Monday, January 31, 2011

Hawker Centers, A-R-A-B Street, and Holland Village

23.  Most of the population here lives in public housing.  There are so many people here and such little space so they live in flats that are very tall.  They are EVERYWHERE.
24.  Singaporeans don’t walk a lot.  Anything more than a 5 minute walk they say, “too far”.  We’ve been told to take a bus when the walk only took 10 minutes.
Being here in Singapore has been very similar to being a freshman again.  I’m constantly getting to know new people, getting acclimated to new places, exploring, living in a dorm again, and sometimes I experience being homesick.  I usually cure being homesick with shopping at one of the 200+ malls in Singapore :)  I haven’t got into any sort of routine yet and I’ve been exploring different parts of the city every night.
On Friday night, my friends and I went to a well-known hawker center, Lau Pa Sat.  A hawker center is basically just a food court and they have them all over the place.  The one we went to was huge and had live music.  It had a really nice atmosphere.  It’s all very cheap and most of it is really good.  They all have cleanliness letter grades that they have to display (A, B, and C).  A’s and B’s are safe, but you have to watch out for the C’s, especially since they usually try to hide the fact that they have a bad grade.  We sat outside by the ‘Satay Club’, which is a street they shut down at night then street vendors set up and satay everything kind of meat.  The food here is amazing.
I got a coconut and a plate of satay that I split with two other girls for my meal!  I also got this interesting dessert called ice kachang.  It’s very popular in Singapore.  It used to consist of shaved ice and red beans, but it’s evolved to have a variety of flavors.  It is a mound of shaved ice with some kind of syrup, condensed milk, and whatever toppings you want (fruit, beans, jelly… really anything).  I got a fruit one to be safe.
The entrance to the hawker center.
TONS of satay.
My meal.  That white, round thing is a block of rice.  Weird, I know.
My drink. I love coconuts.
Inside the hawker center.
It was so smoky from all the grilling!
The remains.
Someone else’s ice kachang
Me and my ice kachang.
Also at the hawker center were these hilarious signs promoting good english!
After dinner at the hawker center we decided to go check out Arab Street.  One of the American boys I was with tried to ask for directions from some locals.  He talks pretty loud.  I don’t think they could understand him when he was asking so he said (more like very loudly said), “ARAB STREET.  A-R-A-B.”  Typical American.  All of us watching thought it was hilarious.  It might of been a “you had to be there” moment, but it was so funny.
A bunch of little cafe’s near Arab Street.
The next day, my friends (Emma and Kira) and I went to Holland Village.  I thought it was called Holland Village because it had some kind of Dutch influence, but after being there I don’t think that’s the case.  On the way there, we ran into more dragon dancing for the celebration of Chinese New Year.  Everything here is decorated red and gold for it.
Some Chinese New Year decorations.
More dragon dancing at the MRT station.
In the mall they had at Holland Village, most of the shops had handmade clothing.  Everything was pretty expensive, but it was really cool!  They had a shop there that had handmade rugs, table mats, wall hangings, pillow cases, quilts, etc.  I plan on getting some cool stuff and decorating my room with them!  They are so beautiful.
We ate lunch in Holland Village and I got something called prata.  It is Indian cuisine and similar to a pancake.  They have both sweet and savory.  I got a cheese one, but they also have ones with meat or sweet stuff.  It’s generally eaten with curry sauce.
The only thing Dutch about Holland Village.

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