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Published: September 29th 2010
6 hours on a bus. 1 border crossing. 0 Singapore dollars. We find ourselves in Southeast Asia’s richest country, Singapore, or Singapura, the Lion City. The border crossing for Singapore was easy, bus across, the bus stops, you go through customs, and you get back on the bus. Done. Found our guesthouse quite early and were given two beds in a 28 bed dorm... with only two other people in it. It was a pretty shabby place considering the price we were paying (way too much). Ahh well such is the life of a backpacker. We had such big elaborate plans for Singapore, but the cost of the city was a bit extreme coming from the much less expensive countries in Southeast Asia.
The newest hotspot on the touristy list of things to see was the Marina Bay Sands. Going up to the top was $20 SGD. They had a special section just for tourists, and a blocked off section for hotel guests, but we were still able to see the amazing pool with views of the city. The barricade blocking us from the massive 50 something floor drop was quite sketchy, a few pieces of plexi-glass and
some wires, it did offer some amazing views of the city for us as well as the new Bay being built up for the tourism industry in Singapore. The hotel was quite fun to wander around, the lobby being very grand with many shopping centers and a live band playing. The casino looked quite eleaborate but being in shorts and flip-flops we weren’t allowed in 😞 suits and shoes only type of deal. Walking around the new bay area was very pleasant, despite the heat. This is the closest to the equator that either of us has ever been, the heat was intense, but not as hot as we were expecting.
We spent a bit of time in Chinatown checking out the markets and had a few dinners on the food-stall street which was decently priced, considering where we were, with some tasty eats. Shopping in Singapore was a big no though which was slightly disappointing so we left Singapore souvenir-less. Oh darn. It felt like the entire country/city was void of older culture. Everything was new age and modern. A very different view compared to the other countries visited in the past 6 months. It was
interesting to see and experience a more western influenced society after all this time in third world and more traditional countries.
We also spent a day at the Singapore Zoo. In short it was amazing. The amount of animals was something we didn’t expect, Tigers, all different kinds of Monkeys, Kangaroos (which I have never seen before), elephants, penguins, cheetahs, mountain lions, birds of all colours and types, and 4 MASSIVE turtles. The zoo was an open plan zoo, meaning there were no cages or glass in front of us (except for the marine animals that live in water). They had free shows throughout the day, and feeding times when you could watch, or feed (depending on the animal) the animals. They also had free roaming birds, snakes and monkeys, as well as a massive living area for a friendly group of Orang-utans’. They were swinging around and climbing branches and vines right over our heads. The zoo was a bit pricey but definitely worth every penny.
Our flight to Athens was scheduled to leave at 2am but we left for the airport quite early, not wanting to go out on the town or
sightseeing the night before our flight we packed up and headed out around 9. And good thing we did, the airport was the second best thing in the city (first being the zoo... this is strictly my opinion). There were TONS of things to do at the airport, free parks, free foot massages. I didn’t find most of this out until an hour before we went through the security check. Either way it was one of the nicest airports we’ve ever been in. So security check, we enter the waiting area just before boarding the plane. Our flight had already been delayed about an hour due to a late arrival. No big deal. The delay turned from 1 hour to 5 hours and we spent the entire time half asleep on some chairs and the floor.
We left just as the sun was coming up, and were sitting in the middle of the massive plane, one of my least favourite spots to sit. I love the window seat and thought that was where we would be sitting. So the flight started off with a bit of disappointment, no window seat, leaving just after sun up. I suppose I
shouldn’t complain too much though. So we land in Qatar, our 9 hour layover turned to 3 hours. Qatar is nothing more then an expanse of flat sand with some buildings. It is apparently one of the more modern cities, and in hindsight we should have extended our layover from the original 9 hours to a full day or so and gone into the main city to see a bit of the Middle Eastern country. Live and learn I suppose. Next stop is Athens, just under 5 hours and we’ll be landing in the first European country ever for me and a place that Scott has wanted to visit for a very long time. We’re both very excited for this un-expected leg of our journey. Our original plan of traveling to Tibet and then south to India has been put on hold until next fall. The new plan is to spend a month and a half or so in Greece before heading up to Norway for the winter and doing a bit of the 9 to 5 for a year.
Europe here we come!
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