It used to be a frequent occurrence, these escapades that Fistri and I embarked on. Whenever our schedules would permit, we’d fly off somewhere. We’d escape from our respective realities and let our problems hang for a while. I distinctly remember trips to Lombok and Manado, where we unplugged and took in the local culture and landscape. Now the set-up is slightly different, as I’d relocated to Indonesia so schedules have become even more difficult to synchronize.
Fast forward to Friday mid-morning in September. I am in a Blue bird taxi – one of the most reliable taxis in Indonesia – heading to Soekarno-Hatta airport from Kalimalang, which is at the opposite end of the airport. Traffic is nice and easy until we hit Tebet and everything crawls not like Disney’s Turbo before the transformation. It has been more than months since I’d been into town and the traffic situation has, apparently, deteriorated; it is only 1030 in the morning and it is rush hour traffic. After an hour or so, it was smooth cruising to the airport that I even had more than enough time to enjoy a bowl of udon at Sakana Japanese Restaurant before heading to the check-in counter.
Singapore is an idyllic weekend escape destination because, first, it is such a short flight – close to an hour and 25 min – from Jakarta and, second, there is always something new to do within the next 72 hours. Alive Museum, explained my gal-pal Fistri, is one of the latest attractions to keep visitors busy in the Garden City. It wasn’t a disappointment. As Fistri commented in her Facebook page, “…I definitely recommend them than the Trick Eye Museum (in Sentosa) – more space to move and more exhibits, and the door guys (at the entrance) are really nice. They tell you that the exhibits take an hour so they tell you nicely to go to the loo, which is just next door.”
I got to stop a bus loaded with the global head honchos; hang on for dear life from a pole suspended above the city; and soar through the air in a house with the cute kid from the movie Up among other quirky situations.
The downside is when the museum gets packed and taking snapshots means having to wait for the multitude before you to finish or bear with the photo-bombers who unceremoniously enter the picture frame.
New food places are also part of the Singapore landscape. Fluff Bakery is at the corner of Jalan Pisang. From afar, one can see if a queue is in place, but, fortunately that Saturday afternoon the queue was remarkably absent much to my glee. I rushed in like a lover rushing to the arms of her beau – cupcakes work up my romantic, simile-writing side – and proceeded to gawk at the bakery. Then Mama Fluff – owner cum baker – materialized from the kitchen and I was star-struck, which is quite a rarity on my part. She was the bubbly baker I imagined her to be; her bakers were equally exuberant as they greeted and packed cupcakes. Fluff Bakery is only a buy-and-go bakery. A few doors away from Fluff Bakery was a serendipitous find. Cake Love offers shoppers and tourists alike a haven to cool their heels after walking about the city. Although they also serve cupcakes and cakes, my curiosity was piqued by the Red Velvet waffle topped with ice cream, which proved an excellent choice. Together with the chocolate syrup and scoops of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, the waffle was not par for the course. It was sweet but not to the point of saccharine, and crispy with every bite.
Catching a show was part of the escapade to-do-list, and I finally caught “Potted Potter: An Unauthorized Harry Experience”, a parody of the hit “Harry Potter” books by JK Rowling. That the show condenses the seven books into a 70- minute show and has an interactive quidditch game piqued my interest, goading me to book a ticket to Singapore and book a seat Raffles Hotel’s Jubilee Hall months in advance. There is also the fact that I had missed the show twice – when they performed in Singapore some time back and when they also performed in the Philippines. It was a riot – the good, side-bursting kind.
Escapade completed. It is truly imperative to escape from a world that is teeming with bureaucracy, inanity, and whatever makes a place untenable. An escape over the weekend is, without a doubt, what a doctor would suggest when you’re just about ready to hurl the red ball pen at the next person that knocks on your office door despite the aroma of lavender fragrance oil wafting through the air. Escapade two should be just around the corner.