Where The Wind Takes Me – Day 42

Where The Wind Takes Me Series - Table of Contents

EntryNotable Places/EventsStart of DayEnd of Day
Day 0 - Apr 21-22 2024Plane (Edmonton > Calgary > Tokyo)Edmonton, CanadaTokyo, Japan
Day 1 - Tue Apr 23 2024Akihabara, Sensoji, Tokyo Sky Arena, Taiwan Food FestivalTokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 2 - Wed Apr 24 2024Nezu Shrine, Tokyo National MuseumTokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 3 - Thu Apr 25 2024Akihabara, Ginza, Yurakucho, Bocchi the Rock! Exhibition (with Quintopia)Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 4 - Fri Apr 26 2024Craft Gyoza Fes, Niku Fes, Odaiba, Kameido Tenjin ShrineTokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 5 - Sat Apr 27 2024Niconico Chokaigi 2024Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 6 - Sun Apr 28 2024M3-53Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 7 - Mon Apr 29 2024Train (Tokyo > Osaka)Tokyo, JapanOsaka, Japan
Day 8 - Tue Apr 30 2024Tsurumibashi, Expo Commemorative Park, Osaka Station (with Miyu)Osaka, JapanOsaka, Japan
Day 9 - Wed May 01 2024Kyoto, Takenobu Inari Shrine, SaiinOsaka, JapanOsaka, Japan
Day 10 - Thu, May 02 2024Train (Osaka > Tokyo)Osaka, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 11 - Fri May 03 2024Reitaisai 21Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 12 - Sat May 04 2024Japan Jam 2024 (with Quintopia)Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 13 - Sun May 05 2024National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation (with Quintopia)Tokyo, JapanTokyo, Japan
Day 14 - Mon May 06 2024Plane (Tokyo > Taipei), Liaoning Night MarketTokyo, JapanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 15 - Tue May 07 2024Taipei Main Station Underground Mall, Ximending Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 16 - Wed May 08 2024Shilin Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 17 - Thu May 09 2024Raohe Street Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 18 - Fri May 10 2024Songjiang Market, Guang Hua Digital Plaza, Shida Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 19 - Sat May 11 2024Dihua Street, Huaxi Street Night Market, Guangzhou Street Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 20 - Sun May 12 2024Gongguan Night MarketTaipei, TaiwanTaipei, Taiwan
Day 21 - Mon May 13 2024Plane (Taipei > HK), Train (HK > Guangzhou), Stayed with KelTaipei, TaiwanGuangzhou, China
Day 22 - Tue May 14 2024Zhongfu Square, Alpaca Sighting (with Kel), Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 23 - Wed May 15 2024Panyu Square, Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 24 - Thu May 16 2024Nancun Wanbo (with Kel), Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 25 - Fri May 17 2024Train (Guangzhou > Xiamen), Zhongshan RoadGuangzhou, ChinaXiamen, China
Day 26 - Sat May 18 2024Xiamen Railway StationXiamen, ChinaXiamen, China
Day 27 - Sun May 19 2024Mingfa Shopping MallXiamen, ChinaXiamen, China
Day 28 - Mon May 20 2024Train (Xiamen > Guangzhou), Stayed with KelXiamen, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 29 - Tue May 21 2024Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 30 - Wed May 22 2024Tianhe Computer Town, Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 31 - Thu May 23 2024Comic City, Shangxiajiu Square, Dinner with Kel, Stayed with KelGuangzhou, ChinaGuangzhou, China
Day 32 - Fri May 24 2024Train (Guangzhou > Hong Kong)Guangzhou, ChinaHong Kong, China
Day 33 - Sat May 25 2024Wan Chai, Temple StreetHong Kong, ChinaHong Kong, China
Day 34 - Sun May 26 2024Chungking Mansions, Nathan Road, Ladies' MarketHong Kong, ChinaHong Kong, China
Day 35 - Mon May 27 2024Central Market, Sino CentreHong Kong, ChinaHong Kong, China
Day 36 - Tue May 28 2024Tea at Minimal (with WingBenny), Dragon CentreHong Kong, ChinaHong Kong, China
Day 37 - Wed May 29 2024Plane (HK > Singapore), Tampines N2 Shopping StreetHong Kong, ChinaSimei, Singapore
Day 38 - Thu May 30 2024Tampines Regional CentreSimei, SingaporeSimei, Singapore
Day 39 - Fri May 31 2024Lunch (with Debbie and Zixiang), Bras Basah Complex, I Light SingaporeSimei, SingaporeSimei, Singapore
Day 40 - Sat Jun 01 2024People's Park Complex, People's Park CentreSimei, SingaporeSimei, Singapore
Day 41 - Sun Jun 02 2024BishanSimei, SingaporeSimei, Singapore
Day 42 - Mon Jun 03 2024Dunman High School, Katong Shopping Centre, Parkway ParadeSimei, SingaporeSimei, Singapore
Day 43 - Tue Jun 04 2024Hell's MuseumSimei, SingaporeSimei, Singapore
Day 44 - Wed Jun 05 2024Flight (Singapore > San Francisco > Vancouver > Edmonton)Simei, SingaporeEdmonton, Canada
Final ThoughtsFinal Thoughts!Edmonton, CanadaWe'll see

