Meeting the Keffords in Singapore by Edwina
Our time in Singapore was a welcome change to our routine with no early starts, homecooked meals and feeling like we didn't have to be on tour. The main reason for our visit to Singapore was to spend some time with a very old friend, her husband and children. The last time we had seen Annie and Will was 9 years ago and now we both had three children each of similar ages. We went to school to meet Annie's children and our kids were gobsmacked at the size of the school over 2500 pupils compared to little Pott with its 40 children. Standing in the playground I had this overwhelming feeling of being in a set from Desperate Housewives all beautifully groomed parents and helpers with children from several different nationalities jabbering away, trying to pick up 3 kids was organised chaos. On the way home Annie's children introduced our kids to a game 'Mini Quits' every time you see a yellow car (excluding Taxis) you can punch everyone in the car, much to my annoyance this was a hit with the kids and I could curse Annie for the introduction!
I know it seems a shame to not see Singapore but after having 6 weeks on the road and being in another humid city we were a little washed out, we did however manage to make our way on the MRT to China Town for a bite of lunch. Maz ordered Frog chopped up in vegetables and chilli's, all the kids were told it was chicken and after they had sampled it were informed it was frog with mixed reactions, we think they would have happily eaten more if it wasn't full of little bones and less chilli. We walked around the stalls where the kids picked up cheap fans and chopsticks that will probably break on first use, then ventured to the Wet food market where the kids were grossed out by fish heads, live frogs and other fishy products. This was enough of sightseeing for us, we all wanted to escape the hustle and just chill, snooze and spend time with Annie, Will and the Kids. I went with Annie to collect the kids from school again and this time I said I would wait in the car, Annie responded that today was "drive-through pickup" this was something I had never heard of before, to witness the coordination of the schools system was impressive. Cars lined up slowly inching along towards a staff member who was attached to an intercom system who would bellow out the children's family name……..please go to aisle 1,2,3 or 4 pick up point where diligently your child would be standing with batted breath ready to get into the car - just brilliant I thought.
The use of a washing machine was a pure delight I know it may seem silly to say but after handwashing it felt like a total luxury.
The final afternoon we all head out to Gardens by the Bay a beautifully manicured area of gardens with exotic plants, sculptures everywhere with modern architecture on the skyline. The kids ran around and enjoyed playing in the waterpark area. Hungry and thirsty we all head to the Hawkers stalls a favourite place for Annie and Will to go with their kids. Piles of Beef and Chicken Satay sticks, Prawns and Rice were devoured by all. Maz was responsible for sorting out a jug or two of beer for the adults, I was wondering what was taking so long when I turned to see him walking back with not a jug but a tower of beer, we all were shocked worrying how we were going to manage to drink it, but with true, Brit, Kiwi and Italian grit we managed!
We loved our time in Singapore but not because of the city. Yes the city is clean, modern, with slick transport systems, it's safe, easy going, orderly where people keep to the rules, but like any city we felt confined in the space or was this because of the humidity?
The real reason we loved it was the people we went to visit, the kindness of letting a scruffy smelly travelling family of five stay, providing home cooking, reminiscing a very long past friendship, the beer, the laughs, the lemoncello and the enjoyment of the kids all getting to know each other. Best of all just being part of our friends daily lives, finding out what they love about Singapore and how they live their life within the city.