I started my day a little later than planned, but that didn’t stop me from getting my morning “copi” fix. I picked up a Nescafe coffee from the hotel vending machine and a bread bun from 7/11 before heading out with the class to Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. Trying to get into the park, we took a detour due to some construction work. Tom explained that parks like this are “greenified” rainwater canals that still direct rainwater while also functioning as green spaces for wildlife and people. After walking a bit, some people from the group spotted an otter. I was a bit further away, but I still saw it from a distance. We followed the paths a bit more and made a quick stop at an “allotment garden.” It was fascinating to see the locals growing their own produce in such a busy city.
As we continued our walk, we came across a unique feature of the park – the energy trees. Tom led us on the paths around the trees, saying something about how we can absorb the energy of the trees by walking in circles (we followed skeptically). It turned into a competition to stay on the paths as long as possible without losing interest, but we jumped off at the same time so there wasn’t a real winner.
Next, we took off our shoes and tried walking on the foot “reflexology” stone path made from many round stones half embedded in the ground. I tried to race a few of my peers, and even tried running over it but it hurt my feet even more. I barely made it a quarter of the way before my feet hurt too much from the shape of the stones, but Misa was able to make it the furthest. I was left with sore feet rather than massaged feet. We stopped for a few minutes and I went to McDonald’s for an iced Milo(cold chocolate drink), just as it started to rain. We also noticed some little lawn mower robots on the grass, mowing away even in the rain.
As we walked towards the bridge by our exit the rain let up and we saw a family of otters swimming down the waterway. It was an adorable sight, and we watched them from a bridge as they ate fish and played with each other.
We took the MRT to Chinatown and walked to a nearby Hawker center (Singaporean food court) for lunch. I enjoyed kaya(coconut sugar spread) toast with soft-boiled eggs and an iced Kopi before visiting the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) center. It was fascinating to explore their galleries and see the intricate scale models of the city. On the model of the full city, I even found the hotel we are staying at!
I’m not forgetting Yuna’s birthday! Tom surprised Yuna with a trip to an ice cream place while in Chinatown, and we sang to her Happy Birthday. By Yuna’s suggestion, we then took transit to the Orchard Mall, a large vertical mall. First we went to the elevators and saw that the mall had 14 floors! We decided to explore and I got lost from the group within minutes. We regrouped and tried to decide on somewhere for dinner.
Finally, we met up at a hotpot restaurant in the mall for Yuna’s B-day dinner. It was my first time trying hotpot, and I thought it was so fun to make my own sauce and cook whatever I wanted. A food train on a track around the restaurant delivered food right to our table when we made orders(beeping at us when it stopped), alongside a buffet-conveyor belt with a constant supply of vegetables and goodies for the broth. We made sure not to leave any food uneaten. As we took the bus back to the hotel, we laughed about the day’s adventures while looking at all the pictures we took.