The Other Side of Sentosa

Since I’ve become Sentosa Islander, I regularly visited that beautiful island in weekly basis. But this time was different.

I left home around 4 PM, planning to do some evening run in the beach. Arrived at Harbourfront Bus Interchange few minutes later, I immediately chose and took the bus with “Sentosa” sign on it. There was a small text “To Sentosa Cove, for residents only” but since the bus was full of ordinary people and the guy let me in, I got in without second thinking.

I realized I really took the wrong bus when the bus turned left in a junction where it usually turned right. I passed a golf course, and a several very big satellite dishes, just as in NASA movies. Then I arrived at the terminal: an elite residential area.

I wanted to go back to Palawan beach, but taking the bus route was too far, the bus only went back to Harbourfront, and there were no other bus stops heading to Palawan in between. Then I decided to try walking the other route: the east side. In my pocket map, it were all sands, meaning undeveloped area. But the local wall map said there is a road leading to Tanjong beach.

I needed to take the Cove Dr (it’s a street name). To make sure, I asked a security guard of a residential complex, whether I can take this Cove Dr road to Tanjong beach. He was a bit hesitated, then asked permission to ask his boss. He called his boss, then reply me with “Yes, my boss say for walk can lah, but not for car and it’s veeery far. You can take the other way to go there” (he pointed the normal way).

“No problem, I’d like to try. But it goes to Tanjong beach?”, I replied.

“Yes can of course, but veeery far!”

“It’s okay”. And I walked despite his hesitation. Along the way I watched many halfway done resort, and private landed houses. Sometime I saw people riding bicycle in this quiet area. After 20 minutes walking (it’s not very far anyway, at least only one “e”), I can already see Tanjong beach. But alas, the access to there was fenced; may be this what he meant about “cars can’t pass”. Then I started to look for small pathway. Indeed, there is one way aside, through small jungle. Nearby was small amenities for construction workers (toilets, etc). But again, it was closed. Probably if there were people, they would let me pass. But since nobody there and the closure was difficult to open without breaking the structure, I decided to go back and take the normal way.

Well, then I go back again to the bus terminal, taking the normal way back. Before exiting, I took some pictures. Included were some construction site by Lippo group, and the big dishes I mentioned before.

My pictures tell more: http://picasaweb.google.com/pascalalfadian/TheOtherSideOfSentosa

Science Centre

To maintain my IQ above the MNI (Minimum for Not Idiot) level, once in a while I need to visit geek-er place than the usual ones. Then, here I was in the Singapore Science Centre.
I called most of my friends to accompany me going there, but only three were dare enough to come: Rika, Nico, and Andres. So we started at around 2PM, buying the combo ticket of the Science Centre itself and the IMAX theatre of around $13 something. For the IMAX movie, we chose “The Alps” which plays at 3PM, so we have one hour to visit the Science Centre (SC) first, watch the movie, and go back to wander around in SC.
Most of the first one hour we spent at the optical illusion section, in which we could see many, err, optical illusions. Some illusions are nice, but the others makes my head a bit dizzy (focusing too much at certain exhibit). Then we spent few minutes in electrical and nanotech section
Then we headed to the theater. Unlike regular theater in which you see 16:9 rectangle as the screen, in IMAX you see the inside of a sphere as the screen. That to say the screen is half portion of sphere. With this arrangement, you can feel yourself “inside” the movie, because as you see other directions you see the environment as well. The movie was about the Eiger mountain which part of the Alps, somewhere in Europe. My friend recommended this movie rather than the other one, and for me it was good enough. It is sponsored by Holcim (not important leh).
After watching, Rika had a quick lunch and we continued again to the SC. Then we visited sections about energy, global warming, sounds, lego, etc. In fact there was more to see but around 5PM, there was an announcement saying the SC will be closed at 6. So we rushed to more important sections and took some glances only. We were still there to look around until few minutes after six, in which some uncle came to kick us out (politely of course). Finish.

Even you think the story is not so important, I hope you get the morale: [1] come there earlier (it opens at 10AM), and [2] take the IMAX movie that plays after 6PM (there is one at 7PM).

Singapore Science Centre is located at N° 15 Science Centre Road, Singapore 609081.

