The adventure (finally!) begins!
Day 1- Friday 12 October 2007
Arrived in Singapore at 6.05 am to emerge blearily into the growing humidity felt much like Darwin. Were stung for 10 kilos excess baggage hadn’t realized that the limit for Tiger air ways is 15 rather than the usual 20. In the panic of the last few days rushing around organizing money getting the car packed etc somehow we hadn’t looked at the amount of luggage we had for this early back packing stage of the journey before the car arrives but struggling through the teeming streets of Geylang where we had booked our first night's accommodation we began to wish we had!!!
After a total nightmare of a journey we resolved one of our first jobs would be to send a parcel on to the post office in Jakarta, to pick up when we have the car.
Geylang is a very colourful area probably as sleazy as Singapore ever gets, our hotel displaying hourly as well as overnight rates but very bustling with many great eateries. Had rice veggies potato and chicken out of a banana leaf for breakfast, and then staggered to the post office under a parcel of massive proportions so we are now travelling a bit lighter . Only hope to God we see it again!!
Took the MRT or train system (so clean ….probably due to the official big brother loud speakers ..constantly reminding you not to eat, drink run etc) to Little India which was really happening as the Indian festival of Deepavali (the festival of lights very important festival for Hindu community) had just begun. The lights and colours were amazing hope some of the pictures do it justice but was hard as streets were so teeming with traffic and people it was hard to get it all in as if you took your eyes off what was going on around you you were likely to be mowed down. Had dinner from a little restaurant fish curry (lovely) and lime juice ..which I had picked as I thought it refreshing but was more sugar than juice my poor teeth! And home to bed .. very tired Geylang was teeming with glammed up young ladies/transvestites…locked the door and collapsed into a well needed sleep.
13 Saturday 2007 –Monday 15 October 2007
Seem to have spent the last few days with a common theme….shops shops and more shops ….after a year in Darwin which (love it though we did for its many other good points) doesn’t even have a "real" department store …Singapore has more shopping centres than we previously thought existed. It really is a 24 hour city where time is money so it’s go go go. Had a look round the beautiful Paragon centre ..a designer shopping centre where the beautiful people (and their equally beautiful cars) hang out. Andrew was getting a bit panicky at this point but he got me out and I bought what I needed at the Bugis market down the road so I didn’t totally blow the budget.
A very helpful gentleman we met on the bus thought that we should be able to bring the car here (we were told that we couldn’t hence picking her up in Indonesia) so we took the trip out to the AA to be told we definitely couldn’t as there is a rule here banning anything like a campervan. This is unsurprising as there seem to be rules against everything else spitting ($500) littering ($1000) not flushing the toilet ($1000- how DO they enforce that one!) so I would be amazed if the Toyota wasn’t infringing at last half a dozen of them!
Afterwards took the bus up to Raffles on beach road. Absolutely beautiful a real relic of the colonial past you can imagine Somerset Maugham scribbling away here. We went into the Long Bar for a Singapore Sling..which was wonderfully decadent but 2 drinks cost more than we had spent on meals since we got here ! Headed back to Geylang and reality! Ate at a food hawkers where we managed to resist the frog and fresh intestine porridge (good for weight control!) and had clay pot chicken, chicken veggies and spices in one big pot which was delicious.
Sunday morning we were keen to see the bird singing we had read about in the Lonely Planet where bird owners take their birds for communal sing songs so we got up at the crack of dawn to take the MRT to Tiong Bahru only to find it is discontinued due to the dreaded bird flu (our LP being 2nd hand and so somewhat out of date.) Had a fairly relaxing day took the MRT to the Harbour front where we did a bit of research about the boat which will take us to Indonesia next week and took the cable cars over to Sentosa a holiday complex island a bit pricey but worth it alone for seeing the gorgeous concrete purple Mer-lion…only hope our pictures do it justice.
Despite the oppressive rules one really positive aspect of Singapore is the harmony between its diverse population a huge variety of cultures and religions seem to live together harmoniously – perhaps the rest of the world should try and tap in to whatever makes it work here.
Tues 16 October 2007
Took the bus to the river and visited the Asian Civilisations Museum which is a gorgeous old colonial building. Really good museum very interesting about Singapore’s early history as well as the rest of Asia.We then walked past the hawkers in the pricey water front restaurants and had chicken rice at BK’s eating house nearby. Went out on a bum boat for a cruise up the river , again worthwhile and we had it to ourselves as the weather has turned and the rain has been torrential. Wasn’t really a problem as we were undercover. Some lovely views of the modern Singapore skyline contrasted with the old colonial buildings.
In the evening walked up to the "No Sign Seafood" restaurant in Geylang. Though very busy as the only westerners we were quickly located to a VIP table (same as the others only set on a sort of platform at the back, and no doubt with different prices!) we had Singapore’s famous chilli mud crab it was really good, and a lot cheaper than it would have been at home.
Wednesday 17 October
We leave by boat for Indonesia on tomorrow morning so plan to spend today sorting out some washing and packing and visiting an internet café to get this all on the website . Don’t seem to have launderettes here, we asked one lady who had a washing sign out but her turnaround time was 3 weeks …not much use to us! Finally located a Chinese man who can give same day service! Spent our last night in Singapore in China town very busy and vibrant.
Thursday 18 October
Struggled into town this morning laden down with the camera etc..were far form popular on the bus.. thank God we got rid of that parcel! We don't want to change any more money and are using up our MRT cards so a taxi out of the question!
In the internet cafe/ gaming room now noise levels unbelievable. We catch the boat to Indonesia (Pulau Bintan) this afternoon...stay tuned the adventure continues.
Please see some of our Singapore photos below:
From the top: 1) Skyline from the river, 2) Asian Civillisations Museum
3) View from our room in Geylang 4) Anyone for Eminent Frog Porridge?? 5) Our 2nd car 6) The Mer-Lion at Sentosa