Yesterday, Alli and I finally had a good free day to go out and explore together without the involvement of any apartment hunting (we've found something, we're excited about it, our fingers are crossed that everything is going to come through but it is not a 100% go until all papers are signed, and so we have not fully disclosed this information).

We started the day by sleeping in. Ahh, how nice.

And then we headed to the Arab Quarter, a short walk from Bugis MRT station. Here you will find many textiles-- fabrics and rugs, each business entreating you to enter and eye their selections. There is a significant Muslim population in this area and the largest mosque in Singapore. You will hear the call to prayer if you are there at the right time (5 times a day, you can't miss it!) However, well interspersed is a vibrant artistic community, lots of shops with trendy clothing, jewelry, art, etc. Then there's some good food and a couple of bars.

After strolling a while and glancing at carpets without trying to show too much interest, we went to Cafe LeCaire for hummus, a feta cheese sandwich, and chicken shawarma, washed down with mint tea. This is the same cafe we came to a year and a half ago on our first visit to Singapore. It was nice to feel like we were coming back to an old hangout.
We made a brief venture into Bugis junction, found some frozen yogurt which just might hold a matchstick to Alli's idolized Bloomingdale's, and then I decided it was time to find aircon and sit a spell. So we headed to the MRT and made a quick decision to head to East Coast Park. Here we are enjoying aircon in the bus on our way:

This was our first trip to East Coast, and we both enjoyed it quite a bit. This is a long strip of ocean-front park area, with walking and biking/rollerblading sidewalks, seafood--both sit down restaurant and hawker-center style, and a refreshing ocean breeze keeping you from noticing the ambient temperature.
There's also a little water-skiing "ride":it is a sort of zip-line which pulls you in a circle around a small lagoon. I expected this to be a weak attempt of recapitulating real waterskiing, perhaps something the locals would be excited about because they didn't know any better, but it looked pretty fun- there are ramps set up, the speed is decent, and some of the skiiers-- or wakeboarders, really, were doing some pretty fancy tricks. I might have to give it a go some time.

Anyway, we got a bite to eat here, sat and looked out at the ships in the harbor while enjoying the breeze, strolled some more, and finally took a cab back to the Arab quarter to a bar that we'd noticed earlier would have live blues/jazz music. I had a nice large Erdinger dark, Alli a mojito, and we shared some seafood fried rice (well, I gave Alli a couple of bites). Oh, and of course we listened to some jazzy blues.

It was a pretty good little Saturday.

And today hasn't been bad either. We went to church with Eric and Emily, mostly avoided getting drenched in the downpour immediately after the service, crowded on to a bus, making for a nice photo opportunity:

And went for a nice brunch. I'm pleased to announce that quality blueberry pancakes with real maple syrup can be yours, even in Singapore.