenery time to grow. Now the city is a thriving metropolis in the tropics, where you are never really quite sure if you are looking at a park up in the sky, or a building. Many places I have been to have taught me that you have to choose between a modern city lifestyle and living close to nature, especially the tropical kind. Singapore seems to be the exception to that rule, and arriving in the city in 2019 was like walking into one of those futuristic city scenes in the movies, where everything is sparkling, and alive with color, because there is no pollution.

Many buildings in Singapore have balconies like these, covered in impressive, landscaped gardens. 

I thought this shot of a bright green bus driving down the busy city street, behind a  palm tree and bird-of-paradise-lined walkway, might illustrate the extent to which nature and city mesh together in Singapore. 

Our flight landed at 8:00 in the morning, quite an inconvenient time when you haven’t slept for days and really just want to crash on the closest horizontal surface. We managed to find the bus over to our hotel; it was too early to check in of course, so we ditched our bags in the lobby and left in search of the next best thing to sleep: caffeine. A lot of good it did us. Our room was ready before the designated check-in time, and after being handed the card key, we talked about having a lazy day by the pool and catching some sun before bursting into flames on the beach for the next two weeks. Even finding the pool proved to be too ambitious for us though. We made the mistake of taking advantage of the welcoming bed and stretching out horizontally for the first time in too many hours to count, and didn’t regain consciousness until about 3 AM the following morning.

Luckily in Singapore, there is something to do at almost any hour of the day, as long as that something isn’t find eggs. Why hadn’t we learned from our previous escapades that eggs simply are not to be found in Singapore? I mean we had found them before, but not easily. A country full of the best of what every cuisine from all across Asia has to offer, and we always get hung up on eggs. I don’t know what it is, something about traveling in a tin can for days and eating indiscernible, tin-can food, and before you begin your adventures in a new place (culinary or otherwise) you just want a familiar, feel-good meal. For me, eggs for breakfast is that power meal that resets the travel ick and allows the adventures to commence.

I did find a list of 20 or so breakfast places in Singapore. That may not seem like many for such a large city known for its culinary scene, but I have found in my travels that no one does breakfast like America. Breakfast in other places is usually a much more simple affair, often not even restaurant-worthy. Out of those 20 restaurants, 4 opened at or before 8 AM. I chose one for its location, and despite the opening time still being several hours away, we set off in the dark, early hours of the morning to find the bus stop.

Singapore has double-decker busses, much like Britain, and Fletch and I ran to the top to snag the front row seats as soon as our bus pulled up. Besides being the funnest seats in the house, we discovered that they also offered the best vantage point from which to see the names of the bus stops, which were printed in small, nondescript letters, and impossible to discern amongst the other bus information. We had discovered the previous day that the Singapore bus system was most certainly not created equally to the MRT. The MRT is a modern subway system, simple enough for even our cat to figure out. The busses in Singapore are still stuck in the medieval times of no announcements or indication of where you are at, so that it turns into a game of trying to spy the right letters as quickly as possible as you speed past. We managed to make it work, but I wouldn’t stay at a hotel that was only serviced by a bus stop again. The MRT reigns superior.

We found a Starbucks to kill some time at before our restaurant opened, and then walked across the street to Ronin, a dimly lit, industrial-style cafe. Their menu was short, and turned out to be more of a cafe than a restaurant. Fletch ordered eggs on toast (the only egg option on the menu) and I went for a mushroom sandwich after all the hassle to find eggs. We also tried two of the signature coffee drinks, a concoction called The Wicked that was basically a mocha with some peppermint, and tasted like hot, mint chocolate ice cream. I was a fan. What Fletch received for breakfast became the brunt of many jokes. He had added on half an avocado and mushrooms to his eggs on toast, and that’s exactly what arrived at the table. A plate of those exact ingredients, no preparation, no additional sauces or anything to tie it all together as a meal, just toast, two poached eggs, half an avocado, and two portobello mushrooms. They were all fresh and lovely ingredients of course, but hardly a meal worth trekking an hour across town for, and definitely not a meal that lived up to Singapore’s culinary reputation. Maybe next time we visit, we will have learned our lesson when it comes to egg breakfast in Singapore.

Eggs on Toast

We made our way over to the Botanical Gardens, a wonderful early-morning activity that had been open since 5 AM. The grounds were massive; it was a one-kilometer walk just from the entrance to the orchid garden. Many people were out that morning, but then again, it was a Sunday. Lots of beautifully-groomed dogs ran around, happily chasing balls and sticks. It was nice to be in an area where people cared about pets. In Fiji, the concept of pets didn’t really apply. Some people had dogs they would feed scraps to, but those dogs were never allowed inside, and roamed around with the other village dogs almost like a feral pack. In Japan, no one had the time or space for pets. Seeing well-taken-care-of pets in a place outside of America was a happy sight.

The lawns between gardens were peppered with yoga classes, meditation groups, and clusters of people doing other aerobic exercises. There were also many runners out for their morning runs. Now granted, I don’t see the early hours of the morning very often, so there may have been runners every place we’ve been and I just never noticed (although there’s a few places where I think that is highly unlikely. *Cough* Palau *Cough*). I really was surprised by just how many people were running around the city all morning though. After living back in the land of everyone driving everywhere and having everything delivered to their doorsteps, it was nice to see so many people actively enjoying the gardens.

Somewhere around the Rainforest Walk, I ruined my first pair of white shorts. (Did you catch the foreshadowing?) Let's just say that a tropical rainforest flower left pollen dust all over them. So we walked the kilometer back to the gate, and then made the hour journey via two MRTs and a bus back to the room. Being the intelligent woman that I am, I changed into my second pair of white shorts. Hey, they matched my top. Then we bussed the hour back downtown for our second adventure of the day, to find the aquarium.

To be continued…