Singapore Day 3
The cook/baker and I head into town on the 1830 launch. Our anchorage is closer to shore this time, so the trip takes only 20 minutes. We had planned to take the bus to the nearest MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) station, and then ride the train into the Orchard road area, but when we arrive at the taxi stand there is no line and three cabs waiting. we hop in one and we ask to go to Orchard towers to exchange my stolen phone for one that won't get me arrested and caned.We are making great time;That is, we WERE making good time until our cab driver smacked into another vehicle that was trying to slip into our turn lane. Our cab driver exits the vehicle and attempts to take pictures of the damage with his camera phone. Unfortunatley, not only does our cab driver not know how to drive, he can't operate his camera phone either. He opens my door to ask me for assistance. He finally snaps off a few pictures, and the other driver emerges from his vehicle, camera phone in hand. After a brief exchange, our driver gets back in and attempts to pull away. The other driver stops him by stepping in front of our cab. The driver leans his head out the window and starts cursing the guy out in Malay (I think?). Meanwhile, the other driver who couldn't be much older than I am, is very polite, and states that he "Just wants to write down your particulars", all the while our driver is becoming even more irritated. Finally our driver, has had enough. He rapidly accelerates around the car he struck earlier, almost striking it again. We are FINALLY on our way again. After 3 minutes, the driver asks me to write my name and phone number down, as a witness to the accident. He pulls over and insists I write it now, instead of waiting till we get to orchard towers. As i am writing down the information, I am informed by the cook that the other driver has followed us, and is now parked behind us. Our driver once again exits the vehicle. The other driver taps on my window, and when it is rolled down asks very nicely for my name and number. I go to hand him the piece of paper, and our taxi driver starts yelling that I cannot do that, and starts to physically push the young man away from the window. By now I have had enough of this. I raise my voice and say " Enough! I just want to get to Orchard Tower! I'm giving you AND you each my name and number, and that's the end of it!" Our driver goes to get back in, and yells again for me to not give the other party my info. I quickly pass the paper out the window to the young man.He thanks me, and very sincerely apologizes for our troubles. We take off again, and i write down the same info for our driver. When we finally get to Orchard Tower, i pass the info to the driver, but aperently my hand writing was not neat enough for him( Ever tried to write neatly on a post-it without anything underneath it?), so he has me right it again. He gives us a discount of 5 dollars (We shouldn't have had to pay at all) and we are glad to be done with that experience.
We enter the towers, and make our way past the bars and message parlors to the phone store. I explain that they had called for me to come and return a phone. "Oh yes, it's ok, you keep it."
" We paid the man whose phone was stolen" (apperantly the man did not want to wait 3-4 days for his phone and an agreement was reached in my absence)
"I see, can i get a receipt to verify that this is indeed my phone, so as to avoid problems in the future"
After this is resolved, my friend purchases a new phone here, and then we exit outside to find a money changer for my associate.
We locate what appears to be a taxi stand. We are third in line, but as an empty cab pulls up, everyone just stands there checking their cell phones, or playing hand held games. The cab moves down the street to a new customer. Well, we are not waiting here then, we walk 3 feet down and i flag down a cab that is about to pull up to the taxi stand. As we are getting in, the people next in line at the stand start yelling and pointing fingers (these are the same people who let the last cab go by unoccupied) We pull away quickly, and the cab driver tell us " they should not be mad, I saw them standing there and letting the last cab go, what do they want you to do, wait all night on their account?" We agree, and engage in small talk on our way to Newton food centre for some dinner. It is a Friday night, and Newton is packed with people. There is a row of stalls that i missed the last time i was here, so I eagerly check those out. There is a fruit & juice stand with durian fruit on display, so I snap a picture of the stinky hanging fruit. I see a stand with some massive tiger prawns, and i negotoate the price down from 7 sings per 100Kg, to 6 sings. The one prawn ends up costing me 20 sings ( about 16.50 US $), which is fine since the thing is the almost the size of a small lobster. I also order the "Gong Gong" , which I soon discover is steamed hermit crabs.I find a nearby drink stand, and buy a can of Tiger beer from a 10 year old girl who is taking the orders. The hermit crab arrives first, and looks very interesting. you can see the sharp serrated claw sticking out of the shells. I remove the meat from the shell using sharpened sticks. These things look more like snails than anything else. The curl in the bottom of the shell causes the meat at the bottom to curl into an identical shape. It has a heavy ocean taste. My first impression isn't a great one. I try another one,and this one tastes much better. If you like oysters or clams, you might like hermit crab as well. I actually ended up eating half my order, and would have finished them had I not needed to save room for my second course.My friend is amused by my choice of dinner, but declines when i offer to share. She is not a fan of normal seafood, let alone the unusual things that I enjoy. The giant tiger prawn arrives, cut lengthwise, and cooked with butter and lots of garlic. It is delicious. I wouldn't have minded less garlic though. My co-worker and I chat as I finish my dinner and drink. I pay the man at the booth 32 sings($23.80 US) for the meal. We head towards the exit, and we stop at the fruit & juice booth that we saw on the way in. I order a cup of durian juice. I can smell it as she is handing it to me, and it smells like rotting garbage (not an exaggeration). I take a sip, and my first instinct is to spit it out, i however remain very Un-andrew Zimmern like, and maintain my composure. I take another sip, and i realize I really like the taste of this stuff. It is one of the most bizarre tastes i have ever experienced. It is almost completely indescribable. We exit Newton and hop on the MRT to the marina area, and from there take a bus to the pier. So ends another night, and another report.
The dreaded Durian fruit
The return of the Gong Gong
Good close up
The look of satisfaction?
Another side of Newton
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