For love of free gift with purchase

24 04 2011

After four hours of shopping, this plate was my reward.

I DIDN’T realize just how much of a sucker for free gift with purchase I am than when I was standing in front of the cashier supervisor at Takashimaya on Orchard Road, and was flatly told, “No, we’re already closed.  You’re past store hours.  He (the sales associate assisting me) should’ve called in your purchases before 9:30 PM.  We could’ve left one register open for you.”

Takashimaya on Orchard Road

So with the lone sad face I had to make in Singapore in about a couple of weeks, I stared at large bottles of Ralph Lauren Big Pony Scent #4 – declared by leading fashion magazines as the best-selling male fragrance in the country – and Ralph Lauren Limited Edition Polo Blue.  Worse, I had to bid the “gifts” adieu – a weekender duffel bag embroidered with a multi-colored polo player and big pony and a toiletry bag in navy blue.  My love for these freebies is warranted.  I have an all-black Kenneth Cole weekender that has been with me to three countries and served me well for over eight years now.

And my love for these freebies made me spend almost half an hour deciding which between the two scents to get, only to end up settling for both.

The doorman cordially bid me good night and the sales associate told me to come back the following day.  I just managed to crack into a shy smile.  Because the very moment I turned around on my way out of their humongous doors, I knew it would be close to impossible to keep any promises.  The following day was already full of plans, it was practically bursting at the seams.

I found my way back on Orchard Road and with one quick glance on a couple of pages of my kikki.K Daily Notes, I told myself that I wasn’t doing well on my pasalubong (homecoming presents) list.  I knew that shops close at 10:00 PM, so to make the most of the last half hour, I crossed Orchard Road, went into Paragon Mall, and ran like crazy to Longchamp.  I could at least get Mama’s present finally.

When I went into Paragon Mall that night, they were setting up what appeared to me as a stage. A couple of days back, Friendship took my photo beside that "public art" and the floor was so clear.

Something about beating a deadline – in this case, the last 30 minutes of mall hours – could make the the last nudge to move me from indecisiveness to unusual resoluteness.  “I’ve got to get that last piece of the Longchamp LM Metallic in gold, small tote.”  I navigated the escalators only to find out that Longchamp closes an hour ahead of the mall.  Bummer!

My shopping night started at Ion Orchard, then Takashimaya, then Paragon. This shot is up the escalator ride. I just find the view, in person, to be breathtaking. I love malls, I can't help it!

 

Armani Exchange. Went here for a leather bag.

 

G-Star Raw is my nephews' favorite T-shirt brand.

 

I was so surprised to find Alessi, a personal favorite, at the top level of Ion Orchard. Of course I went straight to the wristwatches.

By that time, the grumbling of my tummy could no longer be drowned by the excitement over a still tick-free shopping list.  So, with the last 15 or so minutes, I ran from Paragon to Ion Orchard, praying frantically that there would still be someone open among the 22 stalls at Ion Food Hall, home of my newfound favorite, Food Opera.

I hit the escalators and was instantly hit by the sad metaphor of my life – everybody was on their way up, I was on my way down.  Hoping against hope that there was still something to grab and bite.  I made about at least a couple of rounds of the place trying to convince myself there would still be one noodle place open.  By the second time, I couldn’t ignore anymore the polite offer of the elderly man at the Tian Tian Hainanese Curry Rice stall.  All the others had closed.  So many of the chairs and tables had been folded up.

I ordered a plate of three of their “specials”.  I asked for fried rice, braised beef with shiitake mushrooms, and chili tofu (which to me could have very well been “mapo tofu”).  I was really famished so an extra helping of plain steamed white rice was a must, along with curry chicken.  I asked that my rice be topped with curry sauce, the one the chicken was in.  Instead of ladling it onto the rice, the man took a small bowl and with one swift motion of his wrist, made a fresh concoction from six wide-mouthed stainless steel bowls that contained different sauces that ranged from some form of oil, to some form of concentrated curry.  The resulting sauce?  Awesome.

A plate of three specials – fried rice, braised beef with shiitake mushrooms, and chili tofu topped with sautéed Vidalia onions.

 

Curry chicken. Do you see the flecks of crushed fresh red chili?!

I asked if they had drinks and was told, “No.”  Fortunately for me, one of the “Aunties” overheard me, and gestured for me to follow her.  Once at her stall, she removed the covers from the cash register and from some of the fruits and asked what I fancied.  I asked for fresh lime juice.  She made me a tall glass.  She was so kind I wanted to hug her.

Finally, a drink!

In the middle of all the cash registers ringing (everybody was tallying up the day’s sales), all the mopping, and all the wiping, I had my meal.  They would steal glances at my way.  But they let me be.  I found it funny that four hours onOrchard Roadyielded nothing.  Because of too much comparison shopping.  Because of my indecisiveness.

So in between bites of the curry chicken, the crunch of the Vidalia onions that topped the tofu, and chews of the shiitake mushrooms, I resolved to take a vengeace on shopping.

After a dismal night of shopping, I came home to this sight at the lobby of my hotel, Royal Plaza on Scotts. This arrangement of votives and pillars never failed to soothe me.

 

I loved these light installations made from paper. I think it was paper.

 

This grand staircase, left of the lobby, leads to the business center and the hotel's lounge/bar named Heat.

 

What I wore to shopping. The T-shirt is at least ten years old! Got it from Bossinni. The navy blue golf shorts is eight years old. Got it at a Ross outlet in the States.

 

In my multi-colored "not shoes" Sanük, I stopped at this huge mirror in front of Havaianas, and snapped a shot. I wouldn't say I... struck a pose. Hahaha!

 

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

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