Trip Start Jul 31, 2010
52Trip End May 31, 2011
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Where I stayed
Ralph's and Franz's lovely apartment
Sadly, our time in Singapore has been too short this time, it had to be a flying visit as we need to be in KL on the 4th August. Never mind, it has been great to start our trip in a familiar place and to get used to living out of a suitcase from the comfort of our friends' apartment.
So, what have we done in Singapore? We landed at 6pm and thanks to the super efficiency of Singapore airport we were happily ensconced in Ralph's flat by 7ish (after a hair-raising taxi ride) sipping champagne and catching up on gossip. Then a short train ride took us to Boat Quay for a pleasant stroll along the river saying no to all the restaurant touts and then plonking ourselves down for some nibbles in a restaurant called Indochine followed by a saunter to the Fullerton Hotel. I did attempt to take some photos of the sights at night, but sadly my photography skills desperately need improving. Hopefully Franz managed to take some better photos and can email them to me.
Yesterday, Ian and I took a slow walk to Chinatown, and walking in Singapore is worse than walking down the long corridor at school - Singaporeans walk more slowly than our girls do at school and that takes some beating! Ian was reminded of the need to avoid any conversation with a shopkeeper unless he really wanted to buy something from them; I managed to extricate him from the camera shop (what other type of shop would it be for Ian) 20 minutes later. I had taken photos of the outside of Sri Mariamman temple (built in 1823) on a previous visit but never thought to go inside; I'm glad I did this time as the outside only hints at what is to be found inside (see photos). The ceilings and shrines are painted in glorious Technicolor, and the temple is dedicated to the Goddess Mariamman, known for her power in curing epidemic illnesses and diseases. I was a little worried about leaving my shoes on the street outside but then remembered that this was Singapore and besides, who would be interested in a smelly, battered old pair of Birkenstock sandals!
For lunch Ian and I were on route to a Chinese supermarket when I stumbled across a small street stall selling the tasty treats we used to get on street corners (see photo later), I still don't know what they are called as I don't speak Mandarin and the stall holder didn't speak English but they were as tasty as I remembered
We decided to take a cable car to Mount Faber after our guidebook described it as spectacular, unfortunately spectacular is not a word I would use to describe the views. I did take some photos but I don't like them enough to share with anyone. Included in the price of the cable car ticket was a return trip to Sentosa. I went to Sentosa with my parents back in 1985 and hated it then when it was just a couple of small hotels and a beach. Now it is developed hell and I certainly won't ever be returning. Think of the kitschest thing about Disneyland and make it 100 x kitscher and without any of the fun!
So what is a girl to do after a disappointing sightseeing visit? Only two things she can do - hit the shops or hit the pool and as I am on a budget this year I decided to hit the pool. Bliss.
Night time saw us walking around Clarke Quay which is a mad jumble of restaurants on the riverside and then off to Lau Pa Sat for some street food. Great satay and mee goreng and a great vibe. It was buzzing with a mixture of Singaporeans, expats and tourists and the tables outside the satay stalls were absolutely full to capacity - or so it seemed to my untrained eye- but within seconds we were assailed by a 'waiter' who showed us to a table in his patch and placed our order for some of the best satay ever
Tuesday - I decided to chill by the pool in the morning and then pay homage to Orchard Road. Quite a difficult thing to do when you are on a budget and have no space in your rucksack for any purchases anyway. I settled for some window shopping and a stroll (I'm getting used to the snail pace of the Singaporeans) from one end to the other. Sorry Marie; sadly the hotel we stayed in on 15th November 1985 has just been knocked down to make way for something new, however Peranakan Place still survives, although this small row of Chinese Shophouses seems a little out of place flanked by massive and modern Department Stores. Ian was seduced by the apple store and after playing with the new ipad for a while started talking about buying one and this from the man who hates all things apple.
But I couldn't leave Singapore tomorrow without a trip to Newton Circus. I used to spend many an evening here with my school friends back in the day, so poor old Ian had to listen to me reminisce.
Early morning flight tomorrow so need to pack my bags.
I have been playing with a new app for the iphone called shakeItPhoto so have been taking pictures of strange things. Hence a picture of my foot whilst sitting on the train from Newton Circus. Expect more strange photos later on. Can recommend this app though - Mark if you are reading this I expect a comment about this app! You are the app king!