In Search for Pascal (Kent Ridge Park)

Prologue
This Christmas, should be a healthy holiday. I didn’t have any plans nor appointment in the morning, so I tried to use the NUS facilities that I just got by holding a student card. Therefore I prepared from home bringing one additional shirt and swimming equipments.
When I reached there, I entered gym and start excercising for half an hour. Then after, I tried to use the swimming pool. It’s good. After finished, I thought, why not continue trekking for a complete “triathlon”? I was thinking of HSBC Treetop in MacRitchie Reservoir. But before, I need to get some info in the library.
In the midway, I found a “Kent Ridge Park map” sign. I took a look, and found an interesting thing in a map: There’s a spot inside the park named “The Pascal”, hmm.. interesting.. Then, off we go to Kent Ridge Park!

Kent Ridge Park Trail
There are two ways to go to Kent Ridge Park. One is through the walking path by the Science Park Dr. The other one is running path, by the South Buona Vista Rd. I took the running path, even though I didn’t run. Differences? In Science Park you see buildings, whereas through South Buona Vista you can see trees on your surroundings*.
After 15 mins walk, I reached the Kent Ridge Park entrance, with a, um, I don’t know. Is it a missile launcher, or a tank? Nevermind. So I start walking, following a path that leads me to “The Pascal”
After few minutes walking, I found a small lake. In the map there are two lakes inside this park, and the lake I found should be the small one, although it is still quite big for me. So I stopped and took some pictures of the peaceful lake. I was tempted to take my own picture, but there was nobody there. So I tricked it by setting my camera on timer and put it on a dust bin. A bit hard and dirty though, but result is okay (see pic above).
Then I continued my journey. Unfortunately there were not pretty much signs or maps ahead, so I just followed the directions recorded in my mind. Eventually I’ve got out of the park and reached the Science Park. Hmm, where is that “Pascal” condo. Nope, it was just me. I just thought with the good name as “Pascal”, it should be a condo or good housing.
But I can’t see nothing but office buildings. I looked around for few minutes there was no sign of Pascal. Then I thought of going home instead. I waited at a nearby bus stop, near the Mendel block. There was a guy there sitting. I thought he was waiting for the bus as well, but even before I asked him, he already said “The bus stop to MRT is across the street; I’m just sitting here”. Then I walked across the street to the bus stop. In the bus stop I read the route, and there was another bus stop named “Aft Pasteur”. Hmm.., suspicious.. I recall again there is “The Pasteur” building near The Pascal. Then I changed my mind. It was so close! So I searched again. But it was not easier thouugh, I even has to come back to the same guy sitting at the bus stop and ask where is the place.
But after few efforts, I finally found “The Pascal” building. It was not a beautiful building though, nor a condo. But it was good enough as an achievement. It was an office building. Turned out the buildings here are named from famous scientists name. Pascal was in one block with Pasteur, Mendell, and Maxwell. I wanted to take picture in front of the building, but there were some people working there and I felt bad to disturb them. But anyway, I’ve met my goal. Yay!

Pictures from Kent Ridge Park in: http://picasaweb.google.com/pascalalfadian/KentRidgeParkDec2008

* Bonus of Indonesian traditional song lyric:
Up! Up! To The Peak of The Mountain
Up, up, to the peak of the mountain,
High, it’s very high!
Left or right I only see..
a lot of pine trees (rep 2x)

Khansama Tandoori Village

This is one good Indian Restaurant I found in Singapore. Well, if you don’t like Indian food/style, don’t go here because (at least for me) the food tastes very authentic and the ambience is very India-nish. While waiting for your meal (or eating it), you can watch the Indian dances or listen the music from the TV and sound system provided. Near the dining area, there are some statues of Indian people. Hmm.. not sure if it’s a representation of folklore or something.

Price is around $20 for lunch, depending on the order. Good thing is the restaurant serves my favorite dish “Gulap Jamoon” though it’s a bit expensive.
Khansama Tandoori Village is located at N° 87 Science Park Drive, #02-21 The Science Hub, Science Park 1, Singapore 118260.

Clementi Sports Hall

This government-subsidized sport center provides many facilities such as badminton courts, pingpong tables, and even gym.

Gym may not as good as California Fitness nor Fitness First, but has enough equipment for people to build muscles or merely aerobic excercises. The best thing is the price. On weekdays it’s only $2.5 per entry, compared to at least $100 / month for the frachise ones.
Badminton court is good enough, but I don’t know exactly the rental fee (usually I just join the group from my office).
Pingpong tables seem good enough, but I’ve never tried.
Clementi Sports Hall is located at N° 518 Clementi Avenue 3, Singapore 129907.

