Part 2 of our travels - 6 countries to go!
Singapore, a country famous for its cleanliness and efficiency, and upon leaving the airport we weren't disappointed. We immediately noted the city's hi-tech fascination and clockwork precision train schedule. TV screens filled the train platforms and each time a train was ariving a video would play showing passengers how to correctly board the train. This video would also be accompanied with a song with a child-like melody singing, "Train is coming, Train is coming, stand back, join the queue and enjoy your ride!" It was an amazing difference to the London Underground train system that's for sure. When on the train a light would blink on the approaching station on the wall so you know where abouts on the line you were, and just to top it off above the doors on each side of the carriage it would let you know which side of the train you were to get off, how considerate of them :D
We were heading into the central part of Singapore city to the part known as, 'Little India'. Here we were going to be staying with a couchsurfer. We could have stayed in a hostel here as it wouldn't have been as expensive as NZ or OZ but there were a lot of couchsurfers listed in Singapore and as we were staying only for a couple of days we firgured we may as well. Our couchsurfers name was 'Kuni' from Korea, a shy but thoughtful man who hosted couchsurfers all the time. There were actually 3 other surfers while we were there, he hosts people all the time and has estimated that he had already hosted over 350 people within the last year! We haven't quite understood why people do it as much as that, but with Kuni I suspect he is pretty lonely being away from home himself and living alone.
Our 2 and a half days in Singapore were pretty much spent sending our winter clothes and souvenires home that we wanted to keep, this of course gave us the opportunity to empty our bags as much as possible, throwing away anything we didnt want or need and sending home the rest. We guessed it would be a lot cheaper shipping stuff from Singapore instead of NZ and OZ and we were right. From NZ it would have cost $120 for 6.5kg, whereas it cost $60 from Singapore for the same weight, so it was definately worth holding onto it that little bit longer.
The rest of the time was spent shopping. We needed summer clothing which we have very very little of. It's hard not to shop in Singapore as there is a ridiculous amount of malls! Seriously a different mall every 100 meters or so, these malls would have absolutely everything. Some weren't like your normal malls with lots of different shops, the mall would be just one shop, with each floor containing different items. When looking for my birthday present I knew I wanted a watch as Fay was getting extremely annoyed with me constantly requesting the time from her. Well... I was truelly spoilt for choice. Towards the end of one of the floors was a whole area dedicated to wacthes. The section must have been the size of 3 tennis courts and seriously without exagerating imagine there were over 50,000 watches. Every watch make has it's own section and in some cabinets it looked as though they has been poured in by a bucket, some of them weren't cheap! Eventually I found the watch that called my name and bought it. Though of course I had to wait a few days until my actual birthday grrrr.
We would have liked to of stayed in Singapore for my birthday, but we looked into accomodation but it clashed with the F1 Grand Prix and accomodation was all booked out everywhere! We didn't want to outstay our welcome at Kuni's and knew he had more guests on the way, so almost reluctantly we planned out Malaysia border crossing adventure. I say almost reluctantly because Kuni's apartment was on the 8th floor of a complex that overlooked much of Singapore. His apartment was basic but lavish and the complex had a very swish swimming pool for all the guests to enjoy! We had really struck gold with couchsurfing.
Singapore was a great place to begin our SE Asia adventures as it eased our way into the other world while still having the luxury of being in an English speaking country, and the introduction to the Indian, Chinese and Malay food was just the beginning...