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Published: February 23rd 2020
Entrance of many steps to Fort Canning
Arriving in Singapore was a breeze, as usual, although AirAsia hadn’t bothered to give out landing cards so we all had to do this in the landing hall. Immigration took 5 minutes and our bags were out in a trice. I changed some money in one of the normal exchange places as the rate was identical to on the xe app and so the same as my bank. They didn’t need to see my passport. Then I got the transfer bus from T4 to T2 to get the MRT, topping up my EZ-link cards for Gill and I. As we had left Langkawi on a half empty plane 20 minutes early I was at the hotel by 1pm. On the MRT only about 10% were wearing masks, but the Chinatown stop, usually really busy, was very quiet.
Our room at the Quay Hotel was bigger than I was expecting for an internal room, with a skylight window letting in some light and, unfortunately, quite a lot of street noise too. Very well appointed for a cheapish (£85 a night with breakfast) room, kettle, slippers, loads of sockets, great WiFi but only 2 coat hangers. The housekeeper looked a bit incredulous
when I asked for 4 more, but gave me them anyway. The breakfast is really great, best chicken wings ever!
After unpacking I was on a mission to get to Plaza Singapura Mall on Orchard Road to buy 2 sets of Aftershokz headphones, recommended by my new buddy, Bill. They are bone conducting, so fit just in front of your ears and not in them. The sound is amazing and they felt super comfortable. I’d googled and found a store with some on sale, so this was a great way to spend the afternoon before going to meet Gill from her plane. To get there it was less than a mile and I walked up and over Fort Canning from Clarke Quay. Even if you are not interested in military history it’s really lovely, beautiful manicured gardens, shady and breezy, once you have puffed your way up all the steps. Down the other side I couldn’t see a crossing so ran over the road with 2 schoolboys who said it was illegal but OK.
The mall was easy to find, the actual store was not as I couldn’t understand the address, which part was the floor number and which
the unit. There was no guide at the entrance so I had to rely on looking at each floor guide next to the escalator, find electricals and look for the store name. Finally found it on floor 4, then to locate it using the map. Not easy to see which way round I was and where to go. I felt like a hopeless idiot but persevered and eventually found it. Very helpful and polite, great customer service, 2 sets bought in the sale, not a huge saving on Amazon prices, but job done. To celebrate this minor triumph I went to The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf for tea and cake. As it was Saturday afternoon it was heaving. There were young couples watching films on laptops taking up tables. Nobody asked them to leave. After a touch more shopping I’d left it a bit late for the bus, but was determined to take it to meet Gill, whose flight was due in at 6.45pm. I actually could have got the number 36 outside the mall, but that wasn’t what google had said, so I walked up the road and one pulled in just as I got to the stop
outside the Concorde Hotel. I used my EZ-link card and followed the route on my phone. It took ages as there were a lot of roadworks and the bus seemed to be speed restricted and crawled along. Gill’s flight landed about 45 minutes early and I thought I was going to be late, but just got to the arrivals door in time. We took a taxi back, cost 30SGD.
After 5 minutes of unpacking Gill was ready to go out so we walked along Boat Quay to the Fullerton. This was super annoying, as every 2 seconds someone thrusts a menu in your face and aggressively tries to get you into a restaurant. It was a pain and put us off eating there. Also the pictures of the food have no prices on them. We carried on to the Fullerton on the Bay and went up to the rooftop bar. It’s really gorgeous, with an amazing pool and the staff were great until we got to the actual bar. The 2 guys we dealt with who were working there were crap. The first was too busy trying to tell us what he thought we wanted instead of listening. I
said a classic margarita after he asked me twice, and I heard him ask the other one to make a mojito, which is what turned up. I said no, I’d asked for a margarita, and he thought it was hilarious and laughed with the first guy. Come on! You had one job to do and I wouldn’t mind but this is a super expensive place to go and please be a bit more professional. We were not impressed. We sat on some comfy sofas at the back and waited for a table but were quite happy and our drinks nearly done by the time there was one so we stayed put, then walked back the same way. This time the restaurants were a bit busier so we weren’t hassled quite as much. Ate dinner at a simple Chinese place on South Bridge Road, where we ate last year. The guy is very friendly and helpful, meaning we overordered. He said because of coronavirus business is down 50% and everywhere is so quiet, bad for him, great for us!
Today our plan was to walk around Fort Canning, as Gill hadn’t been before, so we went up all those steps
Jelly babies outside Plaza Singapura Mall
again and had a lovely wander around the top. Our temperature was taken at the gift shop and we had to write our names and phone numbers. There were so many groups having a picnic, sitting on the concrete floor, on the grass, hardly ever on the many benches and seating areas. It must be a Sunday morning thing here. Then we walked around the bay past the Durian theatre buildings to the science and art museum, which looks like a lotus flower. It was 40SGD to go in and see all 3 exhibitions. The first was quite fun, you could colour a picture of a sea creature, scan it and then it was projected onto the wall and swam around. Then there was a future world exhibition and then upstairs a Disney one, which consisted mainly of original drawings and artwork from the main films. To be honest, it was disappointing. On the top floor was some weird installation art. We then went into the fantastic Marina Bay Sands Mall for coffee and cake and a stroll before walking back through the CBD.
Tonight will be back to the mall to the food court for dinner and then
My google info with the unintelligible address
to the Gardens by the Bay for the free light show in the super tree grove. We hope it’s on, google doesn’t say otherwise, but the laser light show in the bay is cancelled for the time being because of the virus. This seems ridiculous as people can watch the light show from all around and in the gardens you are all sitting down together.
Fingers crossed we don’t go all the way there for nothing!
, as Gill
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