Published: October 24th 2008October 24th 2008
I arrived in Singapore on Tuesday..I think...I have totally lost track of the days so I'll just guess Tuesday. Anyway, my first full day in Singapore I woke up late and went to meet my friend Liz for lunch in the office (the company I work for has an office here) and I saw a consultant who has moved here from London too. Was nice to catch up with him. The nearest MRT is Raffles Place, which I guess I can say is most like Liverpool Street and Docklands in London; lots of sky scrapers and suits walking about the place at great speed with purpose. It's a nice place to look around for a little while, but you can move on pretty quickly once you've had a look at the skyline.
I went for lunch in Lau Pa Sat with Liz, which is a Hawker centre (food court). It was incredibly busy so it took us a little while to find somewhere to sit. From what Liz told me, the rule in Singapore is; if you see tissues on the table or seat it means the table is taken. Strange huh? Try doing that in a McDonalds in Central
London and see what happens. I can imagne the conversation. 'Erm, excuse me sir that table is taken, my tissues were down!' Doesn't quite work does it?
I wandered around for the rest of the afternoon and took in the sights of China Town, Little India and Clarke Quay. Clarke Quay is the best place to go for night life in Singapore. It's all very colourful...the colour scheme reminded me of how a Chiquitos would be decorated. I was in Clarke Quary around 4pm, so found it quite amusing that the 'Hooters' bar there was already in full swing.
After a couple of hours I headed to The Harbour Front and Vivo City (the biggest shopping mall in Singapore). I had a few hours to kill there so just walked and walked, contemplated buying a PSP, and then walked some more. It's was huuuuge! In the early evening Liz came to meet me at the cinema in Vivo City where we watched Max Payne. Such a strange film...a lot of pointless characters and John Woo type cinematography for no reason whatsoever, but entertaining never the less. The cinema was the main attraction for me. We were in the
Gold Class sceen where you get a lazy boy chair and blanket each with waiter/waitress service available. I know you can get places like that in the UK, but I haven't been to one yet. The air con was cranked up ridiculously high tha I was freezing my knackered butt off! I've noticed that air con in Singapore always seems to be cranked to the max...far more than it needs to be.
On Thursday (yesterday) I was up by 10am and went out for lunch in Holland Village, which is the area where Liz lives. It's basically the most popular haunt for ex pats so you can expect prices to be a little higher around the village than other parts of Singapore. I really like the atmosphere there. It's clean, quiet and good place to just sit down to have a meal and/or a drink and people watch for a few hours.
By late morning I was in Singapore Zoo. It took me a little longer than I expected to get there because there are no MRTs within walking distance, so I got a bus from Ang Mo Kio which took about 45 minutes all in all. The
'Right turn Clyde!'
Zoo is brilliant. Lots to do and see. When you arrive you get the map with details of the show and feeding times, so if you organise your time well enough you can easily pack a few hours with non-stop action. I visited all the enclosures in the Zoo, but I had two clear favourites...the Probiscus monkeys, because they look so weird. I've never seen an animal with such a strange looking nose. It seemed to give them more character. My other favourite were the Orangutans, mainly because they are free roaming in the zoo. There were a couple of times during my visit when I would be walking around and I'd look up and see an Orangutan dangling no more then 10 metres above me. They are such beautiful animals. I would also recommend the sea lion and elephant shows to anyone who goes there. They are really well choreographed and the animals look like they enjoy the limelight. I spent about 5 hours in the Zoo and probably could have stayed longer, but it was raining the whole day and I just had enough and wanted to be somewhere dry.
In the late afternoon/early evening I explored Orchard Road, which is completely jam-packed with shopping malls. I didn't see anything new and exciting, but the atmosphere was buzzing. A couple of hours had passed before I knew it, after which I headed back to Holland Village to meet Liz for dinner. I was fast asleep by 11pm and slept like a baby!
Today I used my EZ link card (same premise as an Oyster Card) and went around on the MRT getting off wherever I felt like it. I had no plans or ideas of where to go so just walked around at my own pace soaking up the sights. All in all, apart from the rain (again) it was a good day.