Blimey Charlie it's hot

Trip Start Jul 27, 2004
Trip End Dec 21, 2004

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Flag of Singapore  ,
Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Most intimidating arrival yet. For starters we had actually arrived in scary Asia, secondly we arrived at Changi airport 9.30pm with no where to stay. Paul was having panic attacks coz he was expecting a police state where smoking was totally banned & you could only have a bifta in opium den like smoking rooms.

Within minutes of being at the Tourist info desk we'd sorted a hotel & Paul was v.relieved to see people smoking outside the airport (Kerry not v. impressed, she was hoping for the police state like smoking ban). As soon as we stepped out of the airport (so Paul could have his fag) the heat & humidity hit us like a very hot & humid thing. It was 30 odd degrees!!

Stayed in Chinatown at a v. swish hotel called the Furama, pool, air-con, free papers, big telly (with cable), a bath - with complimentary bubble bath(!!!!) & a swanky restaurant. Bit out of our price range at 40quid/night but credit cards were invented for occasions like these. The area is crackers, full of everything Chinese. Lots of little streets, alleyways & shophouses. Loads of shopkeepers hustling you to buy anything from made to measure suits to egg fried rice. Brilliant area but the hawkers were annoying after a while.

Singapore v. strange place. Definately a good place to enter Asia; lots of east meets west, extremely clean, the underground amazingly efficient & cheap, lots of fancy restaurants side by side with lots of little food hawker stalls selling incredibly cheap grub.

Kerry absolutely loved Orchard Road, a cross between Oxford Street & Knightsbridge; a very long road full of designer shops (3x Louis Vuitton within minutes of eachother - she nearly wet herself). Paul not too chuffed with Orchard Road but he extremely glad of the air-con in the shops (he melted twice & had to be remodelled in a cast, unfortunately for Kerry they'd sold out of Brad Pitt casts so Mr Blobby's had to do).

Paul loved Little India, literally a suburb of all things Indian; temples, shops, restaurants & customs. The food was amazing, most people return from travelling having lost weight, we're going to have to sign up to weight watchers, & fortunately cheap.

Did something cultural one night by visiting the Chinese Garden's lantern festival. Can't be bothered to describe what it was all about but it was amazing; 1000's of paper lanterns in all shapes & sizes - including Winnie the Pooh, loads of food stalls, acrobats & buskers. All topped off with a firework display over the lake (which had loads of turtles swimming in it).

Spoiled our new found cultural spirit by visiting Sentosa Island. The whole experience was like the twilight zone; it took us about an hour to figure out what Sentosa actually is & what we were supposed to do there. So having figured it all out Sentosa Island is not a normal suburb as we first thought but a theme park/Disney Land type thing. You pay to get on the island but then all buses are free (no-one told us this) to the different attractions. We started off with the Merlion; a naff concrete lookout structure in the shape of a mythical creature. Can you guess what it is? That's right, a mixture of lion & mermaid! There is a reason for this (can't be bothered to explain) & it's their national symbol (well what would you choose?). Kerry thought it was great. Paul preferred the aquarium - lots of sharks & big fish. We both kind of enjoyed but felt uncomfortable with the pink dolphin acrobatic display. The pink dolphins are acually pink in a grey/blur kind of way but in certain light they are definately pink. At first we thought that maybe the dolphins had been spray painted as a novelty attraction because the nature trail we walked on told so many lies about the natural attraction we were seeing. For example the 'real' dragon bones scattered around & the 'naturally' occuring water falls that by some freak of nature were fed by a tap & ran down concrete rivulets! However we checked the guide book & the dolphins are naturally pink.

We completed our stay in Singapore by doing the time honoured touristy thing by necking a couple of Singapore Slings in Raffles. They looked horrible & sickly & they tasted... not that bad actually.
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