Christmas in Singapore

Trip Start Mar 18, 2009
Trip End Jan 12, 2010

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Flag of Singapore  ,
Friday, December 25, 2009

On Christmas eve we checked out of the Yellow Mansion hotel in Melaka and flagged down a taxi to the Sentral bus station. We'd booked our 9am bus tickets when we arrived in Melaka a few days ago as tickets were selling out fast - Christmas is big business in Asia ! Unfortunately the foreign exchange office wasn't open unti 11am, so we were stuck with our excess Ringgits and no Singapore Dollars.

The bus trundled down to Johor Baru where we went through Malaysian border control, and then onto the Singapore border. The bus driver made sure we took all our belongings with us - he would only wait 30 minutes for us to clear immigration -  the clock was ticking !

As soon as we walked into the building we saw a big sign warning that we would have to declare any alcohol we brought in, we had a feeling this would happen - it's fine to bring in 1 litre each as long as you aren't entering Singapore from Malaysia or Indonesia. I suppose this is to stop booze cruisers. Anyway we walked straight up to the excess duty desk and a very friendly helpful man calculated the duty, which worked out at much less than we expected, around 35 quid. That's less than it would cost to buy our xmas and new year alcohol in Singapore and luckily we bought our litre of Pimms and Bombay Saphire on Duty free Langkawi. We had some fun working through our credit and debit cards - Paul's credit card was cancelled back in Vietnam and I've forgotten the pin number for mine (having not used it for 9 months). My debit card is a crappy Maestro and no-one accepts them, but thankfully Paul's debit card worked and we were off. We walked past the Europeans that had tried to sneak through alcohol in their bags - tut-tut, they didn't make it back onto the bus before the 30 minutes was up and we were glad honesty was the best policy as we sped towards Singapore's Lavendar bus station.

Because we had no Singapore Dollars, and could not find any money changers, we decided to walk down to Orchard road, it couldn't be that far surely ? An hour later we plodded into the Tourist info place on Orchard road, the Somerset Orchard serviced appartments were hidden behind one of the millon shopping malls and we needed help to find them !

After bamboo huts and shared bathrooms, the Somerset Orchard appartment was just what we needed, and what we feel we deserve !! We booked it months ago and have been really looking forward to being in a home, not just a room. Once we'd got the wifi working and showered off the traveller sweat, we went food shopping at the Carrefour ready for Xmas day.

In the evening we met Paul's brother and his lovely fiancee Khine who treated us to dinner in Clarke Quay and then took us on a river side walk down to Marina Bay. It's great to meet up with family and catch up, although skype has helped us to feel a lot closer to home than we thought we'd feel.

On Christmas day we prepared a full xmas dinner, well as full as can be with a hob and a microwave. We bought ready roasted chickens, cooked a variety of veg, Paul's brother brought us Paxo stuffing, gravy and some Bird's custard to go with mum's xmas pudding (which we set on fire with a little gin!). We had crackers with terriible jokes, pimms and lemonade, some trully cheesey (perfect) xmas movies (including The Grinch and Home Alone!) and most importantly we spoke to our mums and dads my bro and Jojo and my gran and several of our uncles and aunts on Skype. It was as good as Christmas can get away from home.

On boxing day Paul and I had a day of nothing, eating all the left-overs, enjoying being able to cook things in an appartment that is bigger than our old flat in Peartree Ave! We will be really sad to move to the 14 pound a night hostel with a shared bathroom - back where we belong !!

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Dorothy Lockwood on

A Christmas to be remembered in the years to come and you certainly made the most of it. I'm still looking forward to eating your Mum's Xmas pudding!
Love you lots, Gran

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