Parks will always have a special place in my heart. I remember ‘my park test,’ back in the days when courtship still existed between boys and girls. It’s for fickle and undeveloped hearts: If I could not feel kilig or connected to him in the most intimate place I knew, then I probably did not like him as much as I wanted to. A crude setting for the (mis)aligning of expectations meet reality, depending on how you look at it.
Now those boys have grown into men and letting the guard down doesn’t feel as easy as it used to. But parks, they always remain blissfully free, ready to welcome you when you choose to return. A public place to be private with your thoughts, regardless of the who or the what that runs through it. It’s ageless as it is genderless. A park belongs to everyone and no one all at the same time.
So for this one Sunday afternoon I was part of East Coast Park, which I regret not visiting sooner especially since it’s a decent walk away from where I live. Ironically, I’ve never come across this synonym — beaches as parks — in the Philippines before! Weird. Sand and surf is part of our upbringing! I’d love to have some more park-culture in the Philippines! In Singapore, where there is a lack thereof, it felt good to hear waves crashing again, even if it’s only on reclaimed land. Faux fun under the sun!
I have to hand it to the Singaporeans — they know how to fully utilize their spaces. Hence, a beach + park + food center + fishing + camping + biking + rollerblading + skateboarding all doable in one leisurely afternoon.
While topless men jogged with their Nike kicks and children whizzed by on roller blades and skateboards, we biked. As a kid biking was always my preferred mode of transportation. Controlled freedom perhaps? I can’t find my balance on a board. This is also the closest thing I’ll get to getting behind the wheel.
The trail rides along the perimeter of the park. There are jetty’s to break up the 2 hours we spent covering almost 15km. They are for docking ourselves (and not just boats) in. While we were on the go, some people chose to stay motionless. There are different ways to pass the time.
Like eating! Dinner was sting ray with sambal (chili) sauce, which is a must-try in every famous hawker stall in Singapore. It’s like the Uncle pre-orders everything, because he already knew what I wanted before I asked.
While you have hawker staples (like satay, duck, noodles, oyster omelette etc),
… there are also hawker specialties and they obviously differ per place. To add to my satay checklist is Satay beehoon, a cultural fusion between Malay and Chinese, moreover a fusion between my penchant for peanut sauce and noodles! The last satay relative I tried was satay burger. I’m starting to think you can replace anything with satay. Perhaps even memories of