Monday 16th April - Monday 23rd April 2012
16.04.2012 - 23.04.2012 25 °C
After my incredibly blonde moment of arriving at the airport two days early for my flight, Singapore flight take two was MUCH more successful! Despite being delayed an hour, I managed to finish reading "The Hunger Games" on my kindle, and was there in no time. The weather on approach was very cloudy and in all honesty, I had NO idea which island was Singapore from the air!
The airport however was very nice and super clean... most of the people here speak English so getting to my hostel was easy, I grabbed a quick hot chocolate from Starbucks and paid $9 for a transfer bus that had British Radio!
Arriving at River City Inn, I was greated with 4 floors of stairs! EEk, not so fun with a big back pack, but once I made it up I was pleasently surprised... the owners were VERY nice (if a little anal about the 'no shoes indoors' policy) and there was a hilarious Indonesian cleaner who we think was a little bit simple as she giggled like a child 99% of the time and was a little strange!
The first night I was placed in bunk bed number 1 of a 26 bed dorm (the biggest I've stayed in so far) and unfortunately, I was on top of the WORST snorer in the history of snorers... officially nicknamed Snory McSnoryson, he was like a train and managed to wake EVERYONE in the dorm up! Now we all know I sleep very lightly, and when combined with a day of travelling, I was NOT impressed... I attempted to fashion myself some ear plugs out of wet tissue, but the vibrations of his noise still prevented me from sleeping... I then tried to put my Ipod in and listen to music to drown out the noise, and alas, still I could not sleep... so after about 3 EXTREMELY patient hours, I decided the only thing I could do was politely wake him up and ask him to roll onto his side, which did stop the snoring (HUZZAH!)... for about 3 minutes! (BOO HOO!)
Needless to say a terrible night of tossing and turning and a VERY annoyed Skye demanding to be moved to the other side of the room in the morning! Luckily there had been several complaints about him so they were happy to oblige, and the rest of my time there was spent sleeping soundly! (^_^)
That morning, I was delighted to see that the free breakfast was not only served until 12pm, but also included peanut butter and jam to make my new favourite toasties! plus a banana (or three) to keep me going... Singapore is too expensive to buy lunch AND dinner, so breakfast was often large! It was during breakfast that I met Caryn, a LOVELY girl from London who was staying in Singapore for a week also and we decided to have a wonder together to keep each other company.
Located right next to the CBD, we walked past a very large Standard Charter building before we got to Chinatown, of which I took a photo for mother dear, and her boss Helen...
Chinatown itself was very quaint, with lots of Asian restaurants, and shops selling Chinese produce and traditional Chinese nick-naks, I bought myself a pair of yellow kiddies chop sticks, as I can't use the actual grown up version and I figured this might prevent starvation now that I am officially in Asia!
We attempted to follow Caryn's map, but ended up just wondering, seeing both Buddhist and Hindu temples, which are very conflicting in their appearance but actually are very close in religious beliefs, apparently Buddhists are welcome to pray in Hindu temples and vice versa!
The Hindu temples by contrast were very colourful and seemed quite modern, the roofs were decorated with brightly coloured statues of the various Hindu Gods and many of them seemed to also be kitchens, where Hindu families would sit and eat;
After we walked around for a few hours, it started to rain and so we went into a restaurant for lunch (and yummy ice tea in a can) so I could try out my new chop sticks.
That evening we met a few new people back at the hostel, and were invited to join them for dinner in Little India (another area of Singapore) by one of the hostel residents who not only paid for everyone's dinner but also turned out to be the one and only... SNORY MCSNORYSON!!!
His name is Si, and he was rather odd... insisting that he paid for all our meals but then not really talking to anyone for the entire evening!? I had a Chicken Biryani which was OK, but pretty cold by the time I got it, and the chicken was of the carcass variety, so I'm glad it only cost him $5!
On the way home, us girls popped into an ice cream shop called 'The Marble Slab' where I had my first heavenly taste of my new ice cream addiction (and about the only thing I shall REALLY miss about Singapore)... Red Velvet Ice Cream... hard to explain, but imagine the taste of cake batter and cheesecake, with a hint of coco powder, in an ice cream with red colouring... A-MAY-ZING!!
The next day Caryn and I had another day to explore a different region of the city and decided to go back to Little India, it was the only gorgeously sunny day that we had while we were here, and again, it was spent walking around and looking at temples and buildings, as evidentally there isn't much else to do in Singapore!
