Scrambler in Singapore.
Well, there you go. As I sit at Changi Airport (which I know far too well), I am reflecting not on a sad goodbye, but instead a phenomenal weekend that picks up again in two weeks, as we trade the sweaty heat of Singapore for the dry, cool shade of Shanghai. Let me explain.
I ventured south to visit with the Weine and Big Mike, who have just relocated to this fertile little stretch of land, famed for its chicken rice, Raffles, tax haven status and near constant swamp nuts. Friday saw Weine and I punch out for the obligitory Orchard Road shop, before hitting up Duxton Hill for phenomenal Mexican food and then a few old school cocktails with Michael at his amazing bar, 28. I had met Michael on my last trip, and I think his rum and bourbon bar could be my favourite watering hole in all of Asia. He and his wife run the place with unbridled passion, and the addition of an old mate (Hayley) made for a topsa (and tipsy) evening.
Saturday dawned: Straya Day. An early morning bikeride led into an 11am first beer, and a massive breakfast BBQ fry up. We then had a quick swim before heading to Laneway Festival. And what a location: after walking through the utterly surreal Gardens By The Bay (underneath the enormous metal trees covered in ferns, with the bizarre and wonderful Marina Bay Sands in the background), we followed the bass to the festival. Over the next 9 hours, we sucked down a skinfull of beers, vodka straight from the Black and Gold sunscreen bottle we'd smuggled in, and infinite amounts of Vitamin D, thanks to a near total lack of shade and a sun intent on reddening the hoardes of underdressed teens. Shout out to Karly for the VIP access, which provided shorter drink queues and much needed cooling off.
Band wise, Of Monster & Men were phenomenal, Japandroids were unable to create the sound of their monster album (which sucked, because I was really hoping they'd be amazing), Kimbra was a whirling ball of color and energy (and sexy as hell), Real Estate were too mellow for the early evening, and Alt J were a MASSIVE let down (plagued by tech issues, and then clearly pissed off and not wanting to be there). But then Bat for Lashed arrived and ripped the roof of the place, producing an incredible live act with perfect vocals - not a bad job considering what a range the albums show. Perfect. Then we left, because Weine was getting sandy (it was well after her usual 7:15pm bedtime).
Sunday saw a Dempsey Hill brunch, a trip to the National Orchid Garden (where I broke a tiny pineapple) and a one year old's birthday party (context is everything). Monday saw a beautiful walk surrounded by monkeys, turtles and mega fish, and a whiskey tasting at 1045am, because apparently common sense drinking limits do not apply at Changi.
I ventured to Singapore twice last year, and the prospect of returning had me in a few minds. However, I have even more love for the place now, and cannot wait to host my friends in Shanghai in a few short weeks.