East Coast Park

To be honest, I don’t really like beaches in Singapore. As you see towards the sea, all you see is tankers (and water). A little exception for East Coast Park, because it has many plenty attractions here.
Many people come for jogging, watersport, cycling, and,.. rollerblading. Given its location that is not easily reachable, only people with private car ofter come here. By public transport, you need to take MRT to Bedok, then take bus #401 to go there. Remember that bus #401 only operates on weekends and holidays, with shorter operating hours (you can see the SBS website for more info).
Last time I went here for playing the rollerblade. My friend kindly took me there by her car, made it faster and easier than public transport. The rental fee was (oops, I forgot.. somewhere between $10-$20 per two hours — we cannot rent one hour only). As other parks in Singapore, this park also provide BBQ pits.
Yet with all the facilities, I still don’t recommend this park if you are a “backpacker-style”. The difficulties to go there is not really satisfied with the attractions. Just go to your nearest park, or visit Batam!

KBRI Singapura (Indonesia Embassy in Singapore)

The Indonesia Embassy in Singapore is located amidst the executive landed-house complex in Chatsworth Rd, just near the shopping heaven Orchard Rd. There is no direct bus stopping in front of the Embassy building. You need to walk around 500 meters from the bus stop (you can take bus #111 from Queenstown MRT).

The office opens at normal working hours, observing both Singapore and Indonesian public holidays. One interesting thing is during the 2008 Vesak Day, it differs by one day between Singapore and Indonesia. Therefore, the Embassy closed for two days. How lucky.
For foreigners, there is usual visa services, and for Indonesian they can also process immigration matters such as passport extension or address change.
Yearly, the Embassy closed at least twice for the Indonesia’s Independence Day. The formal ceremony falls right on the 17th of August, and the next week would be the “party” for Indonesian workers working in Singapore. The second one is called “Pesta Rakyat” or (people’s party), inviting all Indonesians to come in. When I said “all”, means really a lot. Last time it was reported 9,000 Indonesians, mostly works as housemaid visited the Embassy for party. During the party, there will be an ID check. Only Indonesians can come in.
KBRI Singapura is located at N° 7 Chatsworth Rd, Singapore 249761, Republic of Singapore.

Hort Park

There are many parks in Singapore, and this Hort Park is one of them. But unlike other parks, Hort Park is mainly man-made. This park is more of an architecture showcases with “greeneries” as the theme. Many indoor/outdoor design companies put their sample product here for the visitor to “ooh” and “aah”. Though the designs may not affordable for most people, at least we can see the beauty and relax a bit.

Just after the entrance there is also a “poolside” restaurant providing Vietnamese food, as well as small field and a “

ballroom” specialized for wedding.
During the weekends, this park is filled with people having picninc, children playing, or even a small Christian service.
To get here, you can take bus #100 from Commonwealth MRT. Stop just before/after Alexandra Arch (picture on the left).
Hort Park is located at N° 33 Hyderabad Rd, Singapore 119758.

Mustafa Centre

Though located in the Little-India area, the nearest MRT is Farrer Park MRT. To go correctly to this place is a bit tricky. When I first came in, I went to the “wrong” Mustafa, which I thought was the correct one, as it was a shopping center as well and use the same name. The “wrong” one also located just at the main road, so you can easily spot it. But this “wrong” one does not have as complete items as the other one. For the “other” one, you need to follow the main road for a bit, then turn left (if you go from Farrer Park MRT) to a small alley then enter from there (you will pass “Mustafa Cafe” before you find the entrance)
The 3-level store (including basement) has a lot of varieties. From the regular items that you can find in Fairprice or ShengSiong, to jewelries, perfumes, clothes, bags and Italian-chocolates, they are available here at an affordable prices. If you are Indian girls/women, you can find lots of Sarees here also. If you don’t like Sarees but still Indians, don’t worry because there are a lot of packed Indian foods as well: Maggi-s, Muruku, etc.
Last time when I was there, I bought an old-fashioned Casio watch for only $23, but hey! it’s water resistance! The other time I bought 3 packs of Lindtz chocolate for $10, with the catch that it was two months left before expiry. But I expect to eat those chocs in few weeks anyway.
Electronics are good also. Though not cheaper than Sim Lim Square, but the quality is better. for t-shirs, they have them, but I’d suggest to buy at Orchard Road instead (cheaper).
Conclusion, Mustafa is a shopping haven if you have limited budget or don’t really care about brands. But be in mind to fill up your stomach before you go here as meal are generally expensive here.
Mustafa Centre is located at N° 176 Syed Alwi Rd, Singapore 207704