woensdag 14 maart 2012

Mini-break at Changi Village

We at Manor Tamtam are lucky to combine many wonderful qualities under one roof. Planning is not one of them. So although we had known for quite a while that Father and Mother Tamtam would have a Weekend To Themselves to Loiter In Faraway Places while the grandparents looked after Tiny Tamtam, we hadn't actually arranged for anything as mundane as flights or hotels.

But our good qualities include the ability to improvise (this would be S.) and the ability to enjoy the new, smaller, much less exciting plan while casting the original plan in such a light that, really, the new one is much better (this would also be S.). S. leads a charmed life. I am trying to learn from him.

So: we were supposed to go to Bali and climb a vulcano. What we ended up doing: go to Changi Village, just beyond the Singaporean airport, and cycle on nearby Pulau Ubin.

It was lovely.

We stayed at the Changi Village Hotel, which is a very clean and well-thought out design hotel. The beds were wonderful, so the first couple of hours were spent sleeping. We needed a rest, after all the wonderful bread and mountains of cheese and bottles of wine we had had at a Canadian-and-French couple's lunch while the rain came crashing down around the wooden shelter surrounded by faux-classical statues and palm trees at their condo.

After our nap, we headed out to the street where there were numerous food courts and small restaurants. It was busy, being Saturday evening, and lots of children running around and families unwinding and laughing and enjoying the food. A surprising number of Indian people wandered around in colourful, intricately patterned clothing, the women with jasmine flowers in their hair.

Changi Village is in the east of Singapore. First you pass the airport, than some grassy hills, then some small black-and-white houses, more grass, more hills and then there's this tiny HDB estate with people meandering around, the smell of the sea and very little traffic on the one main road. At one end stands the hotel with opposite the jetty where the ferry to Pulau Ubin leaves, on the other side there's more grass. 

In the evening orange traffic cones with flickering lights were put on the road and children could rent electric cars to drive around them. We saw a very fierce girl passing other children right and left mostly without hitting them - a future race car driver. A bit further, on the empty basketball court, there was a band playing classic pop and soft rock songs with men and women with head dresses looking on. We walked along the boardwalk in the moonlight, past lots of picknicking people and fishermen with small tents. Some shops were open and we bought red-bean-cookies, all of which I ate while watching Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy in bed with S. Neither of us got the gist of what was happening, but it looked very pretty. And the cookies were delicious.

We missed breakfast the next morning, having decided that sleep was the luxury we were looking forward to most. And it was indeed amazing, to wake without outside help and without any pressing need for leaving the bed - which we didn't. Not for a long time.

Not until we decided it was time to go cycling on Pulau Ubin, where there is a mountain bike park full of trails. We found the track and I re-discovered my fear and loathing of mud in combination with steep inclines. But then the track softened into a hillside path with lovely views of quarries and jungle and it turns out there are people out there who are either more scared of sand and mud and stones than I am or more adventurous as shown by their attempt tackle said mountain bike park on a tandem bike. So I wasn't the laughingstock I had feared, while S. was elevated to god-like status in his swift and nimble ascent and descent on the scary and steep cycle route. 

We sat on logs looking out over the sea, I once again demonstrated my utter lack of geographical ability by locating a previous viewpoint 180 degrees opposite of its actual location, we talked about Important Stuff and we decided we would not go either swimming or smuggling, due to the very large fence built into the sea on the Malaysian side. 

We did get sunburnt, we did have a fight, we made up, we did our bit for romance by cuddling on the bumboat and we weren't bitten by mosquitoes. (Well, no more than usual.) Afterwards we had dinner at the food court and cookies at the 7-11 and we went home, where E. was very happy to see us. 

All that, marveled S., and we never even had to leave the city! 

1 opmerking:

  1. Zo zie je maar weer, het is altijd goed om je omgeving eens goed te verkennen en dan rol je van de ene verbazing in de andere.
    Leuk dat jullie zelfs daar bij die hitte fietsen!
    Thiel

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