Singapore Slings in Singas
Trip Start Jan 04, 2008
130Trip End Dec 17, 2008
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Driving down the main highway which is impressive in itself - think potted plant and manicured trees in the central reservation - we noticed another obsession of the Singapore residents - shopping. Rows upon rows of different malls and shops lined the streets; it seemed fairly obvious there and then that we were going to like this city.
After checking into the hotel we decided to go for something to eat. After wandering around a few malls for about an hour we finally settled on some crispy duck, wantons and some hot and sour soup which was very nice. We headed back to the hotel via a bakery (getting in some pain au chocolat for the morning) for an early night, fairly tired after the traveling.
The next morning we found a coin operated laundry on the net to do some much needed washing and then headed to the Vietnam embassy on Leedon Park to get our Vietnam visas. The embassy was in a really nice area with some amazing houses, both in the old colonial style and modern, if you lived in Singapore this was obviously the place to be.
Again, the visa process was more than efficient. We just filled out a form and handed over our cash and photos and were told to come back the following day to pick them up, in all it took about five minutes to sort it out, unlike a permit application in Bermuda!!
After the Embassy we headed to the main shopping district of Orchard Road and to find the laundry we had looked up on the net. It was very hot and humid and after walking for only five minutes we were a bit cranky, only to find where the laundry was supposed to be was a building site. To prevent the ensuing argument Maud said she would go back to the hotel room and wash the clothes there and then go to the pool whilst I could carry on down Orchard Road taking in the shops. We needed a bit of time apart and it seemed the best idea, so I headed into the malls while Helen took the underground back to the hotel. The malls here are amazing with everything you could need in one place, times that by about 20 different malls and you have a shopping haven. However, I seem to be reluctant to by anything these days due to the additional weight it adds to the backpack, little did I know that on the way back Maud had found a Marks and Spencers and Dorothy Perkins !!
Getting bored of walking around the malls I made my way back to the hotel, taking in some of the sights of the city. It's quite a strange sight to see old colonial buildings and Asian influenced places amid the skyscrapers, but somehow it all seems to work.
After getting back to the hotel room which now looked like Mr. Changs Laundry, we decided that night we would go to Raffles and then get dinner at the top floor of the Swisshotel to take in the views by night.
We walked across to Raffles and managed to get through the front door, we soon left though after seeing the prices of dinner at the piano bar,
The first thing you notice about the bar is all the peanut shells scattered all over the floor, not overly impressed we crunched our way to our seats and ordered a couple of Singapore Slings.
We headed across to the Swisshotel to see if we could get a table for dinner on the top floor, stopping to take a quick snap by our next hire car (see pic).
Feeling a lot better about the night in general and not wanting to let the flash packers down we ordered the degustation menu with wine pairings.
The next morning we headed off to pick up our visas, which as promised were ready and waiting, then headed back to Orchard Road so that Helen could check out the shops.
After an afternoon kip we headed down to the harbour front to meet up with one of Rob's mates Alex at Harry's Bar - the place Nick Leeson used to frequent. A little worried that he wouldn't be able to spot us we spent about half an hour looking at anyone who walked past who was 5' 8" with mousy brown hair, obviously he spotted US straight away. We had a few drinks and chatted about life in Singapore and were joined by his flat mate Rob and another of Pezza's mates Phil.
From there we headed of to another pub and got some pretty tasty Indian snacks. There was supposed to be quiz on, but we didn't seem to be doing very well at it and so headed to another part of town to a local bar that they seemed to frequent quite often, seeing as most people knew them by name in their. In a way it reminded us a bit of Bermuda and the Ex-Pat lifestyle, where you always meet up with someone who knows you in the pub.
After a few Hooergardens there we set of to Orchard Road to a nightclub called Romeo's. It was in a pretty dodgy building and we weren't sure what to expect. When we walked inside there was loud music and flashing lights and loads of girls dancing on stage. What we didn't expect was for Alex to turn around to Helen and say "apart from the barmaid, you are the only other woman in this place" hence maybe the club being called Romeo's. It was both amazing and disturbing to finally realize that we were in a bar full of lady boys, yet some of them amazingly beautiful and if we hadn't been told we wouldn't have known. Things were going well if not a bit uncomfortable until one of the men/women got a bit to close to Helen for her liking, so we hastily made a joint decision to call the night to an end. Thanks again to Alex and Phil for showing us the wonderful and WEIRD nightlife of Singapore.
We had to catch the flight to Bangkok the following day, and after sorting out some USD cash but getting the credit cards cancelled for the umpteenth time, we took a cab to the airport. On the way we learnt one more interesting fact about Singapore, those beautiful central reservations with potted plants and flowers could be moved in an emergency to provide another runway for the airport, this place was truly amazing.
At the airport we checked in but noticed on the board our flight was going to be delayed for about four hours. Not too worried due to the amazing facilities to keep us amused we went to the desk to be welcomed by a most apologetic women who confirmed the flight was delayed, but immediately told us we were being upgraded to Business class, how good is this place ?!?! We chilled out for the four hours in the airport, using the free internet and browsing around the shops until we boarded our business class seats and set off for the short 2 hour flight to Bangkok, it was just a shame it wasn't for one of our longer flights, ah well the free champagne compensated for that.
So next stop and blog is Bangkok. Hopefully this time I won't type for an hour only for Travelpod to sign me out and lose all my work. We'll blog again soon.
Where I stayed
Grand Plaza Park Hotel City Hall