The Second Coming

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Asia » Singapore
January 31st 2016
Published: February 6th 2016
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Rob writes

I'm actually writing this during the bus journey between Singapore and Malacca, up until now we've just not found the time to sit down and do it!

So, we left Glasgow on the Sunday the 31st to start our 3 month trip of South East Asia.Its been 5 years since the first big trip and we think we have recovered enough to try and finish it ( a bit). The flights were some of the best I've been on in a while. For the first flight to Dubai we managed to get ourselves some emergency exit seats for all the leg room and easy access. Normally on flights I get upset by having no space, and then having to ask the guy next to me if he could possibly wake up and let me go for a wee. I suppose I have to thank Tina for this little luxury. As soon as we got to Glasgow airport she was right up at the Emirates counter chancing whatever ‘upgrade’ she could get.

The change at Dubai wasn't quite without incident. The first flight was slightly delayed but not so much that we couldn't fit in a Haagen Dazs banana pancake. After that we had to head straight to the gate for our next flight. We went through the boarding gate and were about to start getting on the plane when Tina realised she had left her cardigan at the Haagen Dazs place. It’s quite unbelievable that someone who had one responsibility, to look after her own cardigan, because I had everything else, failed to do that. Quite possibly because she had a banana and ice-cream pancake in her face, nothing else mattered.

Anyway... ‘because I go to the gym’ (her words) and because I tend not to live on a diet of pancakes and ice-cream, I was tasked with going back to Haagen Dazs to retrieve the cardigan. I had to go through the process of being ‘de-boarded‘ from the flight and then I had to run... I had to yank the cardigan off the back of the chair that some random guy was now sat on and smile like that’s normal, before running back and being ‘re-boarded’.

We didn't miss the plane.

The second flight was good! It was dead; there were rows of seats empty everywhere. As soon as the plane took off and I was allowed to take my seatbelt off I made myself a bed across an empty four seats and slept almost the entire time. Fortunately I never missed either meal and conveniently woke up as the meal trolley was passing. Even better! I dare say this was the best flight I’d ever been on.

So... we arrived in Singapore.

I was feeling pretty fresh after that lovely sleep I had, Tina not so much. Anyway, now we had arrived we had a couple of options to get to our hotel from the airport. Shuttle buses and Taxi’s were there as per usual, but so was the MRT, which is Singapore’s underground. With the underground being the cheapest option, my frugal mind decided we should have a stab at that, after all, where is the adventure in getting a Taxi.

Everything is written in English in Singapore and everyone speaks it, so it’s very easy to navigate. The MRT was the same. You simply walk up to the automated ticked machine, select your station, insert your monies and away you go. Our hotel was in the Clarke Quay district, which meant we had to change lines to get there but it was all very easy. We used the MRT to get about during our stay quite a bit as it was very cheap. At most I think it was about $4.50SGD for both of us per journey (about £2.25).

We alighted at Clarke Quay. I had a rough idea of where I was going but wasn’t certain, but then you don’t need to be these days. MAPS.ME is a great offline map app with a built in sat-nav kind of thing. I use this all the time to get about when I don’t have a data connection on my phone to use Google Maps.

During our walk to the Clarke Quay Holiday Inn, tempers were starting to flair. Tina was very hot and very tired so like a big baby, she made it known. I might have taken a few wrong turns, despite following a sat-nav app, which may have caused/added to her already foul mood.

We made it to the hotel about fifteen minutes later, relieved after having been in transit for over twenty hours. It felt sooo good to finally be here. It was about 3pm in the afternoon at this point.

We spent the next few hours chilling and getting showered before heading out into Singapore.

As the sun started to set we headed towards Singapore’s ‘Gardens at the Bay’. This was a purpose built park, with the attraction being the plant life and light shows amongst other things. Sat-nav in hand I got us there after taking another few wrong turns and we managed to catch the 19:45 light show, which is free to anyone in the park at the time. I also saw a tortoise in the river on the way. After the show we walked around the sky bridge, which gives you an aerial view of the park and Singapore, this was only $5 (so £2.50 each).

By the time we left the park it was getting on 9pm. We were both absolutely exhausted at this point and were dying for a proper sleep in a proper bed. We had about two miles to walk back to the hotel. We could have taken the MRT, which in hind sight would have been a better option, but we thought we would take a slow walk back and a different route to the one we came by, taking in a little more of Singapore on foot.

On our way back we came across a mall, and in the mall there was a food court. As we hadn't eaten since the plane we had our dinner. I had a chicken fried in oats and rice dish thing, while Tina had a Pad Thai. Both meals were just shy of £10 if I remember correctly and both delicious.

