Dinner at the Orient Express—or The Eastern & Orient Express
Got invited to a fancy dinner at The Eastern&Orient Express train last Saturday. Apparently, the E&O has these “dinner trains” three times a month where you pay heaps of money to have a fancy dinner onboard the first-class amenities of the train while it travels from the Keppel Road station in Singapore to Malaysia-and back. So not only do you need to dress up for dinner, you need to bring your passport as well. V
It was pretty exciting because the name itself Orient Express connotes Old-World Victorian glamour. The train looked the part, and even the station was an old colonial building, so it added to the whole ambience. I can’t help feeling that we should have been loading old LV or Goyard trunks into the train in keeping with the whole scene.
I only have a few photos because these were taken from my friend’s camera phone. Pathetic, right? That was the only camera between the two of us…. Haay, I really should buy a P&S na! Soon, when I have the money, promise. Anyways, here are some pics…
Gift shop at the TCDC, where I think the Coven and the D&M will drool over the fab stuff, hehe…I love the red&blue canvas tote with the whale design seen on the bottom right. But I couldn’t buy coz it was freaking expensive! Around 3,500 baht! Too frakking overpriced, but it was cute and big enough for all the junk I put in my bag. Haay, next time…
This one is a divider made up of paper plates at the Thailand Creative and Design Center, where they also have a very state-of-the-art, kickass, up-to-the-minute design library that will make design-mad friends (that’s you, twin!) froth at the mouth with envy. The TCDC lib had all the latest design and archi books and magazines, a DVD library for members who want to while the afternoon away watching movies, and Macs for those who need to surf, write, or just watch YouTube, hehe…Too bad I don’t have a shot of the library. I must have deleted it. My bad!
Preview of my Thailand trip#2: This is the surreal White Temple in Chiang Rai, built by this very flambouyant artist in honor of the Buddha. When he was asked why he built this temple? He answered: Because I’m rich and I can. Good an answer as any, I guess.
The temple is huge, gaudy, breathtaking, strange, surreal…I think you have to be there. See those hands reaching out in the foreground? That’s supposed to be the suffering people in hell, trying to get out—or maybe drag you in. If you look closely, you’ll see all sorts of hands—human, demonic (as in with claws, etc—like that hand, below right), monstrous (with fur or hair), and even robotic (or maybe just in armored gloves). Inside, it’s all murals. Some panels have Neo (of the The Matrix) and Superman in them. Surreal, I tell you.
I just came back from a trip to Thailand last Sunday and as the plane readied for landing at Changi, it just hit me that hey, this is gonna be my home for the forseeable future. I mean, yes, I know on an intellectual level that Singapore is gonna be home for the next year or so, but I guess on a visceral level I still consider myself a visitor here—the Philippines is still home.
As the plane readied for landing, and I can hear the sighs of relief of people who are at journey’s end and looking forward to home, it struck me that while I was looking forward to a good night’s rest, it wasn’t the same as going home. Don’t get me wrong. I like Singapore and love my friends and I’m comfortable where I live but I still don’t feel like I’m part of the fabric of life here. Does this make sense?
During the trip I was always asked where I was from and there’s always a pause, barely discernible, before I answer Singapore; I guess I’m still not used to saying it. And when people hear where I’m from, I always get a confused reaction. I guess I don’t look and sound Singaporean. So I always follow it with, but I’m Filipino—and then their faces clear. All this has made me a bit unsettled—like a teenager trying to figure out where she belongs.
Anyways, enough moping. I’m here and I’m happy—for the most part—and I get to go places I won’t otherwise see. That’s a good enough reason to be here for now.
Lambchops at Cyma restaurant at D’Mall. Yum! Had lunch there on our second day and the food was great! For some reason, the food at Cyma Boracay tastes better than what they serve in their two other branches in Metro Manila. (Not many people know that Cyma, which has branches in Greenbelt 2 and Shangri-La Mall, started out in Boracay.) I don’t know why that is, but these lambchops were fabulous. I also scarfed down some fresh cucumber and tomato salad drizzled with vinaigrette, some pasta, and the divine moussaka. Sigh. Now I’m hungry!