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Nancy strolling around Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX

To find out how we booked this insane $300 trip from LA to Singapore…click here!

Our flight left Los Angeles on Wednesday, 1:45pm. We had two long legs to this flight, an 11-hour journey from LA to Tokyo (Narita Airport), with a very quick stop to catch a connecting flight to Singapore. All this time, I had this stuck in my head that the flight from Tokyo to Singapore would be about 3 hours long. Wrong! It was close to 8 hours.  This made it a very long day of travel. It’s a good thing that Japan Airlines kept us fed and hydrated close to 24 hours of flying.IMG_5008

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Traveling to far distant places also allows me to watch movies that I don’t get to see in the big screen. For these two flights, I watched Spotlight, Wonder Woman, Hidden Figures, and The Intern. Even with all those movies, I still had an opportunity to sleep for about 4 hours on each flight. Overall, it was an easy flight from the US all the way to Singapore.IMG_8570 2IMG_8570

We arrived at Singapore’s Changi International Airport close to 1am (very early Friday morning). Since we had no checked luggage, we headed straight to immigration, and after a couple of minutes of basic Q&A, we made our way towards the lobby where my cousin, Joey, waited for our arrival.

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Joey and I reconnected on Facebook over 5 years ago. We both couldn’t remember when we last saw one another. It must’ve been in the early 80’s – so we’re talking over 30 years ago. Joey’s mom and my dad are siblings. I do remember seeing his mom, Tita Linda, during a 2000 visit to the Philippines, and for sure, I don’t remember seeing Joey then. To be honest, I could not have put the puzzle pieces together back then. It was a blur.

Fast foward to 2017 when I booked our trip to Singapore, I thought it would give me a perfect opportunity to reach out to Joey so we could meet during our visit. From the get-go, he already offered his apartment to me and Nancy as a place for us to stay. We exchanged many messages over the past few months, and a few phone calls via FB messenger. We agreed on an itinerary for our very abbreviated visit, a visit that would sure tire all of us, but heck, we were on vacation.

Once Joey saw us, we started to chat and made our way outside where the cabs were located. We made our way towards Pasir Ris, it’s the section of Singapore where they live, very close to the airport – about 15 minutes away.

IMG_4886IMG_4889IMG_4891IMG_4892We arrived at their apartment close to 2am, and as we drove towards their apartment, he pointed all the local eateries, hawker centers, that were still opened at that time. I had my eyes and tummy set on going there. We brought our stuff upstairs to their apartment on the 3rd floor. Miriam aka Yam, Joey’s wife, woke up and welcomed us. Their 3 kids were asleep. She encouraged us to eat downstairs, while she stayed with the kids.

How convenient was it to have these hawker-style eateries right then and there? So convenient. We opted to go with the nearest stall and ordered Laksa (coconut soup with fishcakes, clams, noodles with a bit of spice), while Nancy order Hokkien Prawn Noodles. That was our very first meal, made right on the spot at two o’clock in the morning.

We didn’t stay out too long. Joey had to work in the morning, and we had to get some sleep. We all returned to the apartment. I struggled to sleep. That was just me. I am like that whenever I’m in a new place – hotel or house. So all I did was closed my eyes and rested.

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I got up around 7am, their 3 kids were already getting ready for school. I met Nathan and Liam. Their youngest, Kiefer, stayed home as he had been sick for the past couple of days.

By 9am, before Joey went to work, we all decided to go downstairs for breakfast. Not exactly a simple breakfast, but it was Asian breakfast galore!!!! I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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After breakfast, aaaahhhhh that’s when it hit me. Weariness….there! I went to bed around 10am and woke up close to 2pm. By then, we also got ready for the rest of the afternoon’s adventure…and made our way to the city. We opted to take Bus #518. From Pasir Ris, it took over an hour, but there was no sign of any bumper to bumper traffic. Amazing. On a Friday….nothing!!! No traffic. We arrived at Marina Bay Sands and met up with Joey close to 4pm. We checked in to our room on the 19th floor. we had panoramic views of Gardens by the Bay. It was gorgeous, a very clear Friday afternoon.

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From L-R (Nathan, Kiefer, Yam, Liam, and us)

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We decided to head down to walk around and take pictures. It was humid, I had forgotten how humidity felt, thanks a lot for the reminder! HA!!! We made our way back to the hotel and opted to stay around the area for dinner. The option that evening? Din Tai Fung Singapore. We waited for about 20 minutes but it was worth the wait. We ordered Xiao Long Bao, Hot n Sour soup, and a few other favorites. That was delicious. I expected nothing less from Din Tai Fung.

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After dinner, we walked outside for a bit to enjoy the Singapore skyline, and shortly after, Joey and family headed back home. Nancy and I stayed and had the rest of the evening to enjoy the rooftop pool at Marina Bay Sands. What a perfect evening to be dipping in a lukewarm pool. The views? Just majestic….the colorful skyline. Hard not appreciate this architecture from the 57th floor. It was magnificent. We stayed in the pool area for a couple of hours until the lifeguards told us it was time to go. Not a bad first long day in Singapore. We were nonstop!

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