Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A happy May Day filled with random surprises

View of the city from the Istana, Singapore

It's May Day in Singapore, and amidst the background hum of union speeches and political announcements, D and I had a fabulous day off.

We caught up with friends over brunch - we all met up at the Botanical Gardens, but that was completely frantic, and ended up in the end at the reliable Beviamo at Tanglin Mall. Family friendly (L & G, recent parents to the gorgeous Baby I, revelled in the fact that they have a dedicated baby changing room there), quiet and best food, what a way to start the day. Oh, and the fact that it's so inspiring to see my friends bringing their kids out to brunches, and making the transition to parenthood. You go people!

Proud dad L holding Baby I, scarcely a month-old and a real cutie, posing for the paparrazi aunties

After a stroll down to Orchard (honestly, I go to Orchard like maybe once in two or three months and it's so crowded, can die!), S and I settle down to a comfort-food afternoon tea of assorted fried things from the ngoh hiang stall. Meantime, in a reversal of roles, D spends 45 mins on his own shopping. He needed a new pair of running shoes as he's starting to train for the year-end Standard Chartered Marathon! After doing the half marathon two year's running, he's signing up for the full marathon this year. I'm excited 'cos it means we'll book a room at the Swissotel Stamford the night before and I get to have a bubble bath while poor D is running his 42km in tropical heat. Oh but this year, I'll be support crew which means popping up at well-timed slots to hand him his carbo gels and drink. Well, will get the bubble bath done somehow!

I re-create my Sound of Music moment, and channel Sister Maria in the Swiss Alps

As D and I are making our way back home through the crowds, we suddenly see that the Istana (that's where the President of Singapore resides during his term in office) and because it's May Day, the grounds are open to the public. D and I decide on the spur of the moment to go in.

I've lived in Singpore all my life (ok minus 5+ years in NZ), and I've never been to the Istana. It reminded me of a conversation I had with this lovely Austrian couple we met on our recent Halong Bay cruise. They live in Vienna and have hardly done any of the touristic sites that lure people from all over the world. We agreed that's what happens when you live in a city - you tend to only see the sights when you have friends visiting or on special occasions.
D journeys on, his new running shoes in hand

Anyway, so D & I walk the surprisingly lengthy distance (well, for me at least) through the grounds of the Istana. Truly lovely, and the best thing? The cool perspective of the city you'd only get from that vantage point. I didn't even realise there was a golf course right in there!

So all in all, lovely day. For all you employees out there, power to the workers. Happy Labour Day.

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