After our trip to Malaysia, we spent the rest of the week in Singapore. Tim wanted to get a new laptop computer. He figures that with the travel he will be doing over the next many months, a laptop would be much easier to haul around and setup than his current desktop. But most laptop computers are totally inadequate for gaming. They don't have the hardware graphics acceleration needed to play any reasonable games. And Tim is a serious gamer. So Tim and I spent a lot of time researching high end laptops on the web. I was quite surprised to learn that there are laptops now that have pretty impressive graphics capability. You can actually buy a laptop with dual nVidia 7900's with SLI! Whoa! I would think that system would just melt right through the table, but it would be awesome for gaming. For reference, both Tim and I only have single 7600's in our desktop systems. And I think I have a pretty good gaming system. Although I must confess that an nVidia 8800 might show up on my birthday or Christmas list! Gotta get DirectX 10, ya know.
Tim thought he would see what kind of a deal he could find in Singapore. So we went down to Sim Lim Square, one of the two computer malls here. We were able to find a couple of stores that had the HP Pavilion model that he was interested in. But the price here was more than it was in the US. At least he got a chance to look at the system and the display. Eventually he settled on a Gateway system that was quite nice. It has an Intel dual core Centrino, 2GB of memory, DVD R/W drive, 1920x1200 display and nVidia 7900 graphics. He actually had a bit of trouble ordering it online and ended up spending quite a bit of time on the phone to get it sorted out. Bad news is that it wouldn't arrive before he left for Georgia, but he hopes to get it soon. It's a nice system though. Very impressive for a laptop.
We also hit all of the computer game stores in Sim Lim - and there are a lot of them. We didn't buy any, but Tim did comment to me about two games that he was thinking about getting. Turns out that evening when we gave him the presents we had been saving from his birthday (which was last month) it was those two games. Hey, can I still pick 'em or what! For those interested, they were Titan Quest, a Diablo-like action RPG and Eurpoa Universalis III, a turn-based strategy game. They both got really good reviews and look like a lot of fun.
When we went to Sim Lim Square, we wandered through Bugis Street on our way from the MRT. Tim hadn't shown much interest in all the fancy shopping malls in Singapore up till then, but this was more his speed. Bugis Street used to be an open air market but now it is covered. That's a good thing as when we were there it was the only day on Tim's visit that it really rained. It still consists of lots of tiny stalls all crammed togther. They mostly sell clothes and other stuff that caters to young people, with the usual selection of food and drink thrown in. We pretty well scoured the place checking out everyplace that had tshirts and souvenirs. We even covered the second and third floors. I hadn't been up there before. He did comment that it looked like the worst fire hazard he had seen on his trip.
That evening the four of us went down to the Cuppage Food Terrace for dinner. It is a large food court and restaurant area only five minutes walk from our apartment. There is a place there that we like that is a dual Italian/Mexican restaurant. Mexican cuisine is not common outside of North America anyway (although there are several places here in Singapore) but Italian and Mexican seems an interesting combination. But since we like both it is a perfect place for us. It has a really nice outdoor patio area and is never very crowded. We like the food, although on this visit Sandy tried a Mexican dish that was way too hot for her. So Tim and I ended up with seconds. The only other thing of note was when I went to salt my pasta and the cover came off the salt shaker and completely dumped on my food. The waiter was very aplogetic and was going to get me a whole new dinner, but I localized the damage and was able to eat 95% of my food without too much salt. Everyone figured that they forgot to tighten the cap when they were refilling the salt shakers, but I am sure that Mickey unscrewed it on purpose when he was here and it has been waiting for me since then.
The next day we checked out a brew pub near the convention center (more on that in another post). From there we took one of the standard tourist walking tours. We wandered through Suntec City. The fountain of wealth (supposedly the world's largest fountain) wasn't running again. This time they had a stage set up right in the middle of it. Don't know what for. Then we walked by the war memorial, the Esplanade and over the bridge. There are great views of the skyline of the Central Business District from there. We stopped for mug shots at the Merlion, the half lion and half fish symbol for Singapore. Then we walked along the river to Raffles Place and headed home on the MRT. Tim certainly got a lot of use out of the extra EZLink card that we have for riding the MRT. It was a good way to get around. It's cheap and convenient. Tim didn't mind a little walking. And it really didn't rain that much while he was here. We pretty much took the MRT everywhere and did multiple trips on it everyday.