We left Cambodia with heavy hearts and an open mind seeing as neither of us had any real idea what to do in Singapore. When booking tickets it was cheaper to stop through this city/state port nation and I remember a friend telling me many years ago that along her world travels Singapore had been one of the coolest cities she experienced. But looking up accommodation in Singapore was outrageously different to the rest of Southeast Asia. We went from $8 a room to $45 for two beds in an 8-shared dorm room. At 32 and 33 years old, you can guess what that makes us in a youth hostel - dinosaurs. Never was this more apparent when the 80s pop icon Tiffany came on the radio and I was the only one in the hostel singing along to "I Think We're Alone Now." On the flip side, unlike traveling in a hostel when I was 20 and terrified of using a coed bathroom often forcing myself to "hold it" if there was a cute guy in the facilities, as a 32 year old married woman I had no problem walking into a bathroom full of 18 year old dudes and destroying any shred of mystery of a ladies morning routine.
|Mike, Doris, and me in Singapore|
Another plus to being the dinosaurs, you naturally click with the older folks. Case in point: meet Doris. At first, we thought her name was Taurus which we actually though suited her better because she was such a pistol. She was in her 50s but had the energy of a 25 year old. She was working the front desk when we asked her where to get a bite to eat. She said if we waited ten minutes she could take us to where she will be getting her dinner. She took us to a little Chinese restaurant which the locals would refer to as a coffee shop and ordered for us in Chinese. If there was one thing we knew we had to do in SIngapore it was eat and sample all of the fine Singapore fusion cuisine that the country is known for. We both got noodle bowls and amazingly, Doris ALSO had a shellfish allergy. My fear of ordering something in Asia with shellfish never materialized and thanks to Doris this continued to be the trend. On top of a delicious dinner and great company, Doris suggested a few things to check out including the night mall - Mustafa. For all things perfume, electronics, cosmetics or gold, Mustafa was an interesting place to walk through at night.
Once morning came, we hit the town starting with the National Orchid Garden, a section of the Botanic Gardens, which was a peaceful way to start the day before thrusting ourselves into the hustle and bustle of the city. Singapore's national flower is the orchid and if ever there was a place to see exotic orchids, it is here.
After the gardens we took the subway to Orchard Street and dove into the food court at one of the many malls where we sampled chicken skin skewers, curry chicken samosas and gelato.
We then went to the Esplanade along the water front, answered several student surveys, and walked through the mall which was basically Rodeo drive with a roof. In Singapore, you can rent a boat and paddle inside the mall. The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf had a hostess. After that, we checked out a pretty rettible student interactive art exhibit at the Art Museum. What was more impressive was the design of the Art Museum - a lotus. Behind the art museum is a hotel designed to look like a ship stretched across the top of two buildings. When we had drinks from the 72bd floor of a bar across the way, we realized the design of the building is to look as if it is out there on the water along with the many other freighter ships docked outside the port.
We finished Singapore with a stop at one of their infamous Hawker Centres (the Lavender Food Square) where we stuffed our faces with duck rice, curry chicken, wet and dry beef noodles, and Mike had some prawn dumplings. Singapore delivered in every way but with such high prices, we were grateful to be in and out and onto the next. Next...Sydney!!!
|Shoes outside of the Green Kiwi Hostel, Singapore|