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May 25th, 2009

Day Four - 7 May 2009 - The day started early - again - which was not to anybody’s liking but needs must and having pretty much strapped our bags to a taxi we set off towards the Corus Hotel for a 5 hour bus journey to Singapore. What a bus…..two storey but only three chairs in a row and the bottom floor was a lounge with arm chairs and a tv. On entering Singapore we had yet another Swine Flu check which was a little better than the last; I’m not sure they even know what they’re looking for on those thermal cameras, it’s probably just as good as a guilt trip. Anyway, we checked in to the hotel, another absolute treat, The Hotel Royal, with it’s swimming pool, tv etc etc - I’m not sure we’ve quite got the idea of backpacking yet but no doubt it won’t be so great in Laos and Vietnam. With time fading fast we headed out in to Singapore wondering just what constituted Jaywalking and hoping not to get a $1000 fine for accidentally doing it. Steve had also packed his chewing gum away! A walk down Orchard Road showed us that if Singaporians (?) liked doing one thing it was shopping - mall after mall after mall along one road. We soon got through that and on to Clarke QuayClarke Quay where we attempted to find some dinner before meeting another friend of Steve’s, Tim. Having eaten a sandwich and drink for $10 we sat on the river side eating ice cream. Upon Tim’s arrival we went to a little Cuban bar where a bottle of Tiger was $14, that’s just over £6 - what the fuck? It kind of takes the fun away when a single drink completely ruins your budget (more on that later.)

Day Five - 8 May 2009 - In an attempt to “take it easy” we took the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit), their underground, to Vivo City, Asia’s biggest mall, to get ourselves over to Sentosa. Sentosa is Singapore’s answer to the fact that a lot of tourists found Singapore dull. It’s essentially an island of the South coast of Singapore (there’s something slightly fractal about that) where they’ve built some attractions and a few artificial beaches. We got off the Sentosa Express at the first stop and thought we’d exercise the legs by climbing a hill. No such luck, they’d put escalators up the hill, brilliant! You have to give them credit, Singapore is pretty perfect in terms of functionality and cleanliness. Every lawn is manicured, every slope has an escalator on and everything works. Anyway, having listened to Steve and Ravi shoot each other on a horse riding/shooting simulator we took to the beach and watched the water; there were an unbelievable number of container ships in the harbour chucking out who know’s what in to the water. SentosaA couple of hours later we sacked off the beach, and went to the Aquarian where countless tourists were standing on a “travellator” going through a tunnel surrounded by water and fish. This was really good, with something to see at every point. Following that we walked back through a bit of rainforest, which was being refurbished (?) and then headed to Little India to get some food. In contrast with KL Singapore’s little India is considerably more interesting, lots of shops, markets, music and great smells emanating from various types of restaurants. Ravi and I had a mixed meal with various different things, which was excellent, while Anna and Steve half finished their meals before drowning in their own sweat.

Day Six - 9 May 2009 - At this point we’d already seen a fair amount of Singapore but still hadn’t ventured to the Colonial district or China Town. WIth that in mind we set off on the train to the Colonial district to check out the origins of Singapore. Yet again, an extremely well manicured area with the Singapore Cricket Club being surrounded by St Andrew’s Cathedral, the Town Hall and the Supreme Court (sporting a small replica of St Paul’s Dome.) We zig-zagged our way through this before finding our way to the Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel where it is alledged that the Singapore sling was invented. Having been slightly pissed off at the Tiger beer we reluctantly bought four Singapore slings (~$110 for four) and made them last while eating as many monkey nuts as possible. The drinks are actually very nice if not a little sweet. Having necked those we headed off towards China Town so that Steve could meet up with Tim and we could check out the last area. Having walked for 15 minutes in the wrong direction we left Steve to get the MRT and we walked 40 minutes back in the opposite direction. Our initial impressions of China Town were not great (something that the rough guide had mentioned) as Singapore had decided press on with their “skyscrapers are the solution to over-crowding” policy by erecting a few monstrous high rises. Regardless of that we marched on and found that China Town was in fact amazing. I’ve seen quite a few “China Town”s but this is probably the best. While there were the usual dodgy shops there was also a great selection of restaurants, from cheap to expensive, as well as a couple of impressive temples and a massive food court where you could fill your stomach for a couple of quid. Once we’d eaten we took the MRT back to the hotel to have a quick swim in the pool and then relax. Ravi and I took it upon ourselves to entertain the crowds (all 6 of them) by doing a spot of Karaoke in the hotel pub. What a harmony.

Day Seven - 10 May 2009 - Laundry, Mall, Plane. See Ko Samui Day Seven for the evening.

Author: Mark Jerzykowski Categories: Uncategorized Tags:
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