Again, there were Hindu and Buddhist temples, but this Buddhist one was a more modern style, with large tiger statues outside and a HUGE statue of Buddha in the middle of the temple!
We paid 50cents each to spin the wheel of fortune and read about the life of Buddha and how he came to be.
That evening, we went to Dhoby Gaut station on the MRT to watch 'The Hunger Games' at the cinema... having finished the first book I was anxious to see the film, and it was lovely to go to the cinema again!
Sentosa Island- Universal Studios
Early rise on Thursday morning for a fun-fuelled day at Universal Studios on Sentosa Island... again, a fairly expensive activity, but a GREAT day!
We got the shuttle bus from our hostel and had the obligatory photo in front of the spinning statue before getting in kid-mode with face painting ready for a day of cartoon characters, rides and smiles! Turns out we were officially the only two people (of any age) with their faces painted, but we wore it proudly! :-P
The best ride of the day was a BattleStar Galactica roller coaster, which made me yearn for another day out at Thorpe Park! We also went on a cool 3D Transformers ride, which didnt really move you anywhere, but the graphics they used made it seem very real, so that was ace! There was some hilariously poor acting with a Monster Rock show and a WaterWorld show, but they were included in the price and were entertaining enough!
Unfortunately at around 2pm there was a VERY sad cloud right over our heads and the loudest thunder I have ever heard which means the rides were closed and so we went home! That night we ordered take away pizza and watched 'Water for Elephants' on Caryn's laptop!
Friday meant I had to move out of the hostel and went across the road to 'City Backpackers' hostel, which is NO WHERE NEAR as nice, but was only 8 beds per dorm and still offered peanut butter and jam for breakfast, so I guess beggers cant be choosers!
We decided that Friday would be a good night to get dolled up and venture out to some of the local bars along the river front, as well as sampling the famous 'Singapore Sling' cocktail at Raffles.
We spent the day shopping, and were slightly disheartened by the sizes over here... Asian women really are TINY and attempting to get my boobs into their dresses was just not going to happen! :-( Nothing like needing an XL to make you feel good about yourself! :-P
(at this point I should confess that I am slightly worried I might be blaming the 'Asian woman' sizing, and being in complete denial that I might not fit into the dresses as I may now just be, fat... but we wont dwell on it! :-S)
Raffles was a lovely hotel, the bar which served our cocktails (at $30 each! OUCH) was strange though, the ventilation system consisted of a row of hand fans attached to a pole which swung them from side to side, (at no where near the neccessary rate to create any kind of breeze), and the floor was COVERED in monkey nut shells... it seemed some sort of tradition that everyone in the bar just throw their peanut shells on the floor once they'd cracked them, and no one made any attempt to clean them up!? Bizarre!
The cocktail itself was nice enough, didnt taste very alcoholic considering what it costs, so we only stayed for one before heading to a backpacker bar on the riverside! Much more our price range!
Here, we were chatted up by two men, both named Phil, one of whom was married, and neither of whom had anything of merit to say!? VERY weird and VERY awkward!
So we left and went to Smiths fish and chip bar, which had Union Jack flags everywhere and served proper chips... albeit for $11!!
Saturday was POURING with rain, all day and so Caryn and I just chilled out at the hostel, reading books, watching TV and being very lazy! We did venture out around lunch time to find some food, where I took some photos of the plastic food plates in the window of the restaurants that they use to advertise their dishes... I have NO idea who would look at a plate of plastic food and think... MMM, I'll have that! but perhaps the Asians do!?
There is also a cute little balloon world in the lobby at Castle Quay mall with impressive balloon creatures that I took some snaps of;
On my last day I intended to go to the Marina Bay Sands hotel, which is a very fancy three block sky scraper hotel on top of which sits a large boat (which actually looks more like a Tube Train) that consists of an infinity pool and overlooks the entire city... supposedly amazing, but the weather was crap and it cost $20 to get up there, which didnt seem worth it to me!
All in all, Singapore has been pleasent, but in all honesty, there isnt much to do and there is even less when you're on a budget... it is SOOO expensive here! If you were working I think it'd be a lovely place to live, as it is very clean and well organised/ efficient, the people are very friendly and the weather, although tempremental, is always warm!
I have to say though, the only thing I am REALLY going to miss is the Red Velvet Ice Cream **Sigh** xx