Monday, Jun 03 2024 (Day 42)

There was a freaking bee in my room when I woke up this morning. It was perched on the curtains above the couch on the other side of the room. I took a picture of it but decided not to post it — I don’t want a picture of a bee to be on my blog. I messaged Belinda about it and she came up to squash it with a piece of tissue. She didn’t even use insecticide or anything on the little guy, just walked up to it with a wad of tissue paper and squished it and carried it off or something. She said it was a sugar bee. I would burn the house down if a bee got into my own house. I wonder what the best way for me to deal with things like that would be. I could never do what she did.

Belinda said that they’re attracted to open windows and light at night, but all the windows in my room were shut (though the light was on since I can sleep with lights on just fine and the switch isn’t anywhere near the bed). She guessed that it maybe came in through the bathroom, since the bathroom has a window open ajar for ventilation at basically all times. This also reminded me that when I first moved into the room, one of the windows next to the bed was wide open behind its curtain and was that way for hours before I noticed it and closed it because the air-con wasn’t working very well.

With that in mind, I still had my “barley leaves” flavoured piece of cake in the morning but I made sure to put the wrapper in my bag to carry out with me instead of throwing it in the bin in the room. (The barley leaves cake/bread thing was okay. It didn’t have cream, which I had expected there to be, so that annoyed me a bit.) Who knows what it would attract next otherwise. A fruit bat that will fly in and carry Tigey off?

What annoyed me the most about the whole thing was that when I came back in the evening, I did a check of all the windows in the room and found that the window behind the curtain where the bee was perched was actually ajar, and had been ajar for the entire past week that I had been here as well. So that’s where all the insects have been coming in from. And what a waste of energy and air-conditioning. Why did the house owners leave two windows open in the bedroom and just forget about them? And how did I miss the second window before?

At least I’m not in the tiny room downstairs where if there was a bee in the room, it would be within touching distance no matter where it was unless it was on the ceiling.

Moving on to more interesting things, I had reached out to the Dunman High administration to see if I could visit the school again, officially this time. They had said yes, but due to June being the school holidays, they could only grant me access to walk around the bottom floor of the school again, as no one else would be there. This is exactly the same access that I got the last time when I stopped by the school without any prior consultation and was told to contact prior to coming the next time. What was the point then? Bah. Even the alumni/heritage room, which my former first-floor classroom had been turned into, would not be accessible again.

Still, I went, because this is my alma mater of sorts and because I had hopes that the bookshop and/or the canteen would be open this time. (They weren’t.) And also because I wanted to do some measure of chronicling any change in the campus, though so much of the campus is new and unfamiliar to me that I wouldn’t notice offhandedly even if something had changed in the past two years since I was last here.

(As a side note, I also asked my Primary 1-3 school, Peiying, if I could visit the school while here. Their reply was: “Due to operational and security reasons, we would like to inform you that we are unable to facilitate walk-in visits or photography sessions within the school premises from alumni at the moment. We hope for your understanding on this matter.” Terrible. I told them I’d ask again next time I return. Conversely, I didn’t bother asking my Primary 4-6 school, Rosyth, since the campus has moved somewhere entirely new.)

So anyway, I left the lodging early today, right around 11 am or so (after the Edmonton Oilers game where they defeated the Dallas Stars in Game 6 of their playoff series to clinch their Stanley Cup Final berth) since my entry time for the school was between 10 am to noon. Google Maps gave me a route that would take me just under an hour to get there, and I found out once I took the actual route that it actually led me to the “back gate” of the school, one that I had not used before. I have no idea what was on this side of the school on the smaller campus when I was studying here before but I don’t think it was a road and gate. The approach to this gate was through some residential district:

And funnily enough there was a car dealership right across from the gate:

The guard at the gate let me through, but only after insisting on my citizenship number and a phone number so he could properly enter me into the guest system. He accepted my passport number for my citizenship number, and for the phone number, I didn’t have one since my eSIM didn’t come with one, so I gave him my phone number that I used the last time I was in Singapore instead and he was fine with that too. He then gave me a guest visitor sticker which I stuck on my clothes but which then promptly fell off since the sticker quality was very low. This happened the last time too.

