Food, Glorious Food
Trip Start Sep 10, 2007
55Trip End Aug 2008
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I was mildly disappointed that immigration didn't take my shoes away for a bit of a wash like they had done in Sydney (Auckland's mud is highly toxic, or something) but it was more than made up for by being welcomed off the plane by Kat's sister, Hannah, and her partner Matt who have recently moved out there to live.
It was late at night and we hadn't got any Singapore dollars so it was lovely to let someone else shepherd us through and pick up the taxi fare. But the best surprise when we got to their pad...man it was pretty swish, definitely picking up the title for poshest place we stayed in our year away
The apartment complex even had its own Karaoke room which residents could book out. I mean, how snazzy is that?!
After a night's rest we got up reasonably early and caught the taxi over to the east of the island (incidentally, the place is about the size of the Isle of Wight so you can't really travel for much more than half an hour) and caught the ferry across to Bintam. Is lovely little place where you hire bikes to make you sweat. To be honest, although unusually cool for Singapore, I really didn't need any help as I was doing pretty well all by myself.
Whilst working out the quickest route back a friendly local saw our puzzled expressions and came over to help us and took us on a tour of the island and a bit of off-roading.
Returning to the mainland we stopped off at a small hawker stand to tryout some of the local tucker (pretty damn fine!) before making our way to our first museum since NZ
Back to the flat for a few lengths in their pool, and I mean only a few as the thing was bloody massive, before retiring to their private roof top terrace and having a G&T in their Jacuzzi (see, I told you it was posh). It was pretty special being up there, bubbling away with clinking glass in hand and then having the local version of the Red Arrows treating us to a private display as the sun started to set. Well I say private...the more pedantic may call it openly public but lets not burst my bubble eh?
We headed out for some posh nosh that evening before cocktails (somehow, no matter what we picked, me & Matt always seemed to end up with the biggest, gayest cocktails). And this pretty much set the scene for the rest of our time there. It was to be a dieters hell (not good for Kat going back to be fitted in to a bridesmaid's dress!).
The following day (Sunday) we went over to Sentosa Island for the poshest buffet I think you could ever get. If I wasn't so full from the food I'd have made far more of a dent on the free flow champagne, but when they have 4 different types of oysters and foix gras freshly cooked in front of you, you have to make the most of it. Well I say make the most of it....the more pedantic may point out that I didn't have any of those as they're pretty minging, but I did almost keep up with Kat at the dessert section with 2 platefuls!
We needed to walk off our roundening tummies along the beach after that, before taking in the majesty of the 60 foot merlion (half lion, half fish and the symbol of Singapore
That evening we headed to Little India where, on their only half day off in the week, all the Indian immigrants hang-out. It could have been massively intimidating as we were the only white faces amongst thousands of men (most come here alone to work and send the money back to their families in India) but it felt much safer than crowds in the UK. My guess was the fact that there was no alcohol involved. There did seem a disproportionate amount of men walking along hand-in-hand. We never worked out whether this was a cultural difference or a sexual preference thing.
From there we headed to the Arab quarter and an evening meal accompanied with a hubbly-bubbly pipe. We ended the evening having a drink in the most amazing bar. It was a huge art deco place about 3 stories high and looked far too posh to have people like us in there. The best bit, though, was that they had an ornate 3 story wine rack and if you ordered a bottle the "wine fairy" would get it for you. I kid you not, it is a woman dressed as a fairy attached to a couple of wires flying up and across to your bottle. At least, I'm pretty sure that's what happened otherwise they must have slipped a little something extra in to our hookah pipe...
We had a pretty chilled day the following day, heading to the Chinese district and around a museum showing the living conditions they had up till the 1950s. Amazing how they had families of 6 or more in single rooms no bigger than some public toilets. That night it was out for a curry served on a banana leaf, where they just kept on coming round and dolloping more and more food on your leaf
It was almost too much the following day as we started off with a massive breakfast buffet at the zoo. We'd booked in for this as you get to share your meal with a few of the local residents, in that day's case it was a python and an orang-utan mother with a young baby. Kat even got to feed the elephant a snack (obviously a Singapore elephant as it was eating loads!). The zoo was really great, reaffirming that they can be fun and feel as if the animals are happy and well treated after Sucre and the dying kangaroo in Sydney.
It must have been good as we were there for over 5 hours before heading back to the Jacuzzi.
For our last day we headed out to the botanic park and round the Orchid gardens, very civilised. They create flowers for visiting dignitaries and we both agreed that of all the ones we saw Margaret Thatcher's was our favourite. I wonder if they deliberately created one with red twisted "horns" for her....?
Our very last thing to do was....you guessed it, we went for a bite to eat. We couldn't be in Singapore without doing the Colonial thing and so we headed to Raffles to enjoy high tea in the tiffin room.
When Hannah and Matt had finished work they joined us for a quick Singapore Sling in the bar and did the done thing by tossing some of the free nuts all over the floor before heading over to the airport and the flight home.
We had an amazing time in Singapore, Hannah and Matt really put themselves out for us, looking after us brilliantly and I can thoroughly recommend them to anybody passing through!! But a word of advice if you were thinking of heading there, don't eat for a week or do before...