Friday, July 4, 2014

Brioni Southeast Asian World Tour: Singapore

Well, it’s a miracle!  A new blog post for you all to read after an unexpected hiatus; the first installment of our international trip to three Southeast Asian countries; and a blog post written through the words of my darling Justin. 
At the special request of my beautiful wife, I promised to help in the retelling of our long fourteen day journey through Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand.  First stop – Singapore.
Some towering views from the top of our hotel and the view from our hotel room...

After two days of flying from DC to Dallas, and then to Japan, we finally arrived in Singapore.  We stayed at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, which offered a gorgeous view of Marina Bay and an Infinity Pool on the rooftop.  Despite the cloudy weather, we decided to take advantage of the awesome pool. 

Like many of the other visitors to the hotel, Joanne and I did the quintessential pool photo poses that one would take in such a pool:

 The “I’m gazing out into the city, thinking about life” pose.

The “I’m falling off the edge of the building” pose.

In between our time taking obscene and clever photos in the hotel’s pool, Joanne and I ate a lot of awesome food.  One of the first meals we had was dim sum at Din Tang Fung Dumpling House which was in the mall connected to our resort.  To the West Coast readers out there, we know they have these out in California; however, we don’t have them in DC and we figured why not.  The food was just as good as we remembered it on our first trip to their Arcadia, Ca location.  We ordered the usual (dumplings, dumplings, and dumplings), but were cautioned by our waitress that we “ordered too much”.  Considering the fact that we were jet lagged and really hungry, we really didn’t care and told the waitress to mind her damn business!  Just kidding, we were nice and may have ordered another dish, possibly misunderstanding what she was communicating to us at the time.
Hard at work making the dumplings by hand, yum!

One common theme that you're going to see in our Asia vacation blog posts is food. Hawker stalls (they are like food carts in a more organized/building setting--kind of like a food court but with more personality :) like in the picture below were common.

Joanne has always been the more adventurous eater so it was no surprise to me that she dove right into trying the local cuisine. While strolling around on our tour of the city we stopped in a mall for a bite and she tried the dish below. According to the menu it is: "Nasi Kerabu with Ayam Percik served with raw ulam, salted egg and kerapak." I had no clue what that meant, but it was basically chicken covered in a curry sauce with a side of fish chips.  
We also ate at a bunch of different price points, but in Singapore everything was really expensive (even more than London!). So for our (very, very) high-end dining experience we ate at Wolfgang Puck’s steakhouse which was conveniently located in our hotel.  Like Las Vegas and Beverly Hills, Singapore also had a CUT.  Because we anticipated spending our four year wedding anniversary in Narita Airport, we figured CUT would be the perfect place to celebrate our wedding anniversary in style.
Some pre-dinner selfies...

For starters, we had the Bone Marrow Flan because it’s too hard to turn down bone marrow…

And the Maple Glazed Pork Belly, Fuiji Apple-Yali Pear Salad. Excuse the dark photography, I didn't want to ruin the ambiance ;)

We each ordered a steak, with Joanne settling with the Filet Mignon. I went with a Rib Eye.

For desert, we enjoyed a soufflé.  The wait staff really made our dining experience memorable with their hospitality and attentiveness.  Our wine glasses were never empty and we never felt neglected.

After dinner, we decided to go watch the Germany v. France World Cup match.  As recommended by the concierge, we made our way to Clarke Quay (which the locals pronounced "quackie quay"), which was similar to Fourth Street Live in Louisville, Ky, or Power Plant Live up in Baltimore, Md.  Bottom line, there’s about five blocks of bars all clustered together. 

The atmosphere was pretty crazy when we got there, considering the combination of soccer fans, alcohol, and it being a Saturday night.  Overall, it was a pretty good time drinking Tiger Beers and doing some prime people watching on the outdoor patios.  There were plenty of people puking and falling down all over the place, which is the only way to enjoy the Singapore nightlife.

Our first stop on our “Brioni Southeast Asian World Tour” was merely a warm up for the next couple of days.  After two days of eating, drinking, and taking in the sights (yes, we did some sightseeing although we took very little pictures in Singapore, darn you jet lag!), we made our way to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

We were lucky enough to navigate through Singapore’s Woodlands Train Station safely to make it to our next destination.  That little experience was another memorable story..basically we entered customs though the bus line, not the train line like we were supposed to. After discovering our mistake, they invalidated our stamp of entry and we were then escorted by a customs agent to the right area. That's what I get when I choose to follow my wife who opts to walk first then look later.

See the guard rail below? We walked through on the right when we were supposed to wait in line on the left. Whoops.

From Singapore were were going to be traveling via overnight train through Malaysia. A shot of me in front of my "bed." There were curtains you could draw for more privacy.

A view from inside Joanne's sleeping "nook." They didn't have anywhere to store the luggage so Joanne opted to put our suitcase in her nook since it fit!

The train traveled to the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, while we slept. At this point in our trip, Joanne and I still hadn’t killed each other – yet another miracle!  

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