Singapore Summary

Trip Start May 31, 2008
Trip End Jul 31, 2009

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Flag of Singapore  ,
Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Well howdy... writing this from Changi Airport, Singapore on my laptop having frustrated myself trying to connect to this airports wireless network. Not to worry though... I am rapidly running out of steam after an exhausting full-pelt at Singapore. I gave it my best shot and the city, she loved me in return...
It's a hell of a place Singapore... and somewhat Utopian. You really wouldn't imagine you were in South East Asia at ALL. This place is like the best parts of both England and America, but given an exotic oriental twist.
The first thing that hits you is how peaceful it is here. Even the subway at rush hour is a cruisy affair. There doesn't seem to be any congestion on the roads, the public transport seems to run like a dream, it's laid back, everyone speaks perfect English, the weather is beautiful and it's definitely somewhere you could imagine being happy to bring your Mum / Dad / Grandparent / Girlfriend for a super relaxed time with just about ZERO hassles.
It's almost too good to be true. There were times walking around the numerous Malls I investigated today (seriously must have been close to double figures!) where I almost forgot where I was and could have been in The White Rose Centre in Leeds. I swear to goodness, right down to the price tags on most things too...
I managed to get a decent deal on some computer Memory to upgrade my little Everex Cloudbook UMPC to a Gigabyte of RAM and also found a proper case for my camera which I was pretty stoked about, both fairly relevant travelling accessories. My luxury item was a nice new shirt from the Quiksilver store which you can see me sporting in the one of the photos of me from this section (but which one?).
Most of the rest of the time was spent shooting the city with my camera on foot. I must have walked for around 4 hours at least. It was great. It seemed impossible to take a bad picture in this place, the light was great and the architecture and spotlessness of the place made framing photos a pleasure.
I stumbled upon the National Museum of Singapore whilst looking for the computer related Mall in the city and it was a pleasure to see a Free exhibition regarding the influence of the Indian community who had found their way to Singapore many years ago. A nice co-incidence having just come from Mumbai! There was also a cool amateur photography exhibition which was worth seeing for a few new ideas.
Lunch was down a quiet part of the harbor near to the where the founder of the city, Mr Raffles (who the famous hotel is named after) first made port and saw the potential for a great international harbour location that Singapore is today.
After some delicious Pad Thai (it was nice to be reminded how it's done properly) I made a concerted effort to find the Raffles Hotel itself to try it's signature cocktail, the 'Singapore Sling' (invented by Chinese Bar Tender Mr Ngiam Tong Boon) before heading back to the airport.
For those of you who don't know the ingredients, here is the recipe;
  30ml Gin
15ml Heering Cherry Liqueur
120ml Pinapple Juice
15ml Lime Juice
7.5ml Cointreau
7.5ml Dom Benedictine
10m Grenadine
A dash of Angostura Bitters
Garnish with a slice of Pinapple and Cherry.
I felt a little out of place at the hotel, it is definitely for folk with money. A helpful member of staff from another bar of the hotel I bumbled into showed me to the famous 'Long Bar' scene of the famous drinks invention. The bar itself has a timeless quality, lots of old wooden features and a fan system on the roof comprising large traditional Chinese style hand fans continually rocking back and forth which worked really well surprisingly!
There was also and the added quirk of the bar having peanut shells all over the floor. I was told by the bloke who showed me the way from the other bar on arrival at the Long Bar that I was entitled to throw peanuts in their shells at the bar. This is apparently a tradition which was originated to make the owners of the bar feel at more at home. As they owned a peanut plantation where they spent most of their time the idea was that the locals helped to create a similar environment to the plantation warehouse for the owners. It felt rather strange to be encouraged to make a mess but was rather fun all the same to have a bit of a fling!
As I say drinking my Singapore Sling (which was delicious and made me feel rather squiffy afterwards having not drunk alcohol for a while) I reflected on the fact that my pricey alcoholic indulgence ($26 - about 9 quid!) cost the same as the Indians were charging Westerners for the Taj Mahal! Some things are rather backwards when you look at them objectively but this was no time for deep financial thought, so I sat back and enjoyed every last sip of the exotic cocktail before hot-footing it back through Singapore to the train for my flight to Sydney.
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