Believe it or not, I have never set foot in Singapore’s Chinatown. Not once. I have been to Singapore many times before which was years and years ago. Especially when I still lived in Jakarta, it was even more often then. My young and shallow mind did not let my feet venture too far away from Orchard Street area and did not let myself to do things other than shopping. Now I’m older (and a little bit wiser), I want to experience new things. I want to see more places and I want to do new things. Here’s me, wandering away from the shopping area and off to Chinatown we go…
Just a bit of warning beforehand, I am going to blog more photos and things from our recent Singapore holiday. Let’s just call it my Singapore series. There will be photos from various places, and things and people; it’s going to be an interesting series. Three weeks ‘holiday’ has given one a lot of opportunities to do photo walks, especially when one’s parents (who live in Jakarta) and sister (who lives there with her family) were miraculously happened to be in the same spot during the most of the said three weeks. Suddenly one’s main responsibility during the holiday, which was to entertain the kids, no longer was one’s own. A shared responsibility was a wonderful thing.
My father and Hubby came along as my entourage for the day. As soon as we got off the taxi, the typical smell of chinatown and the arrays of colours hit us, and engulfed us. There were many people around but not too packed even on a Sunday. It was not very hot that day; just cloudy and humid. The normal stuff.
Alternating between taking photos, looking/and touching the many interesting items, and haggling, we walked through the small alleys of this area. Too many things to look at. Once you noticed that the shops sell similar stuff, then you began to see other interesting things. A lot was going on in Chinatown. A Mid-Autumn Festival was on when we were there, which probably explained the festive lanterns hung on the streets. Or maybe they were there all year long, I don’t know. They were very pretty, so I don’t mind either way.
Not all shopkeepers were happy with us taking photos of the shop, or the item they sell. My trick was to look at the stuff as if to buy – in my case I did want to buy, and did end up buying – then started to chat with them. They were generally friendly (especially after a purchase). After a bit of chit-chat they were usually a bit relax about us taking photos. Once or twice I just went in and asked permission to take photographs straight away.
We walked and walked some more. We passed (and went into) two temples in the area (details of which would be in the future Singapore series posts). Our energy level went pretty low when we decided to look for a place to rehydrate and re-energize. We wandered off to the Ann Siang Hill area. Such a different feeling to the previous streets and alleys. The buildings were beautiful; most were old (built between 1903 and 1941) but have been elegantly restored. Again, they were of many colours, with vibrant window shutters. Many shops and cafes were located in this area. I was told that this place is so ‘alive’ in the evening, and I bet more beautiful too.
We finally rested our weary feet at PS Cafe in Ann Siang Hill. The place looked like it’s closed from outside. Once we were in, it was as if you were somewhere else, and NOT Chinatown anymore. It’s cozy and dark, and fully air-conditioned as soon as we stepped in. I was happy just to stand there in a fully air-conditioned room doing nothing, while we were waiting to be seated. Humidity can be so tiring! Soon we got our refreshments, and couldn’t help thinking, what a perfect place to conclude the day.