A city of a thousand cultures...
Mon 5 Mar 12
Yes, here I am, in hot and humid Singapore. Arrived last night via Airbus which I'd definitely recommend - I could nearly stretch my legs out completely! Of course, being a long-haul flight, it still wasn't overly comfortable, and I probably managed about 4-5 hours of sleep during the 13 hours we were in the air.
So, last night I lugged my full bags from Changi Airport to my hostel in Chinatown (www.winkhostel.com) via the MRT, which is Singapore's version of the London Underground. Air conditioned of course, and incredibly easy to navigate, it's a much more pleasant ride than the tube, even at busy times. The hostel itself is new, clean and spacious... Much like Singapore itself! Chewing gum is banned here, smoking is only in specific areas with ash trays (no butts littering the ground here!), and there is a $500 minimum fine (approx 250 quid) for eating or drinking on the MRT or the stations!
Unfortunately, despite the humidity, there's not much in the way of sun here - in fact we had a downpour this morning which put a dampener (pun totally intended) on my plans to explore the different districts of the city. But in true British style, I didn't let it stop me - I donned my trusty rain jacket and went out anyway.
Walking around the city you really get a feel for the different districts that have emerged due to immigration over the years. Chinatown is great - like Soho but more so, with open-fronted shops and food stalls lining the smaller streets. The Colonial / Business districts are more Singaporean, and then you head up to Little India, where you could be forgiven for thinking you were actually in India! Each district has its own foods, trades, cultures, languages, and souvenirs.
Singapore's dotted with Hawker Food Centres - large buildings crammed full with food stalls. Kinda like a department store food court, but louder, faster, and better! Had a lovely lunch of rice, meat and veg today at one of the Hawker Centres. Not sure what the meat or the veg was, but it tasted nice!
I've also taken a ride on the 'Singapore Flyer' - their (larger) version of the London Eye. Apparently, it's the largest in the world, so I couldn't not go on it really! It was still pretty miserable weather-wise, but I got a good look over Singapore regardless...
So... one and a half days left in Singapore. I plan to visit the zoo (at day and night!) and do a little more wandering - hopefully I'll get some slightly brighter pictures of the city!