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Published: July 10th 2010
Saturday July 10, 2010
Blogged by Craig
Well ,our 10 day trip to Singapore is coming to an end (we leave this Monday night). And we have had a really excellent time. Apart from a storm that came through on the first morning, it it has been blissfully warm and sunny the whole time. (I really recommend coming in July if you plan a trip here - one of the driest months. The humidity is high, but , coming from Sydney, I don't mind it so much).
We quickly learnt that there are 2 ways of eating/drinking here:
1. In restaurants - with expensive food and especially expensive alcohol ("sin tax") and
2. In the outdoor food courts with the local folks - cheap booze and excellent cheap food (like we often did in Thailand, Ross). So, food courts figured a lot, and I was able to tick off some Singaporean / Malay things that I wanted to try (incl. ice kechang, Ross). Wine is especially pricey here, but where there's a Smith there's a way and Mum soon found a cheap source: the local 7 Elevens !
We shifted hotels halfway thru the trip, from Chinatown across the Singapore River to the Colonial district - beautiful old colonial buildings of the British Imperial days. Went of course to Raffles Hotel and had the obligatory Singapore Sling in the Long Bar, which to me is a sickly sweet concoction, but Mum seemed to like it.
In the Hotel (Royal @ Queens - not as good as the Carlton, Ross ) the three of us are sleeping in the one room. One double and one single bed. This is fine and it has worked well for us in the past. Except, Mum often chatters in her sleep around 5am some mornings. (Drives Dad mad at home). This morning , Dad and I were rudely woken by her shouting out:
"Oh, that is crap and you know it. I send Chistmas cards every year, you included. If you didn't get it, don't blame me, blame those fools at Australia Post."
Who or what she was talking about, none of us know (including her !).
On Thursday we took ourselves to Little India - I was a little apprehensive how M and D would handle the noise, smells, hussle and busssle ,etc. But they quickly discovered all the cheap merchandise and went on a mad shopping frenzy, buying 3 T-shirts for $10, hideous rings for $2 each, sunglasses, handfuls of watches for $10, caps, socks, etc. All their items ended up in my day pack, which I carry everywhere - carrying my camera, suncreen, water, maps, Travelan and assorted other drugs. But with all the crap they piled into it, it bulged dangerously, and I struggled back to the hotel like a Nepalese sherpa carrying the belongings of a small town.
On Friday we went to the Singapore Zoo. Well, what can I say about this zoo that has not already been said? Yes, it is the finest Tropical zoo in the world and most probably THE finest zoo in the world. I knew I'd love it when I walked through the gates, where you are immediately greeted tamarins (little monkeys) swinging about the trees right in your face ! Free ranging critters. And the organ utans also free range in the trees above you. Other highlights included the huge troup of Hamandrayas baboons in an awesome setting, and the white tigers. The whole joint has mainly moated enclosures, so there is no sense of animals being in cages. There is lush jungle and trees all around for shade in the hot day. We then hung around for the Night Safari, beside the zoo but separate. They have a show of nocturnal animals, which was cool, then you pile onto little trams that go around the park, Jurassic Park style. Saw some great things that we lack in Oz, such as Cape buffalo and hyenas, and giant anteaters. The Night Safari entrance is a destination itself, with many food outlets and bars entertainment that included scantily-clad guys doing fire dancing tricks !
The following night, we went up to the top floor of the Swissotel Stamford. It has an uber cool bar (rivals the Skybar in Bangkok, Ross). We could not afford a toothpick, but the aim was to see the city at night from the 72nd floor. OMG ! What amazing views - its was absolutely stunning. Crisp, clear, no pollution, dazzling in all directions. The giant casino that is a ship-shaped thing looked amazing and surreal in the night sky. Using my tripod, I got good pics.
Today we spent the morning at the Botanical gardens, which , as you might expect of a tropical location, were beautiful. The highlight was the orchard garden - which I've seen before - Mum loved it, but after a while Dad wanted to know where the beer tent was. I managed some really good pics of a squirrel ganging upside down eating a nut, and a brilliant red dragonfly on a water lilly!
Thats about it. We will do a bit of shopping over next few days, and a dusk river cruise if Dad's gout subsides (luckily, it only started today).
I don't know when I will be in this part of the world next, but my love affair with South East Asia certainly
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