My flight to Singapore was from Hong Kong and it turned into quite the chore. 4 hours (when it normally takes less than 2) of finding the bus station, waiting for the late bus, going through China and Hong Kong customs and then trying to check in to my flight. The airport is vastly enormous and terribly inefficient. Then, Jet Star is probably the worst run airline I’ve ever encountered. Nothing is free (not even water) and the cabin crew even tries to sell you items from their Sky Mall several times throughout the flight. Also, the plan was full of people hacking, coughing, farting, snoring and doing whatever they can to totally gross me out. My only hope was that one of the hackers spit in Singapore and would receive a sentence of some grueling physical torture.
Singapore is one of those places in my life I never gave much thought. If you recall, back in 1994, Singapore sentenced 18 year old American tourist, Michael Fay to 4 months in jail and 10 cain lashings because he stole and vandalized something. After the American Embassy went crazy his sentence was graciously reduced to 6 lashes. So, basically, I really made sure that I followed all the laws. No chewing gum, no urinating on the streets, no crossing against the light, etc., etc.
I really loved Bangkok but Singapore is the nicer of the two. The cities share a lot of the same positive attributes. Both are hot, sunny, bi-lingual, beautifully religious and have the same view of efficient immigration. Singapore’s leg up is the absence of political distress, cleanliness, ease of navigation, being less smelly, adorably cute and booming economy (to name a few). Picture Asia meets Europe meets Mackinac Island.
I arrived late at night and was instantly happy hearing new pop songs in the shuttle bus to the hostel. It’s been so long since I’ve heard new music and it was great. I was hesitant to stay in a hostel because I never have but hotels in Singapore are so expensive that I was willing to try it out. Pleasant surprise and I will definitely stay at others in the future. The staff at the Betel Box even helped me map out my day and told me all the good, must see and don’t see, places. I ventured out to China Town (better than the real China), the Riverfront (stunning) and Little India (simply that). I picked up a couple custom gifts in China Town and got an eyebrow threading for $3 in Little India. Ladies – never again will I get a wax. I have to brag a little and say that I am really proud of myself and how city savvy I’m starting to become. Never once did I get lost! After a long day of walking in the hot sun, I headed back to the hostel to pick up my stuff and head to the airport for my Bali flight.
On the way back, I stopped in Singapore again. Sold on the hostel thing, Julia, Marjorie and I headed to Little India where most of the guest houses are located. We laughed because it was 1 am, we are walking in a place called “Little India” and we had no where to stay. Eventually, we found a place that wasn’t full called Checkers. Being so tired, we all slept like logs. In the morning Marjorie and I had breakfast with a group of girls from Ireland who have been traveling for a year. They booked around the world tickets and have been to South America, Australia and almost all of Southeast Asia. Around the world ticket = brilliant. Having already looked into them I was shocked to find that they run around 2000 Euros. Why didn’t I think of that back in January? After breakfast, the girls and I ventured out for a walk and enjoyed the morning smells of spices, vegetables and flowers threw the streets. Then they departed for the airport and I spent a few hours shopping on Arab street and the evening watching the street shows in Little India turned Bollywood on a Saturday night. I should’ve done more with my day but, to be honest, I was over it, tired and ready to get home to Fabien.
Basically, if you ever have the opportunity to visit Singapore, you have my encouragement and blessing!
I would love, love, love to show you the pics BUT the photo uploader has decided not to work. Welcome back to China and their crappy internet. :)