Helen and Randall on the road

A bit about our adventures 2011-2012

Monday 14th – Thursday 17th November: Singapore

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We arrived in Singapore on Monday evening suitably refreshed after our BA Club World flight from Sydney, and with something of a bump down to earth checked into the River City Inn – a perfectly lovely hostel in reality, but on the top floor of a building in Chinatown with no lift, so dragging our luggage up the stairs (well, me dragging, Randall carrying!) was a bit of a sweaty mess.

Both our hostel and the one on the floor below it had a ‘no shoes’ rule, with lockers for shoes outside. This was a charming idea, but they had obviously had issues with people’s stinky feet before now, as they had stuck nasty solid air fresheners into the lockers. Result: shoes that stank of men’s toilets.

On Tuesday morning after the free breakfast in the hostel (coffee and toast, but perfectly adequate) we braced ourselves and headed into the 80% humidity, 32 degree heat as a far as the next street from whence we caught an air-conditioned taxi to Mohan’s Custom Tailors, a recommendation we had received for getting Randall a suit made, given that we needed smart clothes for the next leg of the journey. After deciding to go for the full-on formal dinner suit (with 2 shirts, bow tie and cummerbund thrown in) Randall got measured up, which even for someone with Randal’s personal space issues was apparently quite bearable. We had to go back for a first fitting later in the afternoon so spent the intervening time looking for shoes for Randall (tricky as he is a size 14) and a second cocktail dress for me, the first having been delivered to our next hotel by post care of my fabulous and stylish mother (it’s her dress!).

The Singapore shopping experience is heavenly or hellish depending on your stance on the whole shopping thing. Personally I can’t stand shopping so the prospect of Orchard Road, a kilometres-long thoroughfare consisting entirely of massive shopping malls, made me feel a bit itchy. After traipsing through a whole stack of shops I didn’t recognise or like the look of much, finally found a fantastic 1950s style frock in no other than M&S while Randall was buying socks and t-shirt…result! Next up was shoes for Randall, so after his suit fitting we walked the full length of Orchard Road, finally finding a really nice pair that actually fit after being talked into trying them on by a very firm but polite sales guy…well done that fellow!

With these goodies we headed back to the hostel and booked ourselves onto the Singapore Zoo ‘night safari‘ – it seemed that everyone who had been to Singapore had recommended the zoo to us, so it seemed churlish not to give it a go, even though neither of us are particularly fans of zoos. We then managed to grab some lunch in an Italian place on the riverside (extra 10% off for paying with Amex – brilliant!) before hopping on the tour bus to the zoo. It was OK – the ‘creatures of the night’ show was a bit weird as it involved animals doing tricks for treats, but the ‘tram ride’ meant we got to see plenty of nocturnal animals in their fairly decent-looking habitats, and the well informed guide told  us about various breeding programs they have etc (obviously the baby elephant was a big hit). Probably better if you have kids in tow, to be honest.

The next morning we checked into the Ritz Carlton, a complimentary night included because we had booked our upcoming trip on the Eastern & Orient Express so far in advance. Hoorah for advanced planning, I say:

The view from our room on the 12th floor of the Ritz Carlton Singapore:

The Marina, the bizarre Marina Sands hotel complex and our gorgeous hotel pool.

The view in the other direction: from the top of the Marina Sands ‘SkyPark’ (yes, that thing on the top is a park!) to our hotel and around the Marina:

The monolith on the right
is the Ritz Carlton.
After a bit of frantic last minute shopping (Randall needed soap and he is quite particular about soap) we grabbed some lunch on the marina esplanade outside the Arts and Science museum (the flower-shaped building above – you can also just about spot it in the first ‘view from our hotel’ pic) then headed up to the SkyPark on top of the Marina Sands complex, purely because the whole thing is so bizarre. The 3 pics above are taken from it, and you can see it in the views from our hotel window. It’s 3 huge skyscrapers with a space-ship balanced on top. At least that’s what it looks like, although as it turns out the spaceship is a park – mostly private for the hotel guests, including an infinity pool with the water running over the edge (!!) – but with an observation deck, bar and restaurant open to the public:
Helen not really keen on heights / the alarming infinity pool with water dribbling over the edge / view to the ‘mer-lion’ park across the marina.

The ‘helix’ bridge across to where our hotel is / construction work on the harbour area / container ships and oil tankers.

The Singapore Flyer observation wheel / view from the Skypark / view from the Skypark in the other direction.

Complete weirdness.

While we were contemplating said weirdness over a bottle of wine, we watched a tropical storm approaching from some distance away across the city, which was quite exciting. When it got a bit *too* exciting (the umbrellas over the outside tables were threatening to fly away, taking us with them) the staff hustled us inside where we finished our wine to the sights and sounds of being lashed by a tropical storm at 190 metres above ground. Yeek.

Once it stopped raining we headed downstairs and hopped in a taxi to collect Randall’s suit (taxis are super-cheap rather surprisingly) which makes him very happy indeed…Mohan’s are recommended.

After vowing that when we come back to Singapore at Xmas we will see more of the city such as Sentosa island, Little India and Kampong Glam (sounds like a Thai drag club but is actually the old Malaysian area apparently), we lazed around the hotel for the rest of the evening making the most of being in our vast and splendid rooms. Tough life.

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Written by helenbcn

November 17, 2011 at 6:08 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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