We woke at 7am full of the joys of spring......must have been that yoga session filling us with positive energies together with the lavender pillow spray we were given at the Crowne Plaza, and we made our way down to breakfast. Not surprisingly, it consisted of a variety of soups, noodles, rice, salad, and a selection of unrecognisable fish and meats. We stuck to the French toast, boiled gags (predictive text....should be eggs!) topped with a dollop of noodles. Well as the saying goes, ‘When in Singapore’! We ate in a rickshaw, very authentic, although to be honest we haven’t seen any real ones out on the street.
After breakfast we carried out the usual ‘rearrangement of the bags’ ritual and then headed off to the station. It was a glorious morning, blue sky and sunshine, so we left our kabooms (another predictive text....should be kagools) in the wardrobe. Believe it or not, unlike yesterday, today we had a plan. Yesterday morning as we set off to the station we stopped for tea at the Clueless Goat Cafe where we attempted to work out a plan for the day. Of course without our maps and itinerary we didn’t have a clue where we were going, hence the 20,000 steps so todays plan was; Chinatown, Little India, Boat Quay, and then watching the sunset and water fountain display along the harbour. We bought an underground day ticket which was $10 per person with a deposit of $10 per person, which you redeemed when the ticket had expired.
We arrived at Chinatown to torrential rain. Typical. Of course our kabooms were back at the hotel so we went in search of an umbrella and once purchased we set off to explore in the pouring rain. We didn’t know if we’d bought two duff umbrellas or if folding umbrellas were all the same here but they have a very strange way of opening. The fact is, they open up as if they’ve blown inside out so you then have to wrestle the prongs downwards so that they open out into the correct umbrella shape. Of course we were getting quite wet whilst carrying out this procedure which is not good for the hair, what with the humidity, frizziness was setting in which is not a good look I can tell you! After wandering around looking at all the usual tourist souvenirs in the shops we ended up at the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. It took us three attempts to gain entry due to the fact that a) we needed to get a shawl for our shoulders b) we got told off for sitting on the steps whilst we rearranged our bags yet again and c) we needed to get a long-length brown wrap to stop our knees from being exposed. Looking our best, we set forth into the temple. We came out ten minutes later, de-robed, and set off to see another temple, which was closed. Following our map of Chinatown, which we’d picked up from the Tourist Information (TI) office we went in search of the oldest temple in Chinatown only to realise we’d walked in the completely wrong direction. By this time we were in need of refreshment and came across a ‘social’ cafe where we ordered two pots of ‘Champagne Star’ white tea. To be honest, it didn’t taste like champagne but it did taste like hot water for which we were charged $19! It was still raining when we emerged from the cafe which was good, as we wanted to get our moneys worth from our new umbrellas so we wandered around the streets a bit more until it was time for lunch. The lady in the TI told us about the vegetarian restaurant attached to the Buddha Temple where you can get a full meal for $4, that’s £2.40 to you and me, a bargain, so off we went. I must say it was a lovely lunch, very filling and lots of it. It’s run by the Buddha Temple so they’re not allowed to have a priced menu, the $4 being the suggested donation. Being the only Europeans in there we came to the conclusion this is not well known to most tourists. Must look it up and see if it’s listed in the Lonely Planet Guide.....other guide books are available.
It was still raining when we arrived at Little India and what a contrast to Chinatown. Walking through the market we found the mixture of fish, spices and other strange odours quite heady, not somewhere you’d want to linger long so having seen enough fish and sari’s to last a lifetime we took the tube to Boat Quay. Not to be deterred by the rain we completed a circular walk around the quay, passed Big Bird statue and the infamous ‘Penny Black’ pub, which, according to Mr Roe from the office ‘is the oldest pub in Singapore and, who has fond memories of his time spent drinking there........I’m sure he has!
We’ve noticed, since being in Singapore that we’re having problems trying to spend our money, so we’ve got to spend it all today as we don’t want to take any home with us and what better place to spend it than the 5* Fullerton Hotel. We actually popped in to use their facilities and it was so lovely inside we decided to stay and have a drink. Being the cultural gals that we are we walked around the Cultural and Heritage exhibition that was on show in the lobby and then sat down in the Courtyard where afternoon tea was being served and ordered cocktails, a Singapore Sling for me and a Mint Julep for Maice. We seemed to be the only two consuming alcohol, everyone else was enjoying their afternoon tea and sandwiches, which we did contemplate having but weren’t hungry enough. No, we’d stick to our cocktails and I have to say, the Singapore Sling was far superior to the one at the MBS Hotel. This one had been mixed properly whilst the one at MBS was definitely pre-mixed and out of a tin. The hotel itself was also far superior to the MBS. It had more character, it had atmosphere and was very chic and classy......just like us! We were well chilled out listening to the harpist playing her harp.......it was lovely.
Our afternoon cocktail interlude sadly came to an end so we decided to go for a drink at the Penny Black. We noticed Happy Hour was at 5pm, and look at that, it was almost five now so off we went to Mr Roe’s favourite haunt. We ordered two glasses of Chardonnay which went down so well we ordered two more. Well, we are on holiday after all!
I don’t know if it’s because we’re still suffering from jet-lag but something has happened to our brains to cause us to speak in mumbles. We seem to be experiencing difficulty in deciphering what we’re saying to each other and more often than not our conversations are lost in translation. We’re hoping our brains will revert back to normal when we’re in Australia although currently that seems rather doubtful. It also seems that our brains have morphed into each other what with Maice seeming to be losing all sorts of things. Can’t understand where she gets that from!!
Dusk was turning into evening and all the buildings began to light up. It’s quite a spectacle against the dark night sky. We sat on the side of the quay and took it all in, taking photos, me deleting all of mine as I still can’t get to grips with my new camera, mind you, I blame Maice. Kev from work had set it all up so all I had to do was point and click but Maice keeps touching the wrong buttons whilst trying to take a photo thus changing all the modes and taking videos instead! I have now banned her from touching my camera and will use the seven hours on tomorrow’s flight reading the instruction manual, again!
After a while we decided to call it a night. We were tired and needed to get back to rearrange our luggage for tomorrow and of course ease our weary limbs by partaking in Day 2 of Adrienne’s 30 day yoga challenge! We have an early start in the morning, we’re off to Australia don’t you know and the taxi is picking us up at 5am. Alarm set for 4am so, yoga, pack, shower, sleep....in that order.
See you in Australia........