Sunday in Singapore

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May 10th 2015
Published: May 11th 2015
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We walked the shit out of the kids today. A little more than planned due to a couple of errors in navigation. Mixing up Harbourfront station nd Bayfront station cost us a few thousand extra steps (not to mention an extra $1.50 each on the MRT and an unnecessary and untimely visit to the ticket queue. That won't happen again...not on my watch!) And an upside down map sent us the wrong way down Orchard Rd. I blame Maggie for that one. ? Jules got us back on track by noticing the road wasn't called Orchard anymore. I'm glad she did (I would have realised at the next intersection for sure) as we were all hungry and Jules was getting Hangry!

I waived the hotel breakfast option when booking. $33 a head? Tell 'em they're dreaming! While the kids would never eat $33 worth of rice bubbles and bacon, there is something to be said about a chef on less than $10 a day cooking your bespoke omelet to perfection. But that's not how we roll! We'll find (hunt) our own food thank you very much and for less than $33 a pop. $33 total for the record.

We found a cute little french cafe (ok...multi national chain) and continued our croissant odyssey - croissantyssey if you will. The Singaporean croissant topped the disappointing effort served up from the Brisbane Intrnational Airports microwave. Lift your game BIA! But I'm confident the best croissant is ahead of us. Maggie tried the kaya and was hooked immediately. The first chance she got, she was buying it by the tub. We were killing time at the Candy Empire while Jules sourced some lavendar for the long haul to Copenhagen and Maggie found some kaya amongst all the ovalmaltine products - biscuits, chocolate bars and blocks, paste and powder -all the ovalmaltine you could think of. And they sold "Australian made" M&Ms. I'll wait for M&M world if I'm going to pay $7.50 for a 200gm packet. Outrageous!!!

Singapore is a 700km* island with about 6,000,000 people but on a sundy morning the MRT and the streets are like a ghost town. Until the shops open that is. Then it is buzzing and more like the singapore I remember. AND THE SHOPS! WOW! So many shopping malls and so many shops. I counted 3 smiggle, a couple of cotton on and saw all the brands I know and more I didn't. And that was just in the one mall. All the malls are connected by subterranean passages or floating bridges and you can't tell where one ends and the other begins. It blows your mind but is a great way to stay out of the humidity/rain and like a casino, it makes it very hard to know what time it is and how long you've been there. All the shops are over staffed, this diamond shop we passed had no shoppers and about 6 staff standing around eagerly waiting to serve someone. Obviously one sale would cover the wage bill for a month or so. We did our bit for the struggling Singaporean retail sector and opened our wallets at Zara.

Back on the street and you know you're in an Asian city - hustling and bustling crowds of people - but it lacks the vibrancy of Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh. It's so clean and organised, so safe and comfortable. Not a bad thing when travelling with kids and makes it an ideal stopover, but where's the culture? The hustle and bustle isn't like the other devloped, wealthy Asian city I know either. In Tokyo you know you're in Japan. There's a pride in being Japanese. Singapore is kind of generic.

I do like it here and the organisation and order is welcomed. So are the facilities of our hotel. We chilled by the pool this arvo. A water slide and fountain for the kids and cocktails and pints of Tiger for the big kids. Jules got a mother's day massage and we got some much needed rest after our marathon walk this morning. Jules got her 10,000 steps by 2pm and that means Milla probably hit 20,000. We are trying to slow down but we love to walk a city. How else do you really see it?

And there is more to Singapore than just shops. Gardens by the bay for example. Yes we took the wrong train line, yes we had to walk through another 2 kms of designer brand stores to find the food court, yes we ate dinner at a toast restaurant but we made it just in time for a music and light show amongst a pretty impressive garden. Surrounded by the illuminated gardens, with a soundtrack of classic movie soundtracks we could also see the Singapore flyer and the ominous marina bay sands - that hotel with the roof top infinity pool you've seen on the travel adds. it's an impressive building and it's proximiy explains the casino off the MRT station and the standard of boutique brands in the shopping centre. I didn't see any Cotton On stores in this mall, but the $3 peanut butter toast and Milo hit the spot.

Seeing the kids navigating the trains and traffic and walking amongst all the people - chinese, malay, indian - is why I wanted to come through Asia. Deaks heard a guy on his mobile and thought he said "i wanna be a Sultana" and Milla sat wide eyed watching two women on the train chatting in Malay. This can't not broaden their minds in a positive way. Sure we'll be surrounded by foreign language in Europe but they still kinda look like us.

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