As it turns out that was a bad move. Already exhausted and now having a belly full of food, I could have just slept on the pavement there and then. I was beyond exhausted.

Still, we walked the remaining thirty minutes back to our hotel, taking pictures, admiring the views, all in between moaning like fuck about how sore our feet were, how tired we were, how hot it was.... It was very bitter-sweet.

The next day in Singapore...

After a good nights sleep we were up at about 8am to indulge ourselves in Singapore’s rich mix of culture. I just couldn't wait to get to Universal Studios!!!!

There’s not a lot to say about Universal Studios. I also never took the camera so I was free to go on all the roller coasters without pratting around with lockers, so there isn't anything to see either.

Universal was good fun, but by 4pm we called it a day and starting moaning about being tired again. Off we went back to the hotel.

We got back into the hotel and both fell asleep. We slept between 6pm and 5:30am. I regret this a lot as I would have liked to go out and see Singapore again in the evening after a small rest, but a combination of fuck-all sleep, jet-lag and having spent the last 8 hours walking around a theme park, took its toll.

Every cloud and all that though... as I said I was awake and ready at 5:30, breakfast started at 6! Wooo. There I was first in the queue of, err, no one, to get stuck into the buffet. Turns out lots of walking and no dinner the day prior causes you to work up some appetite.

Day 2 in Singapore

First thing we did was seek out the Raffles Hotel for some of those famous Singapore Slings. We hit the streets at about 9am, MAPS.ME in hand and set a bearing towards Raffles Hotel, or where I thought it was anyway. No wrong turns later and we were there. We found the Long Bar inside just as it opened and were the first people in! Great, we had the place to ourselves. I noticed the guy behind the bar was pre making Singapore Slings in bulk. I guess no one orders anything else. Well we didn't, and soon enough we too had our Singapore Slings in hand and a little taste of history.

As I was supping on my ‘Sling I was reading a little of its history on a pamphlet on the table. Turns out it’s a right girl’s drink. The creator designed it as a way in which women (in dinosaur times) could get away with drinking alcohol instead of just plain fruit juice, hence the colour and fruitiness of it. Being the whole man that I am, on discovery of this I spat it across the table and ordered a double whisky on ice.

That’s not true. I enjoyed every moment of it. It was delicious. What kind of man can’t enjoy a pretty fruity beverage once in a while? Bloody expensive though at £15 a go, so not a poor one like me.

Next we headed toward the Gardens by the Bay again. There were a few things around there that we wanted to do. On the way we walked past the paddock for the F1 cars for when Singapore’s streets are closed and it becomes a racetrack. I don’t even like F1 but it was good to see it. I suppose I like the idea that they turn the entire city into a mass place of entertainment, and that’s what it represented.

We soon found ourselves back in the Gardens by the Bay and boy was it hot. Only last week I was losing my shit about having to go outside in the wind and the rain in Glasgow, but right there, while I was stood in the blistering mid-day heat, all I wanted was Tina to shout “ROB!! TAKE THAT BIN OOT IT STINKS” and off I would go, pyjamas on, into the cold... I could only dream.

So, we were at the Gardens. This time we came to see the Cloud Forest, which was like a huge greenhouse with waterfalls and clouds, across four stories. I think what they have done here is make their own indoor eco-system, I think... I'm not sure. It was nice (read cool) inside though, and that’s all that mattered to me right now, £8pp well spent.

Next up... Marina Bay Sands. This is the giant hotel with the ship/boat across the top of its three towers. The purpose of coming here was for the view of Singapore from the top. We decided to go to one of the restaurants on the roof and have some lunch while taking in the view across the city. It was very high indeed, a bit scary in fact but the city looked astounding from up here. You can pay to go up to an observation tower, but it costs about £13 each just to do that. We decided that it would make more sense if we went to the restaurant and fed ourselves for a similar amount AND get the view. At least £40 later however, I'm not sure that was the best idea... I’ll be going home in two weeks at this rate.

After lunch we jumped on the MRT and back to the hotel we went. Again, the plan was to take a few hours rest and then head and see the city’s light show once dusk had hit. That didn't happen. Instead some arsehole (I hope you’re reading this if you have hacked my laptop) thought it would be a good idea to use my card to pay for items in Tesco, somewhere in/around London. BASTARD! So, I spent the night on the phone to the bank and doing everything I could to this laptop to make sure it’s clean and safe. That was our last night in Singapore. Fortunately we will be back as we are flying out of here to come home. We’ll catch up then.

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