Also like the last time, most of the pictures of the school will be stuffed into a gallery, as I have nothing specific to say about them.

The bookshop was closed this time as mentioned. There are a couple of plushies in the store (of a male student/female student) that I was hoping to get this time as they were out of stock the last time. Hopefully they’re still a thing and still around the next time I visit the school.

I noticed many of the rooms had air-conditioning now. When I was here, barely any of the rooms had air-conditioning at all. I’m not sure if these are classrooms or special labs or something though.

This is the heritage room, aka my former classroom on the ground floor. No entry.

And this is the main central circular grass courtyard in the school. This place is important to me, to the point that when I was trying either tulpa or lucid dreaming exercises (I forget which) many months ago and needed to pick a special place to center and focus on, I picked this place.

I didn’t stay here too long, and made my way back in the same direction that I had come  I passed a funeral along the way, just past a road sign that said to be aware of elderly the same way that signs usually say to be aware of children.

I also took a picture of an apartment block that piqued my interest. Most people hang their clothing out the back side of a HDB block, on bamboo poles sticking out of the buildings, but I guess this building doesn’t have a place to stick the poles or something. Everyone used clothing lines outside their front doors instead, which I’ve never seen before.

I took the bus back the way I came, to a nearby shopping centre that I had seen the bus pass on the way to Dunman earlier. This strata mall was called Katong Shopping Centre.

And it was full of.. maid agencies? Seriously, there were dozens on the main level alone. Many with people in them, though I couldn’t tell if they were signing up to become maids and helpers or if they were looking to hire one.

That last picture above also indicated that a food court was nearby, but the sign was so poor. Was the food court ahead on this floor? Ahead and up the escalator (though that escalator connecting to the above floor was a down escalator, the up escalator was behind it)? Or ahead and down the escalator?

It turns out the answer was down, and that weirdly, there were two food courts on this level, on opposite ends of the basement level. It took about three minutes of walking to walk from one end to the other, as it was a long, narrow mall, and I liked my personal headcanon narrative that they were duelling food courts that hated each other and split the clientele from the building exactly in half so there was an East Side Gang and a West Side Gang or something that were loyal to their respective eatery. So naturally I ate at both places.

From the er.. west side eatery, I had a meal called Dai Loke Mee, some sort of Malaysian dish that I don’t think I’d ever had before. But I recognized the picture of the dish at least, it was a variant of Hokkien Mee, my faviorute dish, but largely just shared some of the same ingredients and the name itself while not tasting particularly similar to the main dish. I’m fairly sure it’s the variant in the fifth column of the hokkien mee Wikipedia page, whereas the version I like is the one in the first column.

This eatery felt oily and dirty though, and I didn’t like the place at all. I then went to the other place and had a nice ice kachang, or shaved ice with syrup, snack:

This eatery was cleaner but still had some houseflies and general flies buzzing around that I had to swat away. I sat in a corner of the eatery in front of a TV and watched the last 15 minutes of a 2010 FIFA World Cup game between Germany and England which was broadcasting on it for some reason. Germany was already up 4-1 and that was the way it ended. A few minutes after I sat down and started eating, one of the staff members put down a “Reserved” plaque on the table where I was already seated, and a couple of them sat down nearby and I get the feeling were not happy with me being there at the table. I pointedly ignored them though, since I was there first before the reserved sign, and slowly finished my shaved ice before leaving just as the game ended.

I walked around taking a few more pictures before leaving the mall, and here’s a gallery of pictures from Katong Shopping Centre minus the one already posted above.

I then left Katong Shopping Center and crossed the road, entering another strata mall called Katong Plaza:

The weirdest thing about the mall by far is that adjacent doors were set to open and close in opposite directions:

I’ve seen it before, but rarely, and I find it disconcerting. Also, there was a church in the basement of the mall, which was interesting.

There was also a small food court, a large furniture store, several hair salons, tutoring places, and random general stores in the mall. There were also a number of closed stores in the mall, I’m not sure if it was due to the day, or time of day, or because they were just shut down in general. Food traffic in this mall was low though, perhaps because it was kind of stuck in between larger malls.

