Sunday, 4 November 2012
Slumming it in Singapore
I arrived on my thought through and well planned trip to Singapore and settled into Lucy's 22nd floor apartment. She gave me instructions to meet her after work at Raffles for a Singapore Sling (the done tourist thing apparently). Living out of a backpack with two rank toes, glam wasn't really an option for me but when her Filipino housemate returned and saw that I was going out in my havaianas she became quite disapproving (I'd known her for a minute at this point). As luck would have it (!) we were the same shoe size, she was deaf to my protests of 'thats very kind, but no thank you' and before I knew it I was kitted out in a tasseled Gucci pair of shoes and sent on my merry way. (The flip flops went with me in my bag and were back on in no time). Raffles is a colonial hotel where you buy a sweet, pink cocktail, eat monkey nuts and throw the shells on the floor. Tourist cliche tick number one.
As Lucy was working I had lots of time to 'explore' on my own. You can barely move here without going into a shopping mall - very cruel when I have no money and no space - so I had plans to stroll around the botanic gardens and MacRitchie reservoir in the sun (tan is fading) but apparently all it does in Singapore is rain. And when it rains, it rains. I got a coffee to wait out the first biblical downpour and was just thinking that Sophie was right when she said it was quite a lonely place when I met Fisherman Mark the Hot Scot (from Aberdeen of all places). He was waiting for his flight home that night and proved delightful company for a soggy afternoon.
My second attempt to get to the botanical gardens I actually got there, walked for about 7 mins and guess what? The heavens opened. I took refuge in a summer house/gazebo structure and felt a bit like Liesel in The Sound of Music. Only there was no Rolf to sing at and hold my hand as I leapt daintily from bench to bench. Another mission abort. By this time my toes were not in any state to don my trainers, so the rainforest walks I had planned were out too. The rain also hampered my attempts to hang by the pool and work on my (now very unremarkable) tan.
Despite the almost constant monsoon I did manage to survive a Singapore cinema experience (think arctic), go to bikram yoga with Lucy (hilarious and very hot), dance a fair portion of the night away at Kudeta (the bar on the boat at the top of a hotel - great sky views terribly captured on my average new camera), eat street food (a mixed selection...I had no idea what most of it was, often fishy and once unimaginably spicy), survive quite the craziest taxi ride ever (I've never heard such a maniacal laugh...it was very infectious), do the Night Safari at Singapore Zoo (amazing - I haven't seen elephants, rhinos or full size hippos before and they were epic), have a lot of fun with Lucy (a large proportion of it spent trudging round with her adamant she knew where she was going and failing to hail taxis) AND wash everything I have so my possessions no longer smell like tent! I also brushed and straightened my hair so the dreads that were forming have been delayed for now.
I don't want to jinx anything but I'm happy to report that I am checked in, I am in possession of my passport and my new phone (I think it's almost completely thief proof) and have no intentions of missing my flight. Hanoi, here I come!
Should anyone need me, my new number is 07706799152. It definitely does not do whatsapp.