Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Clean and Friendly Singapore

We arrived at the airport at 3am and didn’t collect our bags right away as we planned on sleeping on the seats till it at least became light outside, we hadn’t booked a hotel since we decided it wouldn’t be worth it for the couple of hours we’d use it. We found the ‘sleeping chairs’ that we’d read about, but as forewarned they were all occupied, so we instead used the normal chairs which at least don’t have arm rests so you can lie down properly. After making a trip to the toilet Dave returned and excitedly exclaimed that even the toilets are so clean in Singapore we could sleep in there – quite the contrast from what we’d become accustomed to in China!

It wasn’t long after we’d laid down that a security guard woke us up and wanted to see our boarding passes. We explained that we were actually staying in Singapore and weren’t in transit and as it was still dark he begrudging agreed that we could stay till 6am and then we’d have to move on. It’s such a great and comfortable airport that they must have people trying stay there for days or something! 

Despite the seats being fairly comfy and both of us having eye covers and music neither of us really slept and we were up by 5am exploring the airport. We checked out the famous butterfly enclosure to pass the time, the only problem being that butterflies like the sun and as it was still yet to rise there wasn’t much activity. The display of the cocoons was cool though, especially as two butterflies were in the process of hatching out.

By 7am we decided it was time to venture out into the real world from our cocoon so we went through passport control and easily located our bags at the lost luggage desk. The metro was also easy to find and navigate, especially since everything was in English again! Even though we arrived at our hostel at 8am they had our room ready in 10 minutes so we could take a much needed shower before exploring the city. The Drop Inn hostel was ok for expensive Singapore, but it looked like we’d be sleeping in separate bunk beds for our last night as travellers. 

The owner had given us some useful tips while we’d waited for our room so we took his advice and headed towards Little India, stopping for some breakfast along the way. What surprised us when we reached the area was to actually find cheap the Chinese souvenir shops that we’d been trying to find all along in China. We found enough gifts but decided to come back later to buy them as we couldn’t be bothered carrying them all day. We continued on to the Malaysian Cultural Centre which was closed but was right next to a massive mosque. We didn’t go in as we’d seen enough mosques already, but we did admire it from outside while enjoying an ‘energising’ ginger tea which the guy at the hostel had recommended to us. Turns out the energising aspect is probably not due to the ginger but more to the decent amount of condensed milk that had been added. Either way, it tasted very smooth and we were in need of energy in both the natural and sugar form so it was a good find.

We continued to explore the area, chancing upon some markets that were interesting to stroll around, but by 2pm we were beginning to feel weary so we headed back for a short nap before meeting up with Dave’s colleague Rachel and her new intern Blake for dinner. We went to the nearby Lavender food court which has an amazing variety of food to choose from, and even though Dave and never actually met Rachel before in person, she insisted on paying for everything and wouldn’t hear otherwise. People’s generosity is something that has really amazed us while traveling and we vow to pass it on once we’re back home!

Rachel was meant to have a conference call at 10.30pm, but decided that the prospect of playing tour guide with us was a better option so she got out of it and we headed to the Marina to see it lit up at night. We walked from the Durian building all the way around to the ‘Big Ship’ hotel which also has a Casino inside and we thought having a small gamble on the roulette wheel, and potentially pay off our year of travel, would be fun but we discovered that the casino closed at 11pm – what casino does that?!

Our hopes of winning big were dashed so we walked back over the Helix Bridge and caught a bus back to the hostel, thanking Rachel for a great evening. By the time we crawled into and up onto our bunk beds it was nearing 2am and we were too exhausted to even register the thought that the next time our heads touched a pillow it would be back in our own country.

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