Sunday, March 08, 2009

In Search of the Perfect Nook for Coffee and A Book - A Day in Randomness

I had the Saturday all planned out in my head – a nice toasty day, white sands, blue seas, the wind in my hair and hot coffee as I settled to finish ‘The Hours’. I was going to go to Changi Village, a sleepy locale close to the airport, by the sea and if it was anything like the scenes I had seen on my drive into Singapore on day 1, could be close to paradise. I had read and re-read the scene where Clarissa steps out into a spectacular New York morning about 3 or 4 times. I was getting a feel for the book, and all I needed was a great place to settle into for me to fully devour it.

I had a late start. Ok a really late start! Grabbed a sub, caught the MRT and I was on my way. The sky grumbles, here and there. But my excitement cannot be dampened. I reach Changi Village. Changi is really sleepy. And the sea – grey and murky. This place is nowhere close to what I had in mind. I notice a sign that says ‘Coastal Walk’ and indicates a stretch of beach. So I decide to check it out. 30 minutes, and a kilometre of sweaty walk later, still no sign of my dream. I realized I had grossly mistaken that Changi would be like ECP.

Sleepy sidewalk in Changi Village

What to do now? After a quick coke (the village may be sleepy, still expensive), I decide to get on the bus and try and get to the ECP. On the way, we pass the Changi chapel. On an impulse, I get down. There’s no way I am coming back here – May as well take a look. Plus, there was a cafe attached!

Outside the changi chapel

Just as I get done with the chapel, the sky that has been ominously threatening with its growls and grumbles, decides to unburden itself. So, I sack in the cafe. Now my stomach is rumbling – but the menu is pricey. I order mushroom soup. What I really really crave is endless cups of coffee. Coffee that is strong and not milky. And doesn’t cost 4 sing a cup. I want my Kopi. Still, the cafe is quiet, and I manage to turn a few pages. And chat up with this westerner guy who comes and asks me where I was from. Apparently, he is right now based near Pune and travels to North East very frequently. A vague thought is hovering as we talk - I should get his contact or something like that. But I don’t. The rain stops. The cafe is pretty and all. But there is no feel. So I leave.

Stranded in the Bark Cafe

ECP? May rain again. I don’t want to go to Starbucks. My bus comes – I get on. The bus feels closed. I feel restless. The day feels pointless. I see a signboard for ECP. On an impulse I get down. I am in Bedok. Looks like a residential area. I just want to walk. Few more cafes have come in sight. All serve cappuccinos, Irish coffees, lattes and others I can’t remember. Not a sign of the simple, honest Kopi. I walk further. Ahhh – a Chinese food mall, with graphic designs of all possible meats in the world. My hopes rise a little bit. I run through the menu. And there it is – coffee, Hong Kong style and coffee , China style. I don’t know which one it is. But I say Kopi and she seems to understand. And then I look for something vegetarian. I want plain toast – but she can’t seem to grasp toast with butter by the side (as inferred from her breaking into a song-like squeaky Chinese). She asks if I want Kaya. I don’t know what that is, so I am dragged to the kitchen and shown Kaya :). Yes, a plate of Kaya toast and Kopi for me. All for a buck and ninety.

Kopi and Kaya Toast

There is Chinese music playing behind me and radio jockey talking in between. All slide into the background as I sip the coffee. And bite into the toast. And finally, finally settle to flip a few pages of ‘The Hours’ in soul deep contentment.

A random day, broken only by the monotony of my attempts in photography.

Me in Tang Tea House

Tang Tea House


Meera said...

Kopi and Kaya.. Nice one!! So how was the book and more pics plz.

Ms.N said...

Book is going good. The story is nice- but more than that are the thoughts expressed. Couldn't have been better put.

More pics - dont ask about that. IT seems that is the biggest travail of travelling alone :(!

howz the skiing coming along? where are picks of u on ur ....

Sriram said...

Your cup of coffee looks very tasty .. :) .. Crave for strong coffee ?? No Expressos available in Spore?? its nice to read your blogs of Spore.. feel like I am almost there...
Btw.. read this..

Ms.N said...

well... there are expressos. actually, i am black coffee person vs. an expresso shot. But this one is strong, but also slightly thicker than black coffee. And also a cheaper than starbucks :)

Sriram said...

I once had expresso in Coffee world and it sucked majorly, bcos they didnt know what expresso was... They brewed it with more water and made it americano (or simple black coffee).. True expresso is the strongest kind there is.. just a small shot of strong coffee... I cant tell you how much i enjoyed the italian expressos... I've never tasted anything like that in any place.. :-) ... and Any coffee place is cheaper than star bucks.. Starbucks is the most overrated and expensive coffee place, although i must admit I like their white chocolate Mocha and their collection Star Bucks city mugs.. I have a good collection of those from all the bigg cities i ve visited.. :)

~S~ said...

Nice! Kaya is coconut egg jam and one of my all time favorites!

Ms.N said...

yea- never though coconut burphy like stuff and bread butter went together. i just established it didng have meat :). didn't know it had egg though :(!!!

Anonymous said...

Nice looking blog and thanks for linking in my post.From one coffee lover to another,I enjoyed this post on kopi and kaya, reminds me when I tried kaya for the first time and wasn't certain what I was eating..

GMG said...

Hi Ms.N!
Some days are better than others, but the pictures are always excellent, and you look great on them... No worries!! ;))

Blogtrotter has Akbar’s capital city for you. Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Anu Karthik said...


You traveling on your own in Singapore, or rather should I say all over. Love the enthu and the fact that you are actually doing what your passionate job!