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Published: April 8th 2009
Sunday 5th April
After an uneventful flight where Judy dozed a bit and Rags hardly slept we arrived in Singapore. A short ride on the MRT and we easily found our hotel in the half light. By the time we had left our luggage with the bell boy and had a promise of a room after 9am we took the MRT to Tiong Bahru where Rags had read that there was a Sunday morning bird market. After getting directions from a local we arrived at the appropriate corner only to find that the bird markets have been replaced by a construction site for a new hotel. Never mind, there was a large market nearby with a food hall so we walked around investigating the offerings. I think we chose the one with the longest queue (reasoning that the most popular would be the best!) Rags joined the queue while Judy bought a couple of coffees.
We were rewarded by some local delicacies and Judy had found another while waiting which she bought for $1. It was 4 little rice cakes topped with a sticky slightly salty grain product. Yum!
Our room was on the 11th floor and had great
views over the tree lined Victoria Street and surrounds. It was still too early to catch up on missed sleep so we decided to go for a stroll through the Arab quarter. Judy started to regain her joy in seeing new sights here. We saw the lots of shops and stalls, and a few temples. Discovering OG, a large department store, Judy left Rags to enjoy an icecream sandwich and watch locals while she “looked”. She bought a little back pack, just what she had been looking for to store her phone and valuables while she is working in schools at home and also would be useful for our travel. Unfortunately it wasn’t a cheap copy but a leather one which had been reduced 50%.
The skies started to blacken as we stopped for lunch. While eating our Thai food the rain started. Judy optimistically suggested it would soon pass over, but the thunder continued and the rain turned to a deluge flooding gutters and streets. While waiting we explored the Rochor Centre. About an hour later it stopped long enough for us to get back to our room where we collapsed for a couple of hours catching up
on our sleep.
Refreshed, we made our way to the Little India area. Singapore has a large population of Indian workmen who come over here alone, sending money back to their families. Sunday is their day off and the place was a seething mass of predominantly male humanity. It was quite an eye opener, with men crowding the streets and shops. Even so, it felt relaxed and safe, with no signs of loutish behaviour or aggression.
After the obligatory window shopping sessions and a walk along the back streets, we had dinner at an outdoor Indian restaurant where we enjoyed a Thali and a chicken biryani. Interestingly, Rags’ bottle of Tiger cost more than a dish of food. Alcohol is highly taxed in Singapore.
A movie in the room, “The Bucket List” which we had only been discussing with friends a few days prior, concluded a tiring yet interesting 24 hours, with both of us looking forward to renewing more of our acquaintance with Singapore tomorrow.
Monday 6th April
Today we decided to revisit Sentosa, a place both of had been many years ago. Arriving at the Harbourfront MRT Judy announced that she wouldn’t mind
taking the cable car so we trudged past through the expensive shopping centre that was only just beginning to awaken. We found that the tickets on the cable car were more expensive than we’d thought but we purchased them anyway and upgraded to a glass bottomed car and included the return ticket. We were both underwhelmed by the trip across and felt like that was money wasted!
We spent several hours exploring Sentosa which we could barely recognise from our previous trip. The amount of building that was evident was incredible with a whole section of the island being developed for resorts that will open in 2010. Sentosa was an escape from the frenetic city centre, now they are replacing the natural forest growth for even more concrete. The mighty dollar obviously rules. Rather than use our return ticket for the cable car we caught the free bus which took us directly back to the MRT.
With aching feet we returned to our room for a well earned rest before venturing out to Chinatown. We began our walking tour at Raffles Place as directed by “The Lonely Planet”. The middle of their tour (and end for us) saw
us in the heart of Chinatown amidst a colourful array of markets and food shops. We found the food court of the Chinatown complex where there must have been over a 100 stalls to chose from. It seemed like Judy wanted to check them all out before deciding on a roast duck dish for Rags and a Laksa soup for Judy.
Leaving here we topped up on some sweet steamed buns at a street stall. A couple of little backpacks were purchased for our Vietnam bike ride and Judy bought a cheap skirt.
We were late back and missed the start of the movie but still watched it and the one to follow before retiring for the night!
Tuesday 7th April
We started the morning a little slowly with Rags having a roti prata breakfast at the markets over the road - coffee and 3 rotis which had him content, costing the princely sum of $2.60.
A visit to Orchard Road was on the agenda this morning, just to see how much it had altered since we last saw it. Still the huge, glittering shopping malls but the old stalwarts such as Lucky Plaza and
Tangs were still very much as before. As the heavens had opened up we didn’t stay here for very long (much to Rags’ relief) and we made our way back to the hotel to pack our bags and check out before 1300.
Lunch was an Indian buffet at the hotel, delicious food especially one called ‘fish methi’. This is a dish we will have to try when we return. A final walk around the Arab district followed to help burn up the excess food we had eaten before we picked up our luggage and made our way to the MRT to get to Changi.
We had to catch the bus to the Budget Terminal (they could have called it Terminal 3 !!!!) from the train to find a long line in front of us, even though we were early. The building was nowhere near as plush as the others, guess that’s what to expect when you fly cheaply.
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