Return to Singapore

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

We couldn’t quite bear to leave the tropics immediately so we spent another two nights in Singapore. We stayed with my friend Cassie again, for our first home cooked meal in months. It was nice not to think about where and what to eat (especially with my recovering tummy