Eat, sleep, eat, shop, eat, sleep, eat, eat...

Trip Start Sep 02, 2007
Trip End Sep 01, 2008

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Flag of Singapore  ,
Friday, March 21, 2008

We enjoyed Singapore! It's clean, has lots of history, has great views both of the city scape and of harbours and the sea. It's easy to get around, there are so many choices of where to eat, shop, relax, and spend again! We mentioned about the shopping in Kuala Lumpur, but Singapore obviously didn't want to be second and easily equals the number of malls. You can walk in underground subways between malls so you don't even have to brave the high humidity of the outdoors and interrupt a good days shopping.

As we mentioned in the last entry, we were staying with Jin Yu. He lives in a very nice apartment block with his flatmate Brian. We enjoyed the huge pool and jacuzzi to laze in. They really treated us well, taking us around all of the sights and insisting we try any food we hadn't before. Jin is Malaysian and Malaysians enjoy food, but Singaporeans LOVE food! They have so much choice because of the diverse make up of the people that you can enjoy Indian curries, Malaysian puddings and Singaporean sea food, as well as Japanese sushi, any 'western' food you want and lots more. We ate a lot, a lot, a lot! Some of the best food came from the local hawker markets where the locals eat. They have these places all over the city, set up underneath the apartment blocks designed for the locals to use. They are basically small food kitchens and there about 40 at each place so you just have to decide what to eat, or in our case be told what to try! The spicy whole crab was amazing and we have now eaten stingray. We were a little disapointed to find our favourite dish from the takeaway back home, Singapore rice noodles, doesn't actually exist, but all the other incredible food made up for it!

As a former British colony, there are many fine colonial buildings in the city. Now that may sound a bit airy fairy, but it's true, the buildings have not only survived a huge and relatively quick modernisation of the whole city, but they have been preserved extremely well too. A couple of examples are the previous British Government house which is now the excellent (and free) Asian civilisations museum and the old Post Office which is now the Fullerton Hotel. We had a 'traditional' English high tea here with all the trappings of cucumber sandwiches, scones and cream but with an Asian twist of green tea and duck canapés too.

We went to Chinatown and enjoyed the hustle and bustle there of the market and seeing a new and very large Buddhist temple, we saw the famous and weird Merlion statue which has a fish body and lions head and is a huge thirty foot high water fountain, and we sauntered along the wharf of Boat Quay. We enjoyed an afternoon out at Sentosa Island where we visited the old British fort, Fort Siloso which tried to fend off the Japanese advance in World War Two and where 100,000 Allied troops were taken as prisoners of war. There's a lot of colonial history here that you wouldn't necessarily know and that's another delight of travelling, you find out things you didn't know before. That's why we like this journey we're taking, you experience and learn so much.

The other thing about Singapore is that you can do anything in an afternoon as the island isn't that big. The government is reclaiming land everywhere, so a lot of the island, including Jin's apartment complex, is built where there used to be sea!

Another thing we found is that God is good! We knew that already but He showed us again! We hadn't made it to a church service for a while and we really felt we wanted to go, especially as it was Easter Sunday. We mentioned this to Jin and it turned out that Brian was a Christian and so we all went to church together. That evening we were all invited to the home of a Christian family for dinner who were friends of Jin's and Brian's and we had a great time, and enjoyed the home cooked Chinese food.

Just to mention that the airport there is also great. If you have a lay over there and enough time, you can have a free 2 hour bus tour of the city. We didn't need that as Jin and Brian took care of the tours for us and did a very good job of it!
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