Hot and steamy

Trip Start Nov 09, 2007
Trip End Feb 03, 2008

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Flag of Singapore  ,
Friday, November 9, 2007

You might think that arriving at Singapore at 5 o'clock in the morning would allow you to miss out on the oppressive heat and humidity. You might think that, but you'd be wrong. Twenty-six degrees and about 99% humidity greeted us as we walked clear of Changi airport. It was wonderful to see the shiny city of Singapore waking up as we headed to our hotel. The roads were clear and we could see itinerant workers loaded into the backs of trucks being taken off to their workplace for the day.

Fatigued after our flight we hoped against hope that the Swissotel Merchant Court would have a room for us at 6 in the morning. The receptionist took pity on us - she could see that the girls were very tired. We were able to dump our bags in our room, freshen up and head on out to look for some breakfast.

We walked along riverfront at Clarke Quay soaking in the atmosphere and marveling at having the whole place to ourselves. The downside was that nothing was open. As we walked on, the heat started to beat down on us and we started to look for any excuse to slow down. This included the river cruise information desk. Jess had the bright idea to ask the man for advice on where to eat. He said 'You want local or you want tourist place?' Challenged in this way we had no option but to show our bohemian credentials and say with confidence 'local please'. He led us one street back from the riverfront and showed us a place that was brimming with local customers. 'Is a good local coffee shop' he assured us.

We strode up with confidence only to be confronted with a confusing array of options from about 10 different stalls. We weren't sure how to go about ordering, let alone what to order. Eventually Jess decided on a fish ball soup and the girls and I opted for the safer 'breakfast egg set'. A minute later a pot arrived at the table with some bowls sitting on top to keep the heat in. 'Ten minute' the man told me. OK, I thought, I can handle that. Fast forward ten minutes and Jess is halfway through her fish balls soup and I tentatively took the lid-of-bowls off the pot and took out one of the boiled eggs. 'Think it's done?' I asked Jess. 'Only one way to find out' she told me.

As I cracked open the egg a mess of congealed half cooked egg white erupted out into the bowl. We all looked at each other, the horror palpable. Hmmm... maybe another five minutes. Tick tick tick. I cracked open another egg. Another eruption, another half cooked egg lying mocking me in the bowl. The half-amused eyes of the other patrons were upon us, curious to see what our next move would be.

The man could see we were having difficulties. He looked at the bowls of half raw egg. 'Is good' he assured me. 'Just add some sugar' he said, pointing to the salt shaker. 'OK' I told him, squirming in my seat.

'You finished?' I asked Jess. We scuttled out of there as fast as we could and put it down to experience. Our brave attempt to blend in with the locals. Even though it was a bit of a shock to our system, we loved it. We actually felt for the first time in our many visits to Singapore that we were in an Asian country.

We wandered back to the waterfront and took the river cruise. A very pleasant hour spent cruising up and down the river. Afterward we headed back to our room for a snooze.
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