Published: August 24th 2013July 11th 2013
This was our second day out on our own while Jemi worked (sorry need to finish blog from the first day still!). We started our morning off with a breakfast at Costa coffee, one of the coffee shops we frequented in London. This is one indication of influence that Britain has on Singapore, although it seems much less than their influence of Kuala Lumpur. After breakfast we were hemming and hawing about whether we should go shopping for a wide angle camera lens. It's not something that we had planned to buy, but we really wished we had one when we were in Nepal. So we thought we'd look at the price in Singapore because with the exchange rate and getting tax back for the purchase, we thought it would be cheaper to buy it here than at home (and it was- we probably saved $150-200 in the end). We also figured that it would come in handy on the rest of the trip. Anyways after walking away and coming back an hour later, we decided it was worth the buy and we did.
During the time that we were thinking about the lens, we took a walk through Fort
Canning Park, which was a nice little park in the middle of the city. After buying the lens we decided to continue on the "hop on hop off " bus tour that we had paid for 2 days. We took one of the routes that ended up dropping us off in an area of the city called Orchard Road. In all, I think that it wasn't worth it to buy the "hop on hop off" bus ticket because we didn't use it all that much. For a lot of the sites on their route, either Jemi had already driven by or we just walked it. We really wanted to just get an overall sense of the different areas of the city, which it was pretty good for. We didn't really have time to hop off everywhere anyways but we felt we had seen enough.
Orchard Road is a very upscale area of the city; the Beverly Hills of Singapore. To live in the area is very expensive and there are actually some single houses (more like mansions) around there that I'm sure cost a pretty penny. They are beautiful, though, in pure Hollywood style. Orchard Road is like Rodeo
drive in a sense. We went to this area expecting to find coffee shops and restaurants that we could sit out on the patio and people-watch, but there was none of that. While it was a beautiful street, it was pretty much lined by (beautiful) malls, of course. Many of the stores were those that we would normally shop at in Toronto. They're not the super cheap ones, but you would find things like Banana Republic, Esprit, and also the designer stores like Gucci and Prada as well. But no coffee shops or restaurants at street level looking out. It was all and nice but we got tired of something that was very much like home, so we got on the MRT (subway) and went to an area called Clarke Quay.
Clarke quay, from what I understand, is a hotbed area for nightlife in the city. Understandably, because it's a cute area by the river that has a ton of very interesting restaurants with patios. We arrived there around 3pm so it was actually pretty dead, but I imagine it becomes much more lively after work. I would say that Clarke Quay is a must see in Singapore. The
area lines the Singapore river, and was once the centre of the city's commercial activities, shipping and trading in the 1860s. The restaurants today have been restored from old shophouses and they're multicoloured and just very cool to see. We wish that Toronto would have such a vibrant area. The restaurants there (especially along the water) are quite expensive. We had paella for lunch in a Spanish restaurant right on the river and it was expensive (and not really authentic, but what do you expect from a Spanish restaurant in Asia??). After lunch (at 3pm) we went on boat ride on the river. It was included with our bus tour so we thought why not. It wasn't all that interesting though. We just winded through the city along the Singapore river (many of the areas we had walked through already so maybe it would have been more impressive if we had done this first), and it brought us out into Marina bay again. Jeremy had told us earlier in the week that the canals in the city look a lot like ovaries when you view them from a bird's eye, so if you look at a map you will see
that it's actually true!!
We got off the boat at Marina bay and decided to get on the MRT and head back to Jemi's to be there for when they got home from work. In the evening (our last night), Jemi and Jeremy took us to the beach and we ate at a Chinese seafood restaurant along the boardwalk. They took us there so that we could try chili crab, which is a specialty of Singapore. Of course it was really only Mike trying it, because Elysia does not like seafood. He thought it was good though. It was just enjoyable evening all around that we got to share with some great friends!
Unfortunately although we really enjoyed our evening, Elysia's eye was still really bothering her; it was extremely red and painful and her vision was blurring a bit because of the inflammation (or as a side effect of the drugs we later thought). We wanted to take advantage of the good health care in Singapore (because we were headed to Borneo the next day so we weren't sure what kind of health care we'd find there), so we wanted to get her eye checked out again
just to be sure it wasn't getting worse. Jeremy took us to a 24 hour clinic near where they lived. This wasn't a hospital, but just a regular clinic. I guess people in Singapore work so hard that they need convenient health care 24/7. I wish we had this in Canada!! Anyways, Elysia was afraid it would take too long but Jeremy promised us that it would take a maximum of 10 minutes; in then out. There was a few people in the waiting room, but it didn't take very long for Elysia to be called in to be seen. Everyone went in with her, including Jeremy and Jemi (nice to have the support!!). The doctor was a bit of an odd and socially awkward person that looked about 15 years old. It was weird to be talking to a child about a health problem!! Anyways, Elysia didn't notice (but everyone else did) that he wasn't fully able to dress himself this morning. He had on dress shoes and pants, and a nice shirt and tie... but, no socks!! Maybe he's one of those brilliant people that just have trouble taking care of themselves. Unfortunately, because it was a last
minute decision to see the doctor tonight, we didn't bring Elysia's medication with us (bad mistake for a medical student!) so he ended up prescribing something slightly different but he pretty much thought it was the same thing as the last doctor, so we were reassured. The whole appointment and filling of prescriptions cost a whopping (not being sarcastic this time) $100. This isn't bad but much more expensive than in Malaysia. In the end, Jeremy was slightly off with the timing because it took a total of 15 minutes from in to out. Talk about convenient service!
There are more photos below