What a breath of fresh air, in every sense of the word. It is not very often you come accross a busteling city, a city where international business is at the forefront and cultures colide, yet it remains clean, friendly an overall, dare I say it, a wonderful city.
We arrived from KL on after a comfortbale 8 hour journey in a fully air conditioned bus with HUGE seats. It pretty much set us up for Singapore. When we reached the border for singapore island, welcomed by a rather sizable customes building, it was rush hour and the crossing was packed. Any where else in the world and this can only spell 'long delays.' Not in Singapore. You jump off the bus, walk through a clean, welcoming customs office, and as quick as you get in, you're out the otherside and back on your bus. It seems Germany efficiency has some competition!
Off the bus and in a Taxi next stop, little India. We had been told this was the best place to say both for prices and location, and it did not dissapoint. Dunlop street was a wash with guest houses, eataries and bars. Despite drinkning being very expensive here, all the bars were and always are packed. It is a revelation here that people drink alcohol not to get drunk but for a past time, they have a few beers with friends over a few hours rather a pint in 6/7 seconds whilst ordering the next one!
So the first night we just crashed in a little place called fragrance. It is our first experience of dorm rooms and takes a little gettin used to, but, with no one getting drunk, it has been a gentle introduction to dorms. I am sure it will change in Aus!
As ever the first day we slipped on our walking boots (flip flops) and headed around the city on foot. It is about this time where our love affair with Singapore began. For a start, getting around is so easy. Even for someone of Bakers co-ordination, it is easy! We walked from little india, to the marina, over to the business district, back through china town and home. Home was now the aptly named Inn crowd, which if you ever go to Singapore I would reccomend over any other. Its friendly, has free internet, free breakfast, hot showers and above all is cheap. 5* reccomendation.
Anyway, Singapore. The china town has a completely different vibe to KL, it is probably twice the size but has teh same amount of stalls. The main difference is the sellers are far more relaxed, they realise if you would like to buy something you will come over, if you dont, you wont. It is also the cheapest place in town to buy gifts, souvenirs or general stuff. Be prepared to get your wallet out, spend not very much and go home with lots of stuff!!! We worked out is was cheaper to buy new, than wash old, which suits me fine.
On the second night we headed to Raffles, which is the most expensive hotel in town. Why you ask, well it is where the singapore sling was invented. The coctail itself is delicious, expensive when bought here, but delicious. What you do get however, is unlimited peanuts, a live band, a huge mix a people from all walks of life all with one thing in common, everybody is drinkning the pink coloured, fruit decorated, Singapore sling. All it needed was an umbrella and you could have been at club tropicana!
Unbelievably the weather has held out, a first for us in a city, saying that, as I write this, it looks like the world has ended outside and someone has just dropped a river on us. Still, we're off to Bali tonight so neither of us mind that much!
sentosa Island, a small man made island off of Singapores south coast. Personally, I dont think they should have bothered. We had been feverantly instructed to go there and see the 'beach' and go to a few bars. Honestly, I wish we hadnt as it turned out to be what can only be described as a holiday camp. Imagine the carry on film where Old barbs loses her bra during a work out, modernise it a little bit so there are trams and gondellas, add some fake sand, expensive 'rides' and you end up with sentosa island. (note the deliberate use of lower case on the s...)
Luckily this in no way took any shine off of our opinion of Singapore. The city is an exceptional model of modern living. Clean streets, efficient air conditioned transport sytem, a mix of culture, tradition, new and old all come together to give Singapore, I know I have used it already, but it is, a wonderful place.
Next stop Bali, back to beach life, I cannot wait.
Fingers crossed Lewis wins the grand prix, Simon jordan doesnt leave Palace, England win the cricket and Bali meets our rocketing expectations.
Hope everyone is well, we hear the English summer has started, so......Good luck with that!! xx