This wasn’t the plane we took.

From ‘Bobesh on Flickr, a great shot of Singapore Airlines’ A380 touching down in Sydney. We took a much smaller version to and from Singapore, in my shortest stay there ever: overnight.

After the meeting, we had time to ourselves. We walked around Orchard Road. I went to Kinokuniya and picked up three graphic novels: Re-gifters (review coming soon), The Arrival and Shortcomings. I also bought another Kokuyo “Color Palette” binder to hold Maruman blank notepaper refills.

“Their walking distance is a lot farther than our walking distance,” Mary said, as, ill-tempered with our self-inflicted shopping burdens, we trudged around looking for the Grand Hyatt, where dinner with our regional office friends would be. We decided to snag a cab – not an easy task at night on Orchard – and when we finally got into one, the driver laughed when we told him our destination. “But it’s across the street!,” he exclaimed, pointing to the Hyatt logo. Chiqui answered, “We were told Grand Hyatt.” “There’s only one Hyatt.” The driver then proceeded to skewer the Mandarin chain of hotels for having more than one and making fools out of poor cab drivers. By that time he drew breath we had made our u-turn and were right in front of the hotel.

The Straits Kitchen is a spice tour for the tastebuds. I devoured fried buns drenched in chili crab sauce (yes! buns! carbs!), beef rendang, string beans in sambal belachan, steamed white fish soaked in redolent garlic, slices of roast duck, carrot cake, Chinese rujak (a spicy-sweet fruit salad sold on the streets of Jakarta, in this version elaborated with crunchy friend dough). Dessert was glutinous white rice rolled in crushed peanuts (like our palitaw, but chewier, and without the grated coconut), and a single gulab jamun ball. I wanted to eat the lizardfruit but my abdominal walls were about to give way. Since we’d arrived late (around 9 pm), the staff was clearing the buffet tables by the time we were able to stand up and walk out.

I went to Funan Mall the next morning, added to my pen hoard, bought a few pieces from Womb and µ in Bugis Mall, then met Chiqui and Mary in the room. Furious packing ensued. I was well under my 20 kg limit. At Changi, I snagged my first celebrity scent (Covet, by Sarah Jessica Parker, a surprise choice for me, Miss Niche Fragrance) (yes, review coming too), and a bottle of the relaunched Estee Lauder Idealist, because who knows, being poreless might be the secret of success.

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