Oasis again!

Trip Start Feb 17, 2005
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Trip End Feb 27, 2006


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Flag of Singapore  ,
Saturday, February 25, 2006

The 8 hour flight to Singapore passed by quite quickly, mainly because I became engrossed in my new book - Steve Waugh's epic autobiography. I'd managed to pick up the 700 page read on the cheap in Sydney, and I was confident that it would keep me occupied until I got home.

On arrival, the first thing that struck me was the humidity factor, which was worrying considering it was nearly 10pm at night! Luckily I'd booked into a fully air conditioned hotel, and somewhat extravagantly, chosen to stay in a "superior" double en suite. While "superior" might have been stretching it a bit, I couldn't complain for 25 a night, particularly as it had cable TV (an important factor considering the weeks mouthwatering Champions League fixtures).

After a good nights sleep, I enquired at reception about getting to Orchard Road, the main shopping hub of Singapore. I was surprised to hear that I had to get a bus to the Novena MRT station, followed by a train to Orchard Road itself - the hotel's website's map was certainly a little misleading! No matter though, as I eventually spotted a bus that was going direct which was obviously ideal. Unfortunately, I was unaware that you had to have the exact change, and the driver refused to accept my $2 note (which wasn't an unreasonable amount considering the fare was only 80 cents). When I asked a Chinese passenger for change, he looked at me as if I was from another planet, and the exasperated driver eventually let me on for free!

I got off the bus with everyone else, trying hard to look like I knew where I was going. It soon became clear that this was indeed Orchard Road, as gigantic shopping plazas lined both sides of the street. Although skinter than skint at this point, I still enjoyed wandering around the ten storey buildings that certainly put Doncaster's Frenchgate Centre in the shade! Contrary to popular belief, the electronics didn't seem that much cheaper than back in the UK, a fact that saved my credit card from getting a further bashing.

The highlight of my first day in Singapore came in the evening, when I went to watch Oasis again. By that time, I'd realised that taxis were the way forward as they were surprisingly cheap, and to say that they were abundant would be a major understatement. For some reason though, the drivers often had difficulty in understanding my accent when I stated "Fragrance Hotel, Balestier Road," and I even had to write it down on one occasion! Thankfully, the driver who took me to the gig understood the words "Singapore Indoor Stadium," so I arrived at 7.30pm despite the horrendous traffic.

I treated myself to a t-shirt from the merchandise stall before queueing up to collect my ticket. I casually asked a guy next to me if there were any support bands, and I was shocked when he said "no because Oasis are on stage at 8.30pm!" It was ridiculously early, and I may well have missed the start had I not engaged in this small talk as I'd have expected a much later appearance. In the event, I got to my seat with 10 minutes to spare and was looking forward to the performance (I'd opted to sit down as sweaty moshpits are a thing of the past for me, and I'd already done that in Brisbane anyway).

I couldn't quite believe it when the lights went down soon after 8.30pm, as the standing section was only two thirds full, and there were empty seats all around. Either Oasis weren't very popular in Singapore, or a lot of people had been caught off guard by the early start. I suspected that it was a mixture of the two...

The crowd were treated to another business-like performance from the band, but once again banter was virtually non-existent. I didn't blame them for the lack of enthusiasm this time though as the crowd seemed a bit subdued too, so it was six of one and half a dozen of the other. I got the impression that most of the locals near me probably only owned (What's The Story) Morning Glory as deathly silences greeted the likes of Songbird and Guess God Thinks I'm Abel, whereas the girls especially went delirious when Wonderwall and Don't Look Back In Anger were played.

The setlist was identical to the one in Brisbane, and my main criticism with Oasis these days is their inability to mix it up a bit when they play live. They've got such a great back catalogue, and I'd love to hear some early b-sides live rather than dated renditions of Champagne Supernova and the like. However, there were moments of greatness thrown into the mix as well, including another rousing cover of My Generation, and as a result I had a really good night out.

The next morning, I walked out of the hotel and flagged down a taxi within about 5 seconds - much less stressful than standing up on a bus full of Chinese people who won't give you any change! I asked the driver to take me to the ferry terminal as, according to my guide book, you could go to Sentosa Island by boat. I soon discovered that this was no longer the case, but in retrospect it was a blessing in disguise, as I crossed the water by cable car which was an altogether more scenic affair.

I picked up a map of the island and immediately set off walking along a path that passed dragon statues and dinosaur bones. Luckily a German couple passed me at an opportune moment as I wanted a picture besides an interesting skull on the ground, but the guy obviously wasn't a professional photographer as he proceeded to hold the camera the wrong way round!

I was surprised when I emerged at the end of the walk, for I was standing on a beautiful beach that was in stark contrast to anything else I'd seen in Singapore. Although it lacked the solitude of the beaches that Rie and I had recently discovered, and a couple of huge hotels formed the backdrop, it was still lovely walking along and hearing the waves trickle onto the shore.

The island is overflowing with shows and activities, and I passed an hour or so by wandering between them, watching the monkeys and climbing to the top of the Merlion Tower that stands head and shoulders above everything else. Sentosa is definitely a tourist destination if ever there was one, but where else can you venture inside a giant statue of a lion and peer out of its mouth? I'd certainly never done it before...

My 'must do' for the day was to watch the dolphin show, as up until meeting Gemma in Shortbread Cottage, I didn't realise that there was such a thing as pink dolphins. In fact, I remember ridiculing her assertions until she showed me her video footage, and since then I'd vowed to see them in the flesh. As it turned out, myself and the rest of the crowd were treated to a lot more 'flesh' when a girl volunteered to feed the dolphins, and emerged soaking wet in her newly transparent dress that left little to the imagination!

The ticket to the impressive dolphin show included admission to the nearby Underwater World, so I headed that way next, although I could surely be forgiven for feeling less than enthusiastic about it - I've been to enough aquariums in the last 12 months to last a lifetime! Sure enough, it didn't compare to Sea World on the Gold Coast, or the one in Sydney for that matter, but it was free and I'll never get bored of watching the sharks menacingly swimming around. It must be said that I've never seen as many camera phones in operation as I did when I was in the underwater walk through tunnel!

Soon afterwards, I made my way back to the cable car station as I'd done all I wanted to do, and I'd enjoyed the day out. I did make the mistake of trying to walk to the city centre after arriving back on the mainland, but I misjudged the distance and ended up getting a taxi back to the hotel, where I relaxed for the evening and watched football, pondering on the fact that I only had two more days travelling left...
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Comments

Peter Lee on

Amazing pics! It seems an adventurous place.

www.one-visa.com/

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