Singapore 2nd - 6th November 2010
I love Singapore! I'm going to make this Blog as brief as I can as I have so much to write up, book and plan for the next few months in Asia. Ok now I'm proof reading this I can see I didn't stick to this good intention! lol
After a 7 hour flight, I got to the hostel late and decided to stay in, get a good nights sleep and attack it fresh in the morning. BC had told me to download a certain episode of Family Guy, and I decided to watch this in bed to cheer myself up a bit. OMG I laughed so much I thought I was going to be sick! The other girls in the dorm much have thought I was clinically insane, but I couldn't help it. I was actually crying with laughter and it was just what I needed. The bit where they were all throwing up was so disgusting, I'm still laughing about it now!
The next day a guy called Tony was working (he looks like a podgy, Asian version of Harry Potter - so funny). Tony is actually in the Lonely Planet as one of the best tour guides in Singapore. He got a map and ran through what we should all do that day. I got chatting to a couple who'd just arrived too and we all set off together. Singapore is actually an island - one of 60 that make up Malaysia (didn't realise Malaysia was a collection of islands, but you learn something everyday).
We went to China town (which was different to any other China town I've been too, maybe it feels different cos I'm actually in Asia?), saw an Indian mosque in China town, a museum on the development of Singapore, went to the Raffles hotel for a Singapore sling which is the best Singapore Sling I've ever tasted!!! This is where it originated from and I think it's because they put Cointreau in it, it has a softer and sweeter taste to ones normally. They also had monkey nuts on the bar and when you eat them you drop the shells on the floor. It's the only place in Singapore you can litter and not get fined!
I then for a walk around the Marina, after which I hit the Singapore Flyer which is the largest observation wheel in the world. I managed to time it spectacularly to go up whilst the sun was setting, watch the sun set at the top and the view of the city in the dark with all the lights shining on the way down. :) Then went for a walk along the river and took loads of random photos. The city is bursting with Art and they have things like giant Jellyfish lights on the side of the river which must be over 20ft tall, giant tiger lights, cast iron models of children jumping off the pier into the water and just loads of random stuff. I would like to point out, that even tho the sun had set this place was still hotter than the sun. If I'm not a size zero by the time I get back from the heat and amount of walking I'm doing I really won't be very impressed!
On my way back to the hostel I got stopped by 2 very sweet south Korean girls who were trying to convince me (very passionately I might add) not only in the existence of God, but that God is actually a woman. I had nothing better to do so stood there and debated this with them for a whole 20 minutes. I said to them that it didn't bother me either way, whether God was male, female, animal, spirit, whatever, it really didn't affect me. They said I had to break bread with them otherwise I could not be kept safe from the disasters in the world as God protects only these people. That really was the wrong thing to say to me! I went off on bit of a rampage asking them that they cannot honestly be saying that whatever God they believe in would only sacrifice people who did not celebrate his/her existence in this very specific way. And that that statement would also lend itself to believe that everyone who celebrated Gods life in this way would never be hurt in disasters like the 9/11 attacks, the London bombings, the Tsunami, or even the earthquake they had recently in Christchurch?! What a load of c**p. I said that if God was meant to love everyone this very clearly would not matter. They just constantly insisted that I go to their church to fully understand and 'did I not want to be enlightened?!' Quite frankly, no. I have 3 days to see Singapore and sitting in a church trying to be convinced of the sex of God really wasn't high on my list. They could not understand this either, and then I asked them as we were on the subject why would I have to go to a church to celebrate God? As they saw it he / she / whatever had created the whole planet, you should surely be able to worship from anywhere, not a specified collection of wood & stone?! Now can you believe that they actually gave up with me! Hahaha. I wasn't offensive in anyway, and we were actually just talking about it for 20 minutes, but they actually gave up with me. I must look like the unsavable kind!
The next day I went for a walk around little India where they had a festival celebrating their new year, went for a walk along another part of the Marina, and went back to the hostel for the walking food & Singapore life tour which didn't finish until 2.30am! The tour was run by Tony and there was a big group of 18 of us. We sampled 40 dishes, and yes I could barely move by the end of it. It was such a great experience and I very much doubt I would have tried hardly any of them otherwise. My favourite had to be something called Otak Otak, which is a cake / paste made of fish meat (we had smoked mackerel) mixed with coconut milk, which you have to squeeze out of a banana leaf. We also tried dishes like prawn and rice dumplings, chilli crab, cashew nut rice, a huge fruit platter full of fruits I hadn't seen before like Dragon fruit, and lots of desserts and biscuits.
It was absolutely brilliant and it only cost $20 which covers the cost of the food (although everyone not staying at the hostel had to pay $60!) We stopped off in so many places including a restaurant run by one of Singapore's top 10 'street chefs' which means local cusine and ate snowball desserts sat in a bowl of coconut cream. Mmmmmmm :)
After dinner we walked around a lot of areas within Singapore where Tony told us all about Singapore life. He covered everything from recycling, to where the President lives to them needing to buy a permit to buy a car which costs £40,000, yep that's right - it's not a typo, and the permit only for 10 years, you then need to buy another one! It's the kind of information you'd only hope to learn about a country when you'd been living there for 12 months, and I've been here 3 nights and know more about the lifestyle of people in Singapore than I do of Australians!
It was a great evening although if I'm honest it did drag on a bit towards the end. But then that was probably as I'd done a full days sightseeing and then an 8 hour night tour of Singapore.
Singapore is also known as a 'fine city' and they fine people for everything. Seriously, there is no litter anywhere as that carries a £500, carrying flammable goods $5000, eating / drinking on the underground £500, smoking in non smoking zones $1000, riding bicycles in 'no riding zones' $1000. And yes, of course I have taken loads of random pictures.
So that's it from Singapore, next stop is Thailand and I can't wait!