We finally started our arduous journey across the world to Singapore. We started off ok. Got our flight from Detroit to Chicago with no problems. Said goodbye to the folks (who were really good about seeing us off), went through some Canadian discriminatory airport screening and on the plane without a hitch. Got too Chicago and we were not so lucky. We were stuck on the airport runway for a good couple of hours before we were told that the plane's fuel sensor was malfunctioning. So after an hour or so to fix that problem, it was back to the runway to take off. Yes! Oh, but what's this? Hydraulic problems now? Oh great! So they decided to get everyone to exit the plane this time. We waited around for 2 more hours or so until the airline decided to put us up for the night in Chicago. It wasn't too bad though. We were put up in a very nice hotel and given a $14 dinner voucher each. Erin had come down with a bad cold, so we didn't venture out from the hotel.
Got on the plane to Japan..........
. finally! 14 hours later we landed. Then a 3 hour stop over and on another plane to Singapore. We landed in Singapore at 11:30pm local time. Got to the Beatle Box Hostel at around 12:30am. Checked in, and then went down to the lobby for a beer. Met an American guy, Brendan. He looked totally tripped out on something. His pupils were huge! Anyway, he was a pretty nice guy, so we stayed and chatted with him for a couple of beers. Got to bed around 3am. Then up at 7am??? Got our things together, went and ate breakfast and got the Singapore low-down from one of the Beatle Box employee's, Justin. We got on the bus and headed into the city center. We first went to the Arab quarter. Very cool! Lots of Mosques, carpet shops and Middle Eastern music playing from every shop with strong aromas of incense as we passed by. Then we went to the Indian quarter. What a busy spot. Very different look and feel to the Arab section. Many different sights and smells. We went into a Hindu temple and watched the locals and Hindu rabbi's performing a service. It was pretty interesting. We ate lunch in the Indian quarter. It was ok. Not great. Erin was dying to eat with her hands, but they saw our western faces and automatically gave us cutlery. Oh well. We then walked down to see the Singapore river. Lots of fancy shops and restaurants lined its banks. There is a definite modern look and feel to the city center. We went into the Chinese area of town to see their famous temple
. The Chinese religion is very interesting. The temple perimeter is bordered by a raised sort of curb. It is an insult to step on it. It is used to protect the temple from evil spirits from entering. There are three doors at the entrance. The middle and largest door is meant for Buddha to enter through, riding on an elephant's back. The left hand door is meant for the men to enter through and the right for the women. After wandering around the temple and reading up on the meanings behind all the statues and carvings, we headed back towards the city center to find a spot for dinner. We ate, then went to find the world's largest fountain to watch the nightly water/laser show. Justin told us that the show started at 7:30pm, so we were there 15mins before to get a good seat. We waited until 8:30pm and still nothing had happened and as we were both falling asleep on a park bench we decided to call it a night.
We got up ridiculously early again, so we decided to go and explore more of the downtown core. We were booked in for a food tour with the Hostel owner that night, so we really didn't get up to too much during the day. The food tour set off around 7pm. After the intro's of the 16 tourists on the trek, we headed out to sample all of the different varieties of Singaporean cuisine. Tony, the Beatle Box owner was great. He gave us a full tour of the Joo Chiat area of Singapore giving us a tonne of insight into the everyday lives on a citizen of Singapore and the history of the country. And it was all free. We all chipped in $20 SGD each for the food and that was it. It was brilliant! We ate so much food in about 10 different restaurants and food stalls and grocery markets that by the end we could barely walk. We got back to the hostel around midnight and stayed up and had a couple of beers with some of the people from the tour.