Tuesday, June 20, 2006


I have decided that I don't really like long haul flights. I keep forgetting this until I have to have another one. We have loads more to do as well. The flight from Cape Town to Singapore was annoying. It went to Jo'Burg first and sat on the tarmac for ages while they got more passengers on. We had window seats in a block of 3, which doesn't bother me so much, but does bother Gemma as she likes to get up out of her seat every 5 minutes. I think she is petrified that she will get DVT. In all the flight took 13 hours or so and I didn't sleep at all. We landed at what would have been bed time in South Africa, but was the morning in Singapore.

By the time we dragged ourselves through the airport and into town on the MRT it was about 09:00. We had a little trouble finding a place to stay that wasn't fully booked for doubles. Eventually we found the New 7th Story Hotel near Little India and booked in for four nights. Unfortunately their check in was at 14:00, so we had to leave our bags and go amuse ourselves. Ordinarily killing 4 hours in Singapore would present no problem, but we were both dead on our feet and the heat and humidity had knocked us for six. We did a few little circuits of our local streets dodging into malls to avail ourselves of the air conditioning. I'm not proud to say it but our first South East asian meal was a Burger King. When check in time came around we showered and crashed out in the room until about 18:00 when I thought we really ought to get up and eat something. I don't think Gemma was convinced by the getting up idea.

Near our hostel is Bugis Junction mall, which has a food hall within it. We walked through that in vain trying to find something that Gemma would eat. It's difficult digging out the vegetarian meals from the meat filled ones, especially when the stalls say things like 'vegetarian pork rice'. At least most of the signs have some English text on them which I'm sure is more than we'll get in other places. In the end we found a little place on the street that did veggie stuff. Gemma had the vegetarian delight, which appeared to be a plate of cold beancurd pressed into various shapes. I had a laksa -it was lovely. I think if someone had given Gemma a jacket potato at this point she would have fallen at their feet and proclaimed them as her lord. We gave up on the day at that point and went to bed.

Singapore is all about the shopping, so that is what we did when we got up the next day. We went down Orchard Street firstly. I was vaguely looking for a cheap PDA possibly, but in the end wasn't able to find anything very much cheaper than I could order on the net at home. The task is made a million times more difficult by the fact that so many shops don't display prices. I know they want you to come into the store and that prices can be fluid, but to the casual comparison shopper like me it's quite frustrating. You also get people trying to hussle you into the shops and then give you the hard sell. I like to just browse myself -I'll ask for help if I need it. We didn't buy anything at that point, but later in Chinatown we got 0.45 x wide angle and 2.0 x teleconvertor lenses for Gemma's camera. The wide angle lens also screws apart to be a macro lens. They are pretty groovy and use a little stick on magnetic ring to attach to the camera, so we can use them on both our cameras. All together they cost less than the one teleconvertor I have for my camera. I couldn't spend 4 days in Singapore and not get at least one toy.

That evening we caught the MRT up to Little India for some food. We had previously walked round early in the morning and the streets were empty. This time was different though. It seemed as if each street had about 50,000 indian men packed into it. We each got a Dosa, although Gemma didn't finish hers, complaining that it was too flavoursome. I gladly wolfed the rest of hers down.

We found Funan, the IT mall the next day, so I couldn't not have a browse around that. I came quite close to blowing a large chunk of our budget on a tiny little laptop, but in the end got my sensible head on. I sort of wish we'd come to Singapore last though, as I'd almost certainly spend whatever I had left on toys. Gemma chose to eat in the food hall, from a place where you chuck randomly shaped bits of Tofu and veg in a bowl and have it cooked. She was quite proud that she managed to use chopsticks and eat most of it without it ending up all over her. I haven't tried the Pig Organ Noodles, or the Spine Meat Soup yet.

I managed to get some photos uploading to flickr, but buggered the memory card so that my camera can't use it until it is initialised. Ooops. I panicked and thought the photos were gone forever, but thankfully I can see them via PC, so I'm trying to get them uploaded to flickr. It's quite difficult to do from Internet cafes.

We haven't really gone to any of the attractions, other than the shops, while we've been here. We very briefly stopped here on the way back from Australia in 2002 and did a river cruise and had a Singapore Sling at Raffles hotel then. We had thought about going to the rainforest or a nearby island which is kind of back in the olden days of Singapore, but haven't had a chance.

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