21 August 2012

Rosy Prata And Everything!

Sunday was the stuff dreams are made of.  We were off on Monday, and we worked Open House all day on Saturday.  So Sunday felt like Saturday and it was wonderful.

I slept in until about 9am. When I woke up, my previous weeklong housemate (she has since moved into her own place, 5 stories down from me) asked if I wanted to join her on a trip to a furniture store. I told her I was looking for a round dining table and would love to join her. Our one-stop shopping trip turned into an all day affair of beautiful colors and excellent food. It was the most relaxing day I have had in a very long time (prior to the other relaxing days I have spent by the pool since arriving in Singapore).  

It all started with the rosy prata.

On our way to the train station, we found another little section near our home of local eateries. We stopped into one shop and had the most delicious roti prata on the planet. However, I didn't know it was called roti prata until much later in the day. I kept thinking everyone was saying rosy prata. (It sounds much more romantic to call it rosy prata, so I continue to do so.) 

Roti prata is a very thin crepe-like bread served with a spicy curry dipping sauce. It wasn't much, but man it packed a punch! And it only cost us 80 cents. Needless to say, we went back for more the next day. 

When we got to the train station and got on the train, it looked like this: packed. A nice young gentleman got up and offered me his seat. (I'm pretending it's not because I looked old--there was a sign above his seat saying that it was reserved for the elderly.) The trains are packed on Sundays because most everyone is off of work. This happens every Sunday, regardless of whether there is a holiday or not. Vanessa and I sat down and made ourselves comfortable, and rode the train to the very last stop: VivoCity.

Because everything is connected to a mall, there is no way of getting around walking through them. I wish you knew how impressive it actually is that I am going to malls: if only you knew how much I hate to go shopping. Yet I have moved to the shopping capital of the world. I digress. So, we perused the windows on our way to the outside.  

We came upon these glowing globes at The National Geographic Store. They lured us in. And we proceeded to take several pictures of them before realizing that A) we weren't supposed to touch them, and B) we weren't supposed to take pictures of them. So much for reading signage. This store had the most fascinating things in it, like the most beautiful hanging Mediterranean lamps. Little did I know that we would soon be seeing more of these types of lamps--for sale in local shops--later on.

Once we got outside, I noticed a very Disneyland-like island just across the way: Sentosa. There were tug boats, a roller coaster, gondolas going from here to there and back again. A giant cruise ship was parked outside the mall and a small choo choo train was driving back and forth in front of us. I just stared blankly at this craziness for a good while before Vanessa knocked me out of my trance by asking me if I wanted a beer.  

We moseyed over to a German restaurant and sat outside. We also ended up ordering the most interesting snack, at Vanessa's request: breaded brie with a cranberry yogurt sauce. The picture does this desert well, as the pieces were way smaller than they look in this image. What I expected to be a very heavy, dessert-type snack was not that at all.  It was actually quite light and super flavorful.

After we finished our quick bite to eat, we hopped in a cab and went to Taylor B. It was a giant warehouse filled with gorgeous things. It reminded me of Revival, where I worked at the beginning of 2010. We spent a good 3 hours there, easy. And, I took a ton of pictures--more than I could possibly fit in this blog post. And, sadly they don't have a website.  So I am at a loss as to how to show you more. You'll have to trust me, it was definitely worth the visit. They had chandeliers, bell jars, mirrors, lanterns, beautiful bedroom sets, pillows, couches, chairs, dining tables, bookcases made out of old boats, candles, etc. I absolutely fell in love with an embroidered trunk coffee table. It was 4 feet x 5 feet and beautiful!

After Taylor B., we got into another cab and went to Little India. Finally! It was exactly as I hoped it would be . . . The food was amazing, the colors were stunning, and the people were incredibly friendly.

We stopped in at a carpet shop where Mohammed told us that he and his brother Ebraham (yes, with an E) own most of the carpet stores up and down the street. He told us how each one of the carpets were made and that--of course--he could get me any color combination I wanted. His family was from Iran (pronounced E-ran), where most of his carpet collection also comes from. He was a fascinating man. Once I figure out the colors I want in my apartment, I am going to go back to him and pick up a few things. His prices were very reasonable.  

We also passed a basket store. All shapes and sizes. We didn't spend a long time there, because we were on our way to a side street, just off Arab Street. (More food.)

I can't even begin to describe how delightful this area is . . . It's a mix of shops and eateries; and a beautiful mosque is placed right at the end of the street, perfectly framed by palm trees. We stopped at the Derwish restaurant. We got there around 230pm and didn't leave until 6-ish, if that tells you anything. We started with a plate of humus, moved to baba ganoush, then a light salad--all coupled with a giant iced latte. While it wasn't necessarily a lot of food, it was extremely tasty and very filling.

We finished our visit at Derwish with a shisha. This was an adventure that I highly recommend. I felt like I was doing something illegal, but I totally wasn't. I was basically smoking fruit-flavored air. It was super mild. We chose a Kiwi flavor because Vanessa is from New Zealand (she's a Kiwi).  

The shisha was our most expensive part of the day:  $26. They brought out the pipe, lit it with some hot coals, and gave each of us a nib. My nib was green, Vanessa''s was purple. You switch out the nibs each time you take a drag. We chose our flavor from a long list of possibilities including peach, strawberry, kiwi, grape, etc. While there are plenty of hookah bars in the US, somehow this felt more legit.

At 630pm, we met up with Deanna, John, and Cheryl near Gelang Sarai for the Hari Raya celebration. Hari Raya follows the end of Ramadan, a one-month fasting period for the Muslim community. After the month-long ritual, the Muslim community in Singapore gets together to celebrate with a colorful feast. Lights and decorations are put up along the streets and a bazaar is set up, selling a wonderful array of carpets, clothing, household items, and local special Malay delicacies. Unbeknownst to us, this giant celebration had happened the night before and everyone was celebrating with their families on the night we were there. But, the lights were still up and they were beautiful.  

So we ended up back at Derwish for dinner before heading home around 10pm . . . A great day indeed!

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