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Published: June 26th 2010
Singapore is HOT. Too hot. Painfully hot. I know I’ve said this about a lot of places, but seriously. It’s the kind of hot where you look around a park and realize that nobody is out…they’re all inside, enjoying the air conditioning. We learned our lesson quickly yesterday.
Starting the day out around 10, we headed out to see the Singapore Flyer, a newly built ‘viewing ferris wheel’ that is supposed to be the world’s largest and offer great views of the city. It didn’t disappoint. Definitely recommend it. The ride takes about thirty minutes, and you are in an enclosed glass ‘capsule’ the whole time and free to walk around and snap pictures. Afterwards, we simply walked around the city, trying to find our way to a botanical garden. We stopped in the mall attached to the ‘Raffles Hotel’ and ended up both getting sandwiches for a cheap and easy lunch before walking some more. Every step we took felt like we were sweating out everything in our body. We happened upon Fort Canning Park, and fully intended to enjoy it until we realized that another minute in the heat might honestly kill us. A bit disappointed, we headed back to our hostel and hid out for the next few hours, getting a load of laundry done and just reading in our bunk bed.
After a good rest and time spent in air-conditioning, we ventured back out, first stopping for a quick Tiger beer at a little outdoor restaurant on our street. A big sized beer, like the Tsingtao we’re used to getting for the equivalent of 50 cents in China cost us 5.50 SGD here! Aahh! Yeah, definitely feeling poor.
We then headed to an up-and-coming part of town called Clarke Quay, newly renovated buildings by the riverfront to bring in a new nightlife sort of area. We found a Mexican restaurant, and naturally, went there, spending entirely too much on some nachos, delicious entrees and two frozen margaritas. We couldn’t resist. Besides, margaritas kill sore throats, don’t they?
At this point, we were cooled off enough and sufficiently re-energized that we decided we’d venture out to the Night Safari, one of Singapore’s top attractions. Attached to the Zoo, the Night Safari gives you a way to see many of the nocturnal animals as they’re awake. To get there required about a 30 minute metro trip and then a bus transfer and ride of another 30 minutes. Though it was easy, it was time consuming and it was already almost 10pm by the time we reached the park. We paid the entrance fee, buying a combo ticket that would allow us to visit the Zoo the next day and hopped on one of the last tram rides starting the loop through the park.
It was awesome. Neither of us have are big fans of zoos, but Singapore does a great job of trying to give the animals as much of a ‘free range’ area as possible while still keeping everyone safe. Moats are used around the animal areas rather than enclosed glass cages, giving you the feeling that the animals are much happier AND much closer to you than in regular zoos. The Night Safari has a trail you can walk around to get even closer as well as a show, but we only had time to do one 45-minute tram loop through. Nonetheless, it was fascinating, and had a great message about saving the environment and the animals.
We made the last bus leaving the Night Safari and the last metro back into the city. Unfortunately, our connecting metro had already taken off and we were left with the choice of either walking 3 metro stops home at 1am or taking a taxi. We took a taxi. It was STILL boiling hot out there.
Today, we spent the majority of the day at the Singapore Zoo, right next to the Night Safari. The heat made it so that it became sort of unbearable at around 4pm, at which point we'd decided we'd had plenty of the zoo anyway and headed back to our hostel. It was a great zoo, though, just as the Night Safari had been.
This evening we made our way to Little India, the only part of Singapore that made us feel very 'foreign'. There must have been some reason, but ONLY men were out...and lots of them. We saw no other white people, and seriously no Indian women. The streets were just overflowing with men, talking on their cellphones and yelling across the street to one another. It was the first time that we felt sort of uncomfortable, so we ate at a vegetarian restaurant and then came back to our hostel.
Overall, we've enjoyed Singapore, but not nearly as much as other places we've visited this past year. It's sterile and it's easy, something that we've come to desire as a quick escape from China this year but have not necessarily wanted as a vacation place. Its felt like being back in a wealthy city in the US, even more so than Hong Kong does. It doesn't offer too much in the way of things to do, and the heat does just make you want to stay in the AC malls all day, anyway. 😊 Probably not a place we'll make a goal to come back to one day, but a place we've enjoyed seeing nonetheless!
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