The first week of class was packed with surprisingly early mornings of commuting. Since the summer program is only five weeks in length I opted for off-campus housing to have more time to explore the city. Rather unexpectedly, I spent most of the first week on campus working on a group presentation for the following class. I confess, sitting in a library is not the most exciting way to start of a new city. (Such is student life though; all is arranged around due dates. Don’t judge!) When I called home and was asked what Singapore is like, I could only say “very hot with a campus that has lot’s of slopes and some good food”.
There are advantages for studying a lot first week – now one of my two courses only has an exam left to worry about. There is another less obvious implication of studying for long periods, hunger. When working hard, one surely deserves good food, right? Singapore is known for having a diverse and rich cuisine, with excellent food at all price points. Befriending some locals helped direct me to the non-tourist hotspots. Surprisingly, a lot of good cheap food is found – you guessed it – in the Red Light District! The words “Red Light District” put-off many, but it is quite an interesting place juxtaposed with a mosaic of Buddhist temples, mosques and churches. It’s quite a safe space. That said, I chose not to wander there after nightfall, but always came with a group or at the least another friend. Some of my favorites include a small 24 hour dim sum place that serves just few items, all of which are excellent, a more than 60 year old Durian store, a corner roti store, and a “No-Signboard Seafood Restaurant”.
The day the group presentation and paper was handed in, I ventured off to Sentosa Island a popular Island Resort for some lazy time at the beach. The island also hosts the popular Universal Studios, but to relax a sunbeds with beach bars beats theme parks every time! One can watch the freight ships enter the port, and take a stroll in the warm sub-tropical beach water to close off a busy week. Next post will be a tittle-tattle on my field trip to Indonesia to study food commodities. The travelling dates falls during Ramadan and the heated presidential election so I’m bound for some cultural exchanges.