Our first trip of the year – Singapore. Again.
This was our umpteenth visit and while we don’t have permanent residence papers, we probably qualify for them by now.
Not that we’d be able to live here; accommodation is scarily expensive, most apartments tiny. The climate is a problem too. In addition to the almost 100% humidity, the daily temperatures in January/February hover around a doable 31C/32C, but in a month or so, they’ll zoom up to 40C. We’ve been here in March and at 39C, everything pretty much stops. There’s nowhere to hide – air conditioned shops, hotels, bars and restaurants are fine, but at some point you have to go outside to get somewhere, or you may as well say home.
No, these visits are to do and re-do the things we’ve discovered over the years. We wander the streets, malls and parks, eat in just about every flavour of restaurant imaginable, drink ice cold Tiger beer and generally lap up the easy going, almost crime-free environment, where politeness and courtesy rank alongside service end efficiency.
After several false starts, we’ve made our home from home at a hotel on Robertson Quay, just metres from the clamour of Clarke Quay and thousands of drinking, partying tourists eighteen hours a day. There’s nothing fancy about it, including the room rates, but the beds are clean, there’s abundant hot water, air conditioning and free wi-fi. There’s even a unique Euro-Asian buffet breakfast included – good if you enjoy fried eggs, baked beans, fried rice and toast!
Fortunately, it’s not obligatory.
Anyway, it’s peaceful, there are restaurants aplenty, an MRT station (subway) next door, bus routes to pretty much anywhere and if all else fails, lots and lots of the city state’s surprisingly affordable taxis.
There’s also walks along the Singapore River, towards the CBD, Parliament, downtown and just about anywhere else you might wish to wander.
What’s not to like?
Our normal stays in the city are four or five days, but in the hope that we could tempt Laura and Julian (and Zach and Amy) to join us, this trip was set down for ten nights. It wasn’t to be – as friends had wedding plans in Jozi for February and understandably our invite got binned.
We did wonder what we’d do with all that time, but as it turned out, we could have used at least two more days to (re)do the things we wanted. Late January is definitely the time of year to visit, despite the daily rain. And, with less emphasis on walking across town from place to place, public transport is definitely the way. It also ensures that we both arrive in a relatively dry condition that doesn’t require sitting under a cool air outlet, or fan for half an hour, to get us back to some kind of social presentability.
Anyway, I won’t bore you with a list of dids and didn’ts; you can see some of them in the photographs. Comments at the bottom, please.