Sunday, July 28, 2013

Staycation Weekend

We decided on a little staycation to celebrate our getting-together anniversary, having just returned from our splendid vacation in the United States. I googled around for places to stay in Pulau Ubin, and was surprised to observe that the prices at the only resort on the island (which gave the impression that it was rustic and less comfortable than a regular hotel) were similar to the more luxurious hotel near the Changi Jetty. As such, we chose the latter and were quite pleased with our choice. 

We started the Saturday taking advantage of the complimentary one-hour bicycle rentals provided by the hotel. Peter was a little nervous, since the last time he rode a bike was apparently fifteen years ago.  He did pretty well, but was wobbly when he noticed incoming cyclists or pedestrians. It might probably be challenging to cycle at Pulau Ubin since he was not quite confident, so we limited the cycling time to just within Changi Beach Park. 

After returning the bikes, we took the bum boat to the island and started our trek to the Chek Jawa wetlands. Along the way, we observed cyclists harvesting durios zibethinus (that is durian) which Peter has since affectionately nicknamed "the garbage fruit". Curious, we started looking at the trees to try to spot the fruit. To our horror, we spotted the thorny fruit hanging from a height of at least thirty metres.

Can you imagine if a two-kilo thorny sphere fell on your head from about five-storey? Methinks it is an accident waiting to occur! Cyclists and trekkers at Pulau Ubin, please beware of falling durians!

After about three kilometres, we arrived at the entrance of Chek Jawa and were greeted by fuzzy little baby boars. 

I was a little wary that a huge mother boar would be lingering around the corner. We hastily moved on to the coastal boardwalk. Unfortunately, it started to rain and the tide was high. Not much could be seen on the wetlands when the area was swollen with waters. The mangrove swamps were more interesting - with scurrying shellfish and needle-like fishy. We finally sought shelter at a quiet tower.

When we thought the rain had subsided a little, we trekked back to the jetty. The trek back seemed shorter as we entertained ourselves playing taboo on my iPhone. We rewarded ourselves with a plate of fried squid - which Peter likened to fried pork rind - and dough fritters.

The bum boat ride back to mainland Singapore was uneventful. Although exhausted, we cleaned up and set out to explore dinner options. My colleague who lived in the east once recommended Etna, a quaint little Italian restaurant. We didn't have any reservations, but they managed to find a table for us even though the restaurant was bustling. My main course was linguine with scallops in prawn cream - palate pleasing indeed. Service was less than desired - our bread and beverages took 15-20 minutes to arrive. I guess they were overwhelmed on a Saturday evening. 

I woke up a grumpy Peter early Sunday morning for a 10-km run. He became noticeably chirpier after the initial grouchiness to marvel at the beauty of the sunrise.

It was wonderful to laze at the rooftop pool after the running, soaking up the sun rays and chatting about random issues of life. Feeling that we have sufficiently worked out for the day, we decided to binge on a huge brunch at the nearby Coastal Settlement. We settled at a cosy corner to enjoy our large meal at a leisurely pace while competing on Jenga on the iPad. 

Ah, weekends. 


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