We've been in Singapore for two nights now, staying with our friends Lia and Matt. It's been so nice to be in a more home-y setting and to catch up with them. Beyond that, we've taken advantage of beautiful sunny weather to go out and enjoy the city. Yesterday, we started with a walk through the Singapore Botanical Gardens before stopping to eat pratya, a Malay dish of warm, soft bread stuffed with a variety of fillings. From there, we went downtown to see the famous Raffles Hotel, the home of the Singapore Sling cocktail and favorite retreat of the likes of the Queen of England and Charlie Chaplin. It was an easy walk from there to the marina, where we saw the Esplanade, a performing arts center in the shape of a durian fruit that is Singapore's answer to the Sydney Opera House, and the "Merlion" fountain (part mermaid, part lion.) We finished our walk at one of the largest hawker centers in the city. In order to keep things clean and orderly here, Singapore has moved all street food vendors into these centers, which make for great places to try a variety of foods. For dinner last night, we went to the Clark Quay area, along the river, which is lined with restaurants and bars. We feasted on chili crab, one of Singapore's signature dishes. Yum.
Today, we're hopping on a ferry to the small Indonesian island of Bintan.