the gift of an adventure

When Nat turned 3 years old, we gave him a birthday gift in the form of an adventure. Last year, we held a birthday party for him and we gave him a strider bike. I thought we should try to celebrate it with a twist but still with a bang since baby Noelle has arrived.

The idea came about from the past few months. He has been seeing open top double-decker buses around Marina Bay Sands whenever we go to church on Sundays. He particularly liked the Hippo Bus because it had the most striking colour, red, as compared to the other versions. And of course the name was easy for him to remember as well. Whenever he saw one, he would excitedly exclaim, “Hippo Bus!” and then asked if he could take the bus.

And so for his birthday celebration, we planned a surprise for him. We brought him to Suntec City where the terminal was because the open top double-deckers were all parked there and it added to the celebration mood. Needless to say, he was pleasantly surprised. We boarded the bus with the ‘City Tour’ route towards Botanical Gardens and then Orchard Road. The wonderful thing about the Hippo Bus ride is that we could stop along the way at designated bus stops. So we hopped off at Ngee Ann City for lunch and window-shopping, and then hopped back on again towards Suntec City where we just chilled out at Starbucks, enjoying each other’s presence.  

After the break, he couldn’t wait to get back on the bus again. We took the same ‘City Tour’ route. The time was about 4pm and it started to drizzle a little. It was an awesome weather to be in an open top bus. In the Singapore hot weather, cool winds and slight drizzles are a blessing. My favourite part of the whole journey is when the bus travels near Botanic Gardens, along Cluny Road and Nassim Road. The huge luxuriant trees that line the road provide shade from the sun and shelter from the drizzle. The leaves just brushed by us as though we were in a forest adventure. The quiet calmness for that few minutes was enough to refresh our spirit. I hope this tranquil imagery will form a special memory for Nat even at his tender age.

The bus ride was comfortable and the pace was good but perhaps I would have liked the recorded commentary to be related more to our history and culture. I was rather taken aback to hear about the high cost of living in Singapore and information about how much an apartment will cost in the city. Most of the time, it felt like a news report on our current economic status. I have confidence that there is more to our city’s history and culture despite being a young nation. Also there was so much construction going on around the City Hall area that I felt I was given a tour of the latest construction vehicles and equipment. Nat was of course intrigued by it all and I guessed it couldn’t be helped if renovation works in that area are all happening at the same time.

The birthday bus ride ended off with a simple dinner of pork chop fried rice at Far East Plaza and jelly for dessert from a fruit stall. My wish for my dear son is that every year will be a journey full of wonderful adventures for him.

If you are intending to go on the Hippo Bus ride with your family, I recommend that you sign up for the “Super Duckies Club” for your child as there are big savings for the whole family. It also includes the Duck Tour, which will be our next family adventure.  


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