The fun begins ...
Trip Start Jan 16, 2007
33Trip End Apr 31, 2007
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Singapore is a clean, harmonious, organised country - a mixture of Chinese, Malay and Indians. All the cultures live happily together and the locals pride themselves of having no racial problems nor tensions. In times like these that's a pretty big achievement.
The first day in Singapore we explored the shopping delights of Orchard Road, starting off with a meal of local cuisine (dumpling soup & "roast meat with rice"). Yum!. A couple of very large, very expensive Heineken's at the ex-pat haunt of Muddy Murphy's Irish bar and then we were off to have dinner & Tiger beers with Tony and his workmate in a local eating house.
Our second day we swam in the pool of the condominium where we were staying and soaked up some Singapore sun. After being used to the harsh Aussie & NZ sun it was pleasant to do some sun-baking without having that peculiar feeling of being slowly fried.
Content with being lazy for half the day we then set off to the Hindu Thaipusam Festival within Little India. Devotees walk a 4km course between two main temples, carrying offerings to their God of Favours (Lord Subramanium).
They also carry their 'burdens' along which are symbolised by metal frames secured to their bodies by spikes or hooks. They are doing this to ask a favour or give thanks for a favour received. Even though the hooks pierce flesh, not a drop of blood is spilt and the participants feel no pain.
We were lucky enough to be allowed in the temple when the devotees were being prepared. Incense filled the air as did the loud Hindu chanting from a group of musicians.
Walking along the main route of the parade we felt like we were really in India, it had such a different feel to the Singapore we had just come from. Strangely enough we elicited many stares from the locals, and although we felt relatively safe, we were very aware of a separation between us and the locals.
After the festival we cabbed over to Chinatown which is preparing for their New Year Celebrations in February. Bright red lanterns cover the streets and the stalls are stocked with Chinese treats and delicacies.
We ended our time in Singapore with an excellent meal at a local Malaysian restaurant where we're both throughly satiated for a very reasonable price. I'm finishing this off at Changi airport as we are about to jump on a plane to Krabi, Thailand where we plan to laze on the beach, get daily massages and avoid eating any chicken.
Hope that everyone is well.
Andy and Sam