Well, after my late night border crossing ordeal, I spent a glorious morning relaxing, playing my friends’ beautiful Kawai piano and generally just coming round slowly. Then I headed out to visit a temple people had mentioned I should see, via the nearest coffee shop I could find to it for a posh coffee and late lunch back in a more Westernised environment. The coffee and lunch did not disappoint.
This cake was called “speculoos” cake. Intrigued, and wondering whether this was made with some particular local fruit, I asked about it and the young lady serving me explained, saying, “you know lotus? Speculoos is made with a kind of lotus”. I was very intrigued about this, especially once I tasted it, and it tasted anything but…flowery! When I googled it, speculoos is a kind of spread made with similar spices that they use in those little lotus biscuits you get with your coffee. (Made by the Belgian Lotus Bakeries company est 1932.) Did you know that? I’d never heard of it. That company’s really into something with just one main product that is found in so many places. The cake was delicious.
After refuelling, I looked at the location of the temple I was hoping to visit, and realised it was actually quite a long walk away, and would involve another long walk back to the nearest tube stop. I decided to quit while I was ahead, and just enjoy the walk back to the tube and getting back to base.
On my walks that day, I was so grateful for pavements that existed and were even and for zebra crossings, with traffic lights that people obeyed.
A storm drain – you see these everywhere in Singapore, like the levees in California, giving you an idea of just how much rain comes when it comes. Shiv tells me apparently that there is a clever system of redirecting the rainwater via these drains, so that it is taken to a plant where it is cleaned and then used as drinking water.
I was also reminded of something I noticed when I first came here. In Singapore, it seems, everyone has been thought of. In the Singaporean social housing flats, there always seem to be these outdoor gym areas, planned and paid for by the residents’ association and the local council. Sometimes there are special ones for the elderly as well. I had wondered how people keep fit in Singapore, as it’s so difficult to be outside most of the time with the humidity. Here’s part of the answer, perhaps?