Rose-Tinted Goggles (Singapore Day 7)

Wednesday, Jun 01 2022 (Day 7)

The day started off with me meeting Zara down in the common area of the house, and being introduced to her two kids, Fatima and Abdullah. She had a third kid, a slightly older boy named Mohammad, but he wasn’t there at the moment. The two kids that were there were around 4-5 years old, with the girl being the older one, and they were both shy around me!

This day also finally had some significant rainfall early in the morning. It had drizzled a little bit on Day 6, I believe, but otherwise the weather for the entirety of my first five days here had been hot, blazing sunshine. It was odd, it was sunny for the entire week up before I left Edmonton as well, but was then forecast to rain every day for the rest of the calendar week after I left on my trip. Conversely, Singapore’s forecast was scheduled to rain for a few days preceding my arrival, and then turn into an oven once I arrived, especially since the 24 hour delay in Vancouver and Sydney meant that I missed a bit of rain on May 25th itself. Anyway, it was nice to finally get a bit of respite from the heat, especially now that I had my umbrella!

I had two main objectives to do today, one to re-visit Dunman High again before 1pm so that I could visit the school bookshop, and the second to meet Zixiang and Rachel at Toa Payoh for lunch. I took a slightly different bus route to Dunman this time around, but the memory of how to get there was still fresh in my mind, so I felt like a Real Student, Going to School on Consecutive Weekdays! How quaint, how nostalgic.

The gatekeepers (the two security guards maintaining the gate) had told me that I would have to contact Dunman High if I wanted to come back for another visit, but that that was not necessary if I was coming back just to visit the bookshop, and they recognized me from the day before as I stepped up to the gate again, my pink and black umbrella in tow. I popped in to buy the metal buttons for the blouse, and ended up buying a few other keepsakes as well — a shirt badge (which I did still own, but it was old and tarnished), collar badge (which I did not own), some branded stationary, and even a couple of the nice coloured casual PE(?) shirts that I’ve seen the students wearing. It turns out I could have bought the actual uniforms directly from the school bookshop as well too, at least if I didn’t care about sizes. I also picked up a notebook that had nothing to do with the school but that amused me as everyone in the cover art picture, including the Merlion, was wearing a face mask. Definitely a limited edition picture.

The proprietress was really nice when she heard my story and offered me a Dunman High branded umbrella to buy as well, along with a doll mascot plushie (that I believe was inspired by something like this), which was wearing a Dunman school uniform. I told her I couldn’t fit the former into my suitcase, as it was a full-length umbrella, but I was very tempted by the second. Ultimately I didn’t bite though, as it was a large plushie (about twice the size as the Napatak tiger cat plushie I had won from the claw machine yesterday), and they only had the male version of the plushie in stock — the female one was sold out. It hurt to say no to that plushie though, maybe I’ll get it next time I come by (if ever again). She said they couldn’t be bought online, sadly.

I had skipped breakfast since I was meeting up with Rachel and Zixiang for lunch and had no idea where or how much we were going to eat. From Dunman High, I caught the 158 bus from in front of the school again, and then took a connecting bus number 31 from there right to the Toa Payoh interchange/MRT Station, snapping some photographs along the way.

I met up with Zixiang first, and we then went over to the taxi stand to wait for Rachel. We were so engrossed in talking to each other that we actually apparently missed her walking by us at one point, but we finally all met up together! I commented on how different Zixiang looked now, but yet conversely how more or less similar Rachel looked to her Secondary 2 self. Or at least my mental image of her. Of the others that I had met on this trip, Debbie and Paulene also had looked somewhat similar, whereas Huihan had changed a little more, but in her case it was because she was no longer wearing glasses. Zixiang also offered to carry my Popular Bookshop bag full of Dunman High paraphernalia, as he was carrying a mostly-empty backpack with him, and he was amused when I told him what was in them. He was very much a gentleman!


Anyway, the three of us settled down at a semi-indoor, semi-outdoor restaurant called The Soup Spoon. One of their outdoor seats had a sofa and a couple chairs, and that’s where we sat down.

I ordered the PotPie set from them, with a Chicken and Mushroom Ragout soup that was recommended by Zixiang. That part was excellent. The pot pie part turned out to be a hollow and very crumbly piece of bread that eviscerated itself all over the plate and my skirt and was difficult to eat overall due to that, but once it was in smaller sizes it went fairly well with the soup. There was also a Home-Brewed Ice Hibuscus Tea that came with the set meal, and that tasted quite good too. The entire set meal cost $14.40. Priciest meal in Singapore that I have had!

We chatted up a storm as we had lunch. The two of them had a lot of chemistry, just like in the old days, and I enjoyed hearing their stories that spanned from school days all the way to adult life. They were both practicing different sub-fields of law and had many stories to share, and I heard about how they got here, their influences in life, Rachel‘s two kids, disciplinary and educational mishaps that they had in Dunman High, games (like Genshin Impact and Gwent) that they played now, or (like L5R, and Fabled Lands) in the past, childhood books like Enid Blyton, Famous Five, and Secret Seven, and much, much more.

We also took our requisite group pic with Tigey:

But it was over too soon, and everyone went their own separate ways. There was a large market area nearby which I walked through, and Rachel had also suggested that I visit the nearby library, so I did that, taking a whirlwind of photographs as I went.


It was stretching on into the late afternoon at this point, close to 5pm or so, and lunch hadn’t been THAT filling, so I decided to have dinner here in Toa Payoh before I went home as well. I found a “back alley” off the main shopping street that was a semi-indoor row of food stalls arranged in an aesthetic way that I had never seen before, a kind of cross between a coffee shop and a mall, with the feel of an indoor indie mall (there were even clothes and miscellany general goods stores across from the food shops) with individual independent “restaurants” with their own food signs out front, but at the same time with semi-shared table arrangements, store intimacy, and large mounted wall fans that were reminiscent of a coffee shop.

I settled on a stall named Traditional Penang Food, and ordered their Penang Laksa.

The broth was slightly sour and complimented all the other tastes in the bowl very well — this meal cost $5 and immediately cemented a spot in my top 5 meals that I had this trip. I think it was either vegetarian or practically so (there was probably some fish in the broth — there usually is) but I did wish there was some sort of meat in it to push it even higher. Nonetheless, it was delicious!

After that meal, I headed home, stopping along the way at a 7-Eleven to buy two bottles of bandung rose syrup milk, as they were on sale for $3.60 in total.

I also met two of the neighbourhood cats together near my homestay place, one of them definitely the black one I had seen twice before already. They were both skittish and ran off somewhat quickly though.

The next day would finally feature my meeting with CMPB, and I definitely didn’t want to be late for that, so I went to bed early this evening.

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