Amy on her own
Trip Start Nov 14, 2006
90Trip End Ongoing
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Singapore is a very young, ultra-modern, uber-clean, techno-schmeckno,
trendy, beautiful and above all, safe city, full of skyscrapers and hope for
the future. It's also a shoppers' paradise although i personally never
visited any shops i hear this on good authority.
I left Bangkok for Singapore the day after the boys flew to Oz. I headed for
the airport a little frightened as i had rarely ventured further than Tescos
gave the place a bad report so i was dubious.
I boarded the tiny little plane in Thailand (which btw blew about in the sky
like a demented pigeon the whole way there) and read my Lonely Planet in an
attempt to formulate a plan of action.
I decided on a hostel in a part of the city called, Little India, which i
later discovered is the one and only "scruffy" part of Singapore - it was
The whole place was just as the name suggests and smelt exactly like Belmont
Tandoori and i felt at home straight away. Yum!
I had arrived at 3pm and successfully navigated my way, without use of a
taxi or asking directions, to a hostel called the "Inn Crowd". Very clever!.
i dumped my bags. stuffed a tree's worth of tourist guides and maps in my
back pocket and headed out to see what i could find
I took the MRT ( very fast metro) which was as clean as a whistle. An
absolute pleasure to travel on and no beggars or drunkards to be seen
All the time i spent in Singapore i never had to wait more than three
minutes for public transport, can you believe that?
I got out and found myself getting dizzy looking up at all the skyscrapers
All the streets were lined with tropical plants and trees with little
I first went to see a lazer show at the biggest fountain in the world, The
Fountain of Wealth, and happily watched the show which was accompanied by
Chaka Khan's, I'm Every Woman.
Next i sought out Raffles, the most prestigious hotel in a city full to
breaking point of prestigious hotels, and felt i could have easily been
inside Buckingham Palace
Of course the likes of me weren't allowed into the guest restaurants but the
public were allowed into the plaza restaurants. I thought about having a
drink but decided against it as i felt i might have ruffled the place.
This city is one of the richest in the world but one of the best things
about that is that i never once got a whiff of pretentiousness about it.
Less than 50 yards from Raffles i found a humble little food court where i
got a lovely meal of duck and noodles, soup and a lemon juice for $1.50. Not
bad! The interesting thing about that place was the name of one of the
outlets, "Pig Organ Soup".
Can you imagine getting a sit-down meal in Oxford Street for $1.50. Not
likely mate! Just because you're in "Landan" the businesses there think they
have the right to charge you $10.50 for half a warm coke and a packet of KP
Not so in Singapore. I spent two days here, did everything i wanted to do
and only spent about $40.
After Raffles i went for a wander in search of the Parliament buildings and
City Hall. Along the way i passed St Andrews Cathedral.
Just between the cathedral and the amazing Esplanade Theatre was a little
patch where a group of kids were playing football on what looked like grass
which had been planted, loved, nurtured and then precisely snipped to
perfection by the Queen's gardeners themselves. "What a nice setting to play
football in," I thought.
On closer inspection i found that the much-loved piece of turf also doubled
up as a cricket pitch with a pavilion at the far end which made the pavilion
at the Oval look about as appealing as a Cambodian squat toilet!
The theatre was two huge domes on the river's edge sprinkled in twinkling
I passed a statue of Singapore's founder, Thomas Stamnford Raffles, who the
Raffles hotel is named after, incase you hadn't picked up on that one.
The Brit (i say that as not to offend Zoe) came across Singapore in 1819
when it was a tiny fishing village surrounded by mangroves and crocodile
infested waters, and turned it into a brilliantly designed ultra-modern city
which is slap bang in the middle of a rainforest.
The riverside was also a truly spectacular sight with smart bars and
eateries lining the riverfront. At the far end was a statue of Singapore's
mascot the Merlion. NB! A Merlion is just as it sounds, half mermaid, half
I floated along the river on a boat lit with Chinese lanterns and got off at
the trendy Clarke Quay where i bought myself an ice-cream from a Turkish
magician who kept pretending to hand me the ice-cream before snatching it
away and hiding it.
For a good ten minutes he did this until my ice-cream went runny. He kept
pushing it through his legs and pulling it out of his ear an allsorts.
I laughed at first but in the end it was just out of politeness as i just
wanted him to "give me my f**** ice-cream".
Next i went to the public toilets which was possibly the most enjoyable part
o my trip as i was left totally in awe of how clean they were.
No word of a lie you could quite happily take a picnic down to the public
toilets in Singapore and eat your scotch eggs off the floor, which was lucky
for me as i dropped my ham and cheese sandwich on it.
I made my way back to the station at about 11pm that night worn off my feet
thinking that i would be happy to party my life away here until my
biological clock stopped ticking - at which point i would inevitably feel
the need to return home to start a family!!!!!!
Notice that i'm a lone woman in a strange country walking the streets late
at night???? I can tell you that in this wonderful metropolis i never once
felt uneasy, harassed, fearful or scared and that is saying a lot as just
one journey on the metro in Paris or London alone and I'm totally bricking
I think that's something very great about this place. Here you have a
thriving city, home to millions and not for a split second did i feel
scared. Mr Raffles certainly did something right.
Singapore in my opinion in capitalism at its best. Whether you like the
results or not there is no denying that this city has achieved what every
single city of every single capitalist country in the world aspires to, and
not only that it has achieved it with style.
Its multicultural gone mad, it's pristinely clean everywhere (apart from
Little India), its transport system is state-of-the-art and it actually
works and works well, it's trendy and buzzing and it's beautiful, it's safe
with a very low crime rate (whether that's because the police have machine
guns remains to be seen) but everything here seems to be perfect.
People often like to hang on to the old, conserve old things and because of
that they have a fear of the new and modern and because of this progress is
But here is a city that can prove that the modern world and progress is not
necessarily a bad thing and that proof is illustrated by its people, who are
the happiest, kindest, most friendly and most helpful people i have ever
met, bar my friends an family of course.
No sooner did i look at a metro map inquisitively than an old man had come
up to me to say "can i help you miss". Lovely! I thought how typically
English of him but then thought better of it.
The next day i visited the zoo in the rainforest and went to the theatre
hoping to get a ticket to see Phantom of the Opera but they were sold out.
Next stop Oz.