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Exploring the Universe: My solo Singapore trip, part 2--Bras Basah Complex!

I deliberately looked for a hostel in the Bugis area because I had a mission. I've been reading about this place called Bras Basah Complex, filled with books, graphic novels and arts and crafts supplies. I can still remember how ecstatic I was with all the pens and trinkets I got when I explored Kinokuniya at Takashimaya during our first visit to Singapore.

My loot! Thanks for the Oh Comely mag, Patricia! I love Oh Comely, so sweet of you! :)

Welcome to hoarder heaven:

But first I had to eat lunch for sustenance. There was a Mcdo beside the complex and I was intrigued with the "Singapura Special", which had a beef rendang burger, rose mcfizz and curry shaker fries. I enjoyed my meal immensely, diet schmiet.

They had comfy chairs that I wanted to take home too:

Then back to Pop! Bookstore where I went a bit crazy with the pens. So many choices! I think I spent around 2 hours just testing the different pen brands and choosing colors.

I checked out the famous Cat Socrates, and fangirled when I saw the resident kitty, Chestnut. He let me pet him a bit before he strutted quickly to the corner, away from annoying human hands.

I wanted to live in that store but Chestnut might not like it heh. Check out how pretty the store is:

Art Friend is heaven! Arts and crafts heaven. Also, they had a sale (up to 70% off!) and I was just so lucky to be there during the sale period. When I entered the store I was saying sorry to my wallet since my heart got all excited. Here's where I bought my very first Copic Ciao pen. Still pricey despite the sale price, but it makes me happy. In heaven maybe I'd have a boxed set with all the colors haha. Also got myself a teal Derwent pastel pencil, which was 70 percent off and set me back around Php20. Score!

I'm a Danny Gregory fan so when I learned that he has a new book, An Illustrated Journey, I listed it in my booklust list. Basheer Graphic Books had a wide selection of artsy books and I think I whooped a bit when they told me they had a copy. The people there are so nice and helpful, and I wanted to buy the Lula and Uppercase mags but ran out of moolah. Maybe next time:

Met up with an lj-friend, puptea, who is also my snailmail pal! She was so cool and awesome and I'm so grateful that lj's such an enabler. :) We chatted over "sninner" (snack and dinner according to my gf heh) at Platypus Kitchen, where I had this amazing mushroom risotto. Then milktea at Koi, where I had ice cream milk tea with pearls. I can't forget that risotto till now since I love bacon and mushrooms. I felt like I've known her for a very long time. :)

I love visiting libraries when we travel (I wish we had one nearer where I live) and their National Library was absolutely perfect. I drooled over their magazines--they had a lot of interesting titles, and they were well-organized. Also, look at the names of the rooms, how lovely:

Collab between Maira Kalman and Daniel Handler! Found inside The Paris Review. Oh man, I wanted to read everything there!

They also have Zoetrope! (look, Sel!)

They had a section called "My Tree House", the World's 1st Green Library for Kids. It was magical. The kids (and adults) there are so, so lucky. If I lived there I would make Saturday my library day. I still remember being among the top borrowers at our school library during my grade school and high school years, and how comforting the library was, how it felt like home. When I was a kid we had a big ship inside the library and it certainly added to our sense of wonder and imagination. I miss those days.

This trip made me realize how much I enjoy exploration and wandering. Recently I've been walking a lot and learning more about the place where I now live. I also see myself going to more places and staying at hostels in the future.

Here's what I learned from my stay at a hostel:
1. Bring an eyemask and earplugs. And a sarong too. I was prepared with all three, but the light from the nearby bed wasn't turned off till morning and reflected on the walls near the area of my bed so it was still peeking from the sides of my eyemask. I contented myself with covering my eyes with my arms so I could fall asleep.
2. Please be considerate and think of your roommates as well. I was woken up in the wee hours of dawn (around 3 am) by a roommate who sprayed really strong-smelling perfume and it triggered my asthma and allergies.
3. Since you share a bathroom, it would be easier to dress up if you wore shorts or a skirt instead of pants when going to the bathroom.
4. Do not wear just a towel in the common room, even if you don't have any other clothes. We'd rather see a guy with dirty smelly clothes than a guy with just a towel on (see previous post). It's creepy even if you think your bod deserves to be seen by the world.
5. Aside from your big backpack with clothes and other stuff, bring a smaller bag to lug around with you containing your valuables for your peace of mind.
6. If you're shy and want to meet new friends, bring some local candy/snack. That's what I did. I had some guava and mango-tamarind candy from the RP (export quality) and I shared them with the other people at the hostel, and this was a great conversation starter. The guys from Holland haven't seen or eaten a guava and they were really curious about it. Plus, Pinoy Pride!

