City of Blinding Lights

Trip Start Jun 15, 2004
Trip End Jun 15, 2005

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Monday, October 11, 2004

Monday 11th October 2004
Flew to Johar Bahru, a city in Malaysia just north of Singapore, as its cheaper to fly there and catch the short bus journey to Singapore. Met a guy on the plane who sold his business, and travels for 2/3 months at a time, leaving his wife and young kids at home (I'm sure she's very impressed!)

Useful though, as he insists on buying me lunch after I lent him the MRT (train) fare to get into the centre of Singapore.

Singapore comes across as very clean, very efficient, and very rich - totally out of place in Asia! - I also discover, very expensive!

Decide on a guest house I had seen on the web about 18 months ago - The Inn Crowd , so arrive at the Little India area, which is like, er, a little India. Dont actually have the address, but eventually find an internet cafe and work out where it is.

Really cool hostel - as you would expect in Singapore, cool, expensive, efficient and clean.

Tuesday 12th October 2004
Walk what feels like the entire Island of Singapore - at least down Orchard Road, which is the main shopping area, and have to pay full price for my Rough Guide to Australia. Onto Chinatown, though relatively quiet as midday.

Being that much closer to the equator (138km), its also a lot hotter here, though the heat never seems to kill me - though I'm constantly drinking water. Walk down to the central part of the city - where all the skyscrapers are, though none are distinctive - there's no signature buildings like Kuala Lumpur. Nice riverside area though, with nice restaurants and bars.

Walk onto the old colonial buildings, and see statues of Sir Stamford Raffles - the founder on Singapore, who they revere, and then wander past Raffles, but dont go in - think I'm a little too scruffy at the moment.

Then onto Arab Street and the surrounding area - billed as the Islamic centre of Singapore, but didnt really live up to its billing - a few mosques, but nowhere near as strong as Little India, which is the adjacent area - where I find a wonderful curry at a reasonable price.

Wednesday 13th October 2004
Sentosa Island is an island off Singapore, and is their weekend place to go. Catch MRT to Harbour Front, but see the cable car starts off in the mountain behind, so go in that direction - only to realise after half an hour walking that you could also catch it in the skyscraper right next to the station.

Cable car gives you excellent views of the city and port, but it was expensive - costs are beginning to finally bite!

Sentosa Island itself is nice, if a little plastic - everthing is a little too ordered, and its dotted with attractions, which you get to on the free tram round the Island.

See a very good aquarium - the type where you walk with the fish swimming all around you (though discover afterwards I could have dived in the tank).

In the evening, I visit the Night Safari - and the polish and delivery of this could only be in Singapore - slick cheesy commentary from the tram, all of the animals turn up, and roar when appropriate. The enclosures look large enough - this isnt a traditional zoo - it appears they are in the jungle, but I'm sure there are lots of electric fences we cant see. You do see lots of animals, and it was a good night - just a little too perfect!

Thursday 14th October 2004
Lazy day, but lounge in bars along the riverfront at Clarke Quay. Against my better judgement, decide to have my Singapore Sling at Raffles. Very nice hotel (though decided against staying...), very colonial and ambient - and of course a shopping arcade attached.

Singapore Sling itself, for over 6 pounds, was not that nice, but I guess, when in Rome.

Returned to Hostel mid bump into Paul again...he's stalking me (though he did recommend here as well)
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