We got back on the tube to China Town which was crowded with people everywhere most of which were eating some kind of food. Andrew delighted in nearly forcing me to order some Pigs innards soup, a delicacy apparently, but I got away with just taking the picture. Yuck. There were also lots of religious offerings going on with monks chanting and joss stick smoke everywhere.
Next we visited the Merlion (Andrew edit - after a rather long walk through the CBD) a strange hybrid lion mermaid statue which is the symbol of Singapore from the 1960’s it sits looking over the river with a fountain thundering from its mouth. The views from here of the CBD (Central Business District) were stunning and Andrew commented that it’s the best business district that he has ever seen. The buildings certainly were very imposing and created a very impressive skyline especially for me the Esplanade which locals call the ‘Big Durians’ due to its likeness to the much loved and loathed fruit. It was a short walk from here to the Colonial district and all it had to offer. We walked past the Victoria concert hall, St Andrew’s Cathedral and the Old Supreme court which were very beautiful and in stark contrast to the new Supreme court building
. Singapore does that to you a lot. We decided to go to the Asian Civilisations museum as it had received rave revues in all the guide books. It was 8 Dollars each to get in, which Andrew decided in his wisdom was too much and spied his chance to sneak in whilst I paid and got a sticker. The place was amazing with loads of galleries housing ancient artefacts from all over Asia and explained a lot about the many contributing factors such as religion, weather and natural disasters that make Asia the intoxicating continent that it is today. I had a really good look around and spent a few hours in there while Andrew played fugitive and spent the whole time trying to avoid security guards and hiding the fact that he didn’t have a sticker with the SE Asia Lonely Planet. So I don’t know how much of it he actually enjoyed. (Andrew Edit - I actually really enjoyed it but at one point opened the guide book and noticed that there is a minimum of a jail sentance and public flogginh for theft so took Erica's receipt and had to show it one guard, hey I know its wrong but the budget is everything and ever few pounds saved is..... well in Cambodia about 10 pints but we are not in Cambodia)
From here we walked to the famous ‘Raffles Hotel’ which was just as amazing as we expected it to be. The doormen were wearing the most fabulous garb, pristine white, as they stood sentry at the driveway
. We walked around the marble walkways home to many high end shops but just couldn’t bring ourselves to pay a magnificent price for a Singapore Sling there so we just had a peak at the Long Bar instead which appeared decidedly ordinary in comparison. We walked quite some way towards Fort Canning Park where Ian Brown played earlier this month and were amazed to see escalators going up a hill outside! It then occurred to us that in Singapore there are more escalators than we have seen anywhere in our lives before its just crazy – but how can everybody still be so thin (Andrew edit - bar hong kong were you dont even need to walk)? Our route then took us to Orchard Road which is the shopping mecca of Singapore. We have quite honestly never seen shopping like it there were huge malls everywhere with so many designer brands, there must be at least three shops per designer name here. It was all a bit too much for us so we headed towards the tube and for our last location: Little India (Andrew edit - at last another metro we were knackered by this point).
Little India lives up to its name. Everything here as opposed to the other areas of Singapore is low rise. The streets are narrow and as you’d expect the old shop fronts range from being beautifully painted in fabulous colours to basically falling down. We wandered the streets and saw so many people burning fake paper money and making other offerings
. We visited Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple which had the most beautiful carved roof and carvings inside. It was full of people just sat around on the floor chatting amongst themselves.
One place that we didn’t make it to that we had heard about on Sunday was the hilariously nicknamed ‘Four floors of whores’ bars. Apparently it is one huge pick up joint under one roof with loads of seedy little bars where the ‘quality’ of the lady boys becomes more questionable the higher you get in the building. The term cock in a frock was seemingly made for this place.
Feeling worn out we went home and were greeted by Siong who had cooked his famous Chicken porridge for us for our tea (Andrew edit - i would have been gutted to leave Singwerepoor without smelling and eating what I woke up to most Sundays in Salford to and it was just as good as I remembered). It was a weekly ritual on a Sunday when he lived with us that he would make the porridge as it was Cheryl’s favourite – even my dad got to sample some. The four of us, including Qian Ying sat together and ate and then watched TV until Cheryl came home from work at about 9pm with mutton kebabs with satay sauce and pigs trotters. We all sat there and munched away as we caught up on our exhausting day of sightseeing. Then got a relatively early night for a change.
We woke up in a much better frame of mind and ready and prepared for our day of sightseeing around Singapore as we had made a feeble attempt at it so far. We had some breakfast with everybody and I did some colouring with Qian Ying and then with camera in hand we caught the MRT to 'Harbourside' to start our exploration of the city at Sentosa. We had to get a sky train across the water to the island which cost us 3 dollars each but allowed us to make unlimited trips around the island all day. We had a look around some of the complex which has 3 beaches, Universal Studios (at 66 Dollars each well beyond our means), hotels, Michelin starred restaurants, show venues and so many other attractions such as surfing, luge, observation towers, bungee, all of which we couldn’t afford so we just took some pictures and got back on the sky train. A lot of the complex also still seems to be under construction so I’m sure there will be a whole lot more there to tempt tourists and locals to part with their hard earned cash before long