At the Changi airport:

Lemongrass with mangoes and aloe vera jelly. It was ok.

Inspired by this trip, I made a DIY scratch map, with the countries I've visited scratched off:

I'm really grateful for my supportive enabler partner, my folks, Niki and Patricia (for being gracious and wonderful guides), and all my other friends who encouraged me and calmed me down when I confessed how nervous I was. The Universe is forever awesome, and this world is such a beautiful, beautiful place. Till the next adventure! :)

Read part 1 here.


Posted by: Kate (katemacetak)
Posted at: July 28th, 2013 04:22 pm (UTC)

gah, I am totally fangirling over the National Library pics! The art store looks amazing too! I want to go to there!

Posted by: let's start the rainbowlution! (aphazia)
Posted at: August 2nd, 2013 12:53 pm (UTC)
kat mcleod

I wanted to live in the library!!!

Posted by: night_owl_9 (night_owl_9)
Posted at: July 29th, 2013 02:25 am (UTC)
Clara Oswin Oswald - show me the stars

"lunch for sustenance" - I love this! :D

It's creepy even if you think your bod deserves to be seen by the world. - So true. Ugh :P

The art store and the libraries look amazing! I really want to go now! And....was that Optimus Prime I saw? :D

Posted by: let's start the rainbowlution! (aphazia)
Posted at: August 2nd, 2013 12:54 pm (UTC)
kat mcleod

I think you'd love it there! :) Add this place to your bucket list! :)

Posted by: 3.14 (reve119)
Posted at: August 4th, 2013 12:19 am (UTC)

I always think it's interesting to see what McDonald's looks like in different parts of the world.

The library is pretty much my favorite place to be nowadays, even though the ones I frequent are not all that special. I just enjoy having books, DVDs (I get foreign movies), and other resources at my disposal, especially since I don't have much money.

Bringing some local candy is such a smart idea!

Posted by: let's start the rainbowlution! (aphazia)
Posted at: August 6th, 2013 12:22 pm (UTC)
kat mcleod

I wish we had a library like that here! I could imagine spending an entire day inside, just taking short breaks to eat and returning inside till it's closing time, haha :)

Posted by: kat (saber_kite)
Posted at: August 4th, 2013 10:41 am (UTC)

These are places that I haven't been to in Singapore. Must visit them when I go back. I spent a few hours in Kinokuniya and the art store in Takashimaya (?) along Orchard. It's both heaven and hell (my wallet still hates me haha).

Hello. I was doing some blog cleaning and I came across a comment that you left some years back hehe. :)

Posted by: let's start the rainbowlution! (aphazia)
Posted at: August 6th, 2013 12:22 pm (UTC)
kat mcleod

My wallet still hasn't recovered from my pen hoarding! Haha. I think you'll love Bras Basah Complex. :)

Posted by: patricia (puptea)
Posted at: August 6th, 2013 06:46 am (UTC)

so glad you had a wonderful time! ♥ it was crazy lovely meeting you, i can't wait until you come here again :) hopefully with your gf next time!

love what you did to the oh comely cover! it looks extra pretty now hehe. thanks for the washi tape, creative ideas and watercolour painting too :) you're inspiring!

also, chestnut is sooo fluffy! he wasn't there until recently, i think. now i wanna visit cat socrates just to bother him haha.

Posted by: let's start the rainbowlution! (aphazia)
Posted at: August 6th, 2013 12:25 pm (UTC)
kat mcleod

I had a super fun time with you--I wish we had more time! :) Use the washi tape! Will send you more when I can. :) Use it liberally for good vibes haha :) Chestnut is adorable. I kinda miss him! When you do visit him, take photos of him for me ha? :) Thanks again and hope we can see each other soon!

Posted by: austin_dern (austin_dern)
Posted at: August 24th, 2013 05:48 pm (UTC)

That's wonderful. I lived in Singapore years ago, and got to visit the New Seventh Storey Hotel in the Bugis area before it was torn down.

When I lived there McDonald's hadn't had a rendang burger, but it did have McSpicy Double chicken sandwiches that I couldn't get enough of.

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