Aug 22, 2005
Jul 17, 2006
. That afternoon I took a bus out to Singapore Zoo with the sole intention of seeing some Komodo dragons, something we had missed in their native Indonesia. Alas, any dreams I had of seeing the world's biggest lizard tear apart a live goat were soon crushed when I discovered that their dragon was only a juvenile, and that feeding time was on a Sunday. Still, the zoo deserved the accolade of one of the world's best and I got to see the crocodiles being fed, stroked an iguana, hung out with some bats and had a lemur sit on my shoulder. I set off for the airport at 9pm, and on the way realised that since my flight wasn't until 8am, I probably wouldn't be allowed through immigration and into in the departure lounge until the morning and would have to sleep outside the airport. Fortunately, the lovely people at Singapore Air managed to put me on the 1.20am flight, meaning that I'd arrive in Beijing by dawn and would only have to hang around for a couple of hours. The guy at the check-in desk laughed at how cold it will be there. I told him I'm sure I'll be ok, I'm from the North.
The first traveller I met since setting out solo was an excitable Irish lad called Jack who assured me that it will be one of the best things I ever do and that I'd meet people every step of the way (as he had just proved). Just an off-the-cuff remark, but one which did wonders for my confidence about this trip. I decided to make the most of my one day in Singapore, so rose early and headed over to Little India to find a place that would make me a much-missed masala dosa and a cup of chai for breakfast. They even let me into the kitchen, having told them that I was a bit of an expert South Indian chef. Standing outside the temple, seeing the smiles on faces and smelling the spice in the air took me back to India and reminded me how it had welcomed me in and stirred my senses. Next up was Chinatown, which provided a taste of things to come. With its mix of Chinese, Indian and Malay people the choice food in Singapore is just incredible. I then walked along the river, past the ultra-chic Clarke Quay (well, maybe not quite so chic - they have a Hooters!) and on to see the Raffles Hotel