This was certainly one of the most unforgettable weekends ever. I can already foresee a difficult adjustment time to life in Chicago without all my favorite folks here in Singapore, and they definitely have not made the impending move an easier one with the shenanigans of these past few days.
My weekend started on Friday. TPR took a day off, and so, in the early morning, we headed off to the zoo. Neither of us has been in years, so we had a blast wandering around, staring at the different animals at play and at rest. Sadly, my luck of seeing animals mating seems to have run out this time, although we did see two otter couples seriously necking, several red ass female baboons lovingly nitpicking their mates, and one red ass baboon playing with himself.
At the white tiger exhibit, the two female tigers were just lounging on the rocks, while the male tiger, Oman, kept on pacing mindlessly back and forth within his tiny enclosure. Now, we realize some people have serious problems with zoos, believing that it is cruel to lock animals up in captivity like that, and we agreed that it was painful to see Oman stuck within so small a space. Yet, we also believe zoos serve at least two important purposes: firstly, it is the only chance for most people to see these animals up close. TPR talks of how her friend’s kids had only seen cows in Farmville on FB, and so had the mistaken impression that there were only either pink or brown cows, because there is only strawberry or chocolate milk. Secondly, as is well illustrated with the case of the white tigers, zoos are the only last line of defense for some animals which are fast facing extinction. Indeed, according to the information posters at the white tiger enclosure, there are no more white tigers in the wild.
So anyway, we spent an excellent 3.5 hours at the zoo. By then, it was about 1pm, so we headed back east for a quick meal of vegetarian noodles and rojak before we settled down at the Downtown East theatre to watch Avatar in 3-D (incredibly imaginative and amazing!).
Although we had planned to go swimming next, we couldn’t fit our ambitious plans within our tightly packed schedule, so we just went home, had a quick change of clothes, and went down to Chinatown with my mum for dinner. Cristalle met us at Ember, and we enjoyed my usual favorite dishes there: oyster poppers, lightly pan seared foie gras, angel hair pasta with sakura ebi, Chilean sea bass in truffle sauce, and freshly baked banana tart with lavendar ice cream. Haha, Cristalle was somewhat appalled at my lack of adventure, lamenting how I never ventured beyond the same orders, but my theory is, why rock the boat? After all, these dishes were the reason why I love Ember. 😀 Happily, my mum agreed too (she wasn’t so impressed with my other recommendation, Xiyan, which I treated her and my dad to for their wedding anniversary), because as we left, she took a card with her.
We dropped off my mum and Cristalle, then headed down to Katong’s Teo Heng for a KTV session with RX and gang (WW, Zhongxi, Laura, RY, Amanda, Pak, Palex). It was quite a motley collection of people really, given that we did not usually hang out in the same circles. Nonetheless, everyone was united by the songs, especially those from the early 90s which we could all bellow out with ease and much panache. In between, we laughed at Amanda and RY’s shameless fawning and gushing over Wang Li Hong; we must have watched upwards of 20 of his various MTVs. WW also entertained us – and Pinn over in BKK – with his favorite Hokkien song, as he rang in his 29th birthday. 🙂
Despite turning in late the night before, I was up early again – to finally handover my Prius (after much unneeded drama with the buyer) and meet Laura for a spot of climbing. Sadly, the route that Rachel and I had been working on (a green 6B), had been taken down sometime during the past week. We were so close in completing it clean! But I managed some really good climbs, so I was happy about that.
In the afternoon, Palex picked the now car-less me up and we headed over to Forest Adventures by Bedok Reservoir. A group of 8 of us had signed up for the course: Palex, HX, Lina, Xinning, YS, Jan, and Wallace. We needed to be wearing shoes for the course, but I had quite forgotten, so I was all in a panic and steeling myself up to wear my uncomfortable climbing shoes instead of my flip flops when I remembered that TPR would be in the area for her dragon boat rowing. Excited, I ran up to the DB shed, and what did you know, she did have a pair of running shoes (along with a pair of heels, and a spare pair of flip flops) in her car. 🙂
It was great fun! I finally managed to try zip-lining after more than 10 years of wanting to do it. 😀 While the routes themselves weren’t particularly challenging, it was fun hanging out in the trees and flying over the reservoir.
Afterwards, despite being all sandy and sweaty, Palex insisted we head out to Long Beach over at Dempsey for dinner. I was excited about Long Beach (yay chili crab and deep fried man tou!) but somewhat perplexed as to why he would choose to drive all the way to Dempsey, when there was a perfectly good one over at East Coast. But since I wasn’t driving, I didn’t complain too much and just went along for the ride. Although I did wish that I could have gone by TPR’s place first to pick up my flip flops; her shoes were half a size too small, so my toes were all crimped up.
YS, Palex, Janice and I arrived first at Long Beach, so we headed to our table. I was starving by then, and thirsty for some ice cold beer, so as soon as we sat down, I called for some. I don’t quite recall what happened next, only that the wall facing me started to shake, moved, then suddenly slid sideways to reveal Paul’s grinning face! Totally taken aback, I was like huh? Then the door fully opened and a whole bunch of folks were just standing at the entrance and grinning back at me. Surprise! OMG. Totally man. All my closest friends – C, TPR (who still had my flip flops in her car! Yay!!!), the U of C folks, JH, Jacq, BJ. Goodness.
It turned out that Cristalle had put the whole thing together (together with TPR and Palex’s assistance), which was even more amazing because she doesn’t really hang out with everyone else, so I didn’t even think she had their emails. 🙂 She even got me a cake at the end! Hehe, it was my first surprise party ever and the first time in years since I’ve had a cake!
Thank you so, so, much guys. It was really lovely seeing everyone together in the same two rooms. 🙂 I also totally loved how even though some people were meeting for the first or the initial few times, everyone could get along (must be because same mindset; even the conversation topics were along the same themes!). There were shouts of laughter in both rooms throughout the evening, and clearly audible even from the toilets.
The entire group outside Long Beach @ Dempsey