There was also a tiny little passage connecting Katong Plaza to another even smaller strata mall with even lower foot traffic and even more closed shops. The connecting walkway was literally just a little indoor passage hidden away on the second floor of both buildings.

This mall was called Roxy Square 1, and it gave me a bit of a liminal feeling going through it due to how quiet it was.

They had some nice-looking Malay, Indonesian, or Indo-Chinese style clothing stores though. Nice, long colourful silky dresses and stuff. Also, that one slogan in the gallery above. “Random. On target. Real time. Under stress.” What?

The reason I had cut through these two malls from Katong Shopping Centre way back when was that they were directly on the path toward another even larger mall that I wanted to visit, a REIT mall called Parkway Parade. Parkway Parade is a famous mall in Singapore but I don’t recall ever visiting it myself in the past. There was even an MRT Station outside Parkway Parade called Marine Parade — but it wasn’t open yet! It was nearly done and scheduled to open later this month, on Jun 23 2024, so these pictures are basically how the outside of the station looked 3 weeks before it opened.

The paths around the station, and by extension the Parkway Parade mall itself, were clogged up and closed due to construction. A hawker centre located outside the mall was also completely shut down and cordoned off for cleaning or something. So to actually get to the mall, I had to weave their way through a bunch of outdoor shops and another tall mostly-outdoors mall-like building that I didn’t enter, plus an uncle in a wheelchair that tried shoving some tissue packs clearly from NTUC Fairprice, into my hand, and then asked for $2 per pack (when they were worth 10-20 cents max — even food eateries that sell tissue packs do so at a standard price of 30 cents). I refused and pushed it back and he mumbled something I didn’t understand and turned his attention to someone else as I finished my winding journey to the actual mall.

I’m going to gallery these pictures as well, and I even culled something like 20 more pictures because this blog post already has over 100 pictures already and I don’t have commentary for most of them anyway, but I did take my time wandering around this mall, finding things like a super-overpriced eco-friendly/sustainable store called Scoop Wholefoods Australia, and an NTUC Fairprice Extra store which, in addition to the usual supermarket, had a food section where you could buy food form a bakery, or buy a bowl of instant noodles and open it and add boiling water to it, and then sit down and actually have a meal right there in the store itself. That was interesting. Also for some reason there was a little arcade area inside that supermarket’s dining area itself too. I was really tempted to try some of those instant noodles, but I did not in the end.

There were also a few independent-type stores in this REIT mall, things like medicine stores and locksmiths and such that one generally doesn’t see in this sort of mall, which I found interesting. I wonder if those stores will survive the inevitable price hike once the MRT Station next to the mall goes live and it becomes easier for even more people to visit the mall.

I also noticed that a lot of drinks in Singapore, but not all, have a sort of A-D ranking system pasted upon them based on how “healthy” the product is in some capacity. This system is called Nutri-Grade (local), and I saw to my horror that some of my favourite drinks were C and D grade drinks.

Those came to no real surprise though. I saw some drink shops explaining the system outside their store and saying that you can request less of this or that to bump up the level of the drink, and I saw things like green tea leaves in the tea aisle in the supermarket touting their A-ratings. However, I saw a lot of drinks and bottles without any such rating as well, and I’m not clear enough on the system to know why some of them have ratings and some do not.

Also, while following a secret passage on the second level of the mall which led me behind some of the shops into an under construction area, I saw a sign on the level below me that read “”Do not lean” against the fence”. I thought the use of punctuation on the sign was really weird.

Singapore’s English translation signs are much better than say Japan, or China, or Taiwan/Hong Kong, since most Singaporeans are at least somewhat fluent in English, but they still sometimes have weird translations to be found.

I sat down on a bench to rest in the mall and caught myself nodding off, so I knew that it was definitely time to go. I took a bus back to the somewhat nearby Kallang MRT Station, the site of many of my childhood memories, though I knew that the little shops and buildings that I was familiar with were largely gone now. However, I saw to my horror that even the little park with the trees that I sat under with my friends as a kid were gone now. In its place, there was a REIT mall or something being built.

Those were views form down below, up on the train platform, and then from the train itself through slightly blurry windows. My poor childhood. The trees. The uncle with the ice cream cart. It’s all gone now in the name of progress.

As solace, I took the train to Tampines MRT again, but not for the malls this time. I walked northwards through the bus interchange:

And headed for one of the last bastions of my old memories that still existed in Singapore, Sun Plaza/Sunplaza Park. I had also visited the park two years ago, almost to the day, to say hello to my old childhood self, and this time I visited it again both to say hello to my childhood self as well as my previous presence from two years ago.

And just like last time, I quickly found a giant snail, or at least its shell.

This time though, I also saw a bunch of wild roosters and chickens wandering around. I guess they had moved in since the last time I was here, since I never remembered seeing them here before.

And then I went to my special place to say hello to my past selves, the sign and big star in the middle of the park.

From there, I decided to walk north to Pasir Ris Station, which was about 30 minutes away to the north on foot. I said in my blog post that I had walked here to this park *from* Pasir Ris Station as a kid before, but no part of this really long walk that I did felt remotely familiar, and it involved crossing an expressway at some point too, so I’m not actually sure that I had done that before in the past. I might have just walked from Tampines MRT Station instead, which would just have been a 5-10 minute walk.

There were nice walkways basically following and making a path beneath the train tracks though, linking park to park and running over drains and canals, making it easy for people to walk or cycle between the various parks that dotted this part of the country.

I even passed a pair of lovebirds enjoying some quiet time on a bench beneath the tracks, and snuck a picture of them.

The path eventually split off from the train tracks though, as the tracks went over a wooded mangrove-type area while the path crossed over that aforementioned nearby expressway and into residential areas. Sunset was near and the weather had started to cool down even before I reached Sunplaza Park, so this entire walk was, for once, really enjoyable and not overwhelmingly hot and humid.

I reached Pasir Ris Station soon after, and the vicinity of this station was also receiving renovations and a new mall, Pasir Ris Mall, that looked to be nearly done.

There were already two other malls nearby that I saw and passed by but did not enter though, White Sands and Downtown East, the latter with a really misleading name since Pasir Ris was basically on the very eastern side of the country, about as far away as one could get from downtown. Instead, I went to an outdoor food centre that I had also come to the last time I was in Singapore, Pasir Ris Central Hawker Centre.

The “managed by Kopitiam” part concerned me as generally the indoor food courts in malls are usually more expensive and comfortable and “organized” in a way that REIT malls are, without things like overlapping types of food, whereas the outdoor food courts in hawker centres are usually cheaper, but with the trade off of being perhaps dirtier, hotter, and with a random hodgepodge of stalls that often compete directly with each other. Kopitiam is one of the indoor mall food court companies though, so I’m not sure what they were doing out here taking over an outdoor food court like this, but oh well.

I had been to this mall twice before, once on May 29 2022 where I ended up having a dish that I really liked, and again on Jun 05 2022 where I ended up having a dish that I disliked. I came back to the same store again as I had been somewhat craving the soup dish that I really liked, and although it looked like the prices had risen since the last time I was here, I went for it anyway, ordering a bowl of Chinese Spinach Seafood Soup with Fish and Thin Bee Hoon for $9.70. (The Thin Bee Hoon cost 70 cents, and the $9 soup with fish was the middle-sized option — there was no longer a cheaper option without fish unless I went for the smallest-sized bowl of soup.) With an additional $1.60 rose syrup/bandung drink from another store on top of it, this meal came out to be $11.30, definitely on the expensive end of any meal I’ve eaten in a while. Still, the soup was really good.

My phone was almost dead by this point, probably thanks to planting too many flowers in Pikmin Bloom as I wandered around, since that eats up a lot of battery for some reason. But I took a quick jaunt around the park next to the hawker centre anyway, revisiting the playground that I had seen the last time I was here:

The fishing areas that I had seen the last time I was here:

The weird fancy lakeside restaurant/cafe that was here the last time I was here:

And these chickens and roosters that were.. wait a minute.

Apparently they’ve moved into this park as well. I never really saw these wild roosters and chickens at all when I lived here back in the 90s, or at least never remembered them, so it’s weird that they seem to be a thing now. Even back in 2022, I remember seeing them when I wandered around downtown, and inside people’s yards, but I definitely never saw them in these parks. Now today I’d seen them in two parks that I thought I had known somewhat well. Weird.

I made it home without incident after this, and then spent most of the night sorting through and culling the horde of pictures that I had taken today. It seems like the power connection for my laptop is acting up again, and occasionally not charging even though it’s “plugged in”, though it’s not as bad as it was before.. yet. I had been worried about this since the power cord had to be bent at a bit of a weird angle in this lodging in order to reach the laptop power socket, since it’s on the right side of the laptop, whereas the power brick itself is plugged into an outlet on the left side of the bed. Oh well. It only really needs to survive two more days or so before I arrive home. At least I didn’t have to face any more flies that night (once I found that other ajar window and shut it.)

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