Last Saturday the fiancee and I went to East Coast Park (ECP) to celebrate our first year since I proposed. Originally planning on going to Sentosa via cable car to relive the proposal, we decided against it in the end. Among other reasons (truth-be-told, there was only one), it was because it was too expensive (of course, we all know that it was because I was stingy and didn’t love her enough).
Not wanting to disappoint her too much (just a little was fine), I told her that we’d still make our way down to Vivo for some (preferably window) shopping before we headed down to the East Coast. That way, we’d at least still be able to catch a glimpse of the cable cars, an activity I was sure she’d enjoy (if enjoying meant stirring up latent feelings of disappointment and longing, she enjoyed it plenty).
We made our way down to Vivo mid-afternoon, after watching a surprisingly addictive documentary called “Pawn Stars”.
We drove down to Vivo, which was approximately 15 minutes away by car. As we neared our destination, we caught our first glimpse of the cable cars, and I could sense the fiancee’s enjoyment level go up a notch or two (“so close, yet so far,” I thought I heard her say).
The time spent at Vivo was largely uninteresting. All I remember from the time spent in Vivo was walking and more walking, a routine only broken by a small meal, soon after which was followed by yet more walking (I guess it’s what girls call “shopping”?). We finally left the place just before 6pm (when the $2.40 per-entry carpark charges kicked in). (It was with great irony that our outing at Vivo yielded me a pair of shorts from a shop that drew customers in with a huge “Closing Down Sale” banner, whereas the fiancee went home empty-handed. Can I also note that it’s not the first time I went shopping with the fiancee with the intention of accompanying her spend her hard-earned dollars only for me to do so instead?)
At ECP, we were considering between two places, both ranked quite highly by hungrygowhere.com: 1 Twenty Six and Claypot Fun. We went to 1 Twenty Six first as it was the less likely of the two (by virtue of the reportedly steep prices), and were not disappointed — true to our expectations, the prices were as high as a teenager on drugs. As the fiancee said, at those prices, there were better (and fancier) dining places, so off to Claypot Fun we went.
The fiancee had heard about Claypot Fun from a friend. Overall it was a very decent place: food was acceptable for its price, the staff weren’t rude (you can probably tell my expectations of service in Singapore isn’t very high), and seating was relatively generous. There were really only two things that I would complain about: the first was that the cashier did not let us know that we could have been entitled to a 10% discount had we used the discount coupon found in one one of the million Big Splash pamphlets displayed at the counter; the second, more essential thing, was that they didn’t provide the sweet dark soy sauce with the claypot rice we ordered by default, instead providing only the lighter, saltier soy sauce (which did nothing to make the rice any less bland). Had I not finally requested it halfway through our meal after seeing another enlightened table having it, it’d have had to have been one of the worst meals we’d ever had.
After we had finished eating, we went for a walk along the beach. The sun, by now settling down somewhere in the west, provided a wonderful backdrop for a romantic evening. About a half hour of paktoring (I think this roughly translates — not that accurately I might add — to English as “dating?”) later, we headed to Starbucks for a drink. The fiancee had her usual fruit juicy thingy, and I had my usual latte (it always brings back wonderful memories of my time in Aussie).
We looked through some newspapers, and somehow we always came back to the topic of our jobs (sometimes I swear I’d kill to be rid of this bane called a “job” — (though I know others who’d kill to have one)). My job’s decent, and hers I’m sure, to her, is too, but still we’d rather be some place else.
We headed back to the car after our drinks, and she thought we’d be making our way back home. But then I wasn’t done yet. I brought the fiancee to a more deserted part of ECP, which really wasn’t that deserted, and pulled a rabbit out of my hat. I told her to look in the glove compartment, and there it was, a Rabbids (for the Wii) game. Surprisingly, she didn’t look so surprised, and it was only seconds later that’d I find out why.
It seemed that she’d seen the receipt for the game (when I passed it to her to get the drinks I think) in my wallet! Omg, right? To think that she’d counter my surprise with a surprise of her own. But as every magician knows (I’m sure they do), the key to making sure you don’t screw up too badly is to always have a backup plan, which I did. After some corny mushy conversation in which I enticed her to say the word “too” (I really cannot go into the details), I reached my hand to the back of her seat and pulled out another Rabbids game (they were both different episodes, of course), all the while asking her, “two? did you say two? you want two?”
Her counter attacked foiled, she was now genuinely surprised, not at all expecting that I had bought two games (she merely glanced at the receipt and didn’t check out what it really contained). But a magician doesn’t just stop at delighting his audience, he seeks to absolutely delight his audience! I still had one more trick up my sleeve, one that I was sure would make her glow with pleasure even more.
I told her to wait in the car, as I had something else in the boot for her (a lantern shaped as a pig — any resemblance to any person living or dead was purely coincidental). She happily agreed, by now engrossed at examining the two games I got her. I know, the lantern festival (also known as the mid-autumn festival) wasn’t quite here yet, but I when I saw this lantern at the stationery shop where I got the wrapping paper for her two gifts, I knew I just had to get it for her (she had indicated her interest in this lantern just the previous week at some other shop in Jurong; in turn, I had indicated my my displeasure at how much it cost. No purchase was made back then, but the serendipity of seeing the exact same lantern in Kovan did it for me).
Her eyes lit up when she saw the lantern (it might have been the candlelight). So off we went, lantern in hand, to the beach. There were more than a few curious stares, which I welcomed; doing things like this reminded me so much of Perth and the crazy times we had.
Many times the candle threatened to be blown out by the wind, but somehow or other it continued burning. We walked to one of those sea-wall things and sat there and talked for a bit before making our way back to the car, by which time the candle had pretty much burned itself out.
All in all, I couldn’t have planned this day any better. Sure, we missed out on the cable car ride (I was actually quite looking forward to it before my lantern plan came about), but this day’s certainly going to go down as one of the more unforgettable days in my life. And hopefully just one of the many, many wonderful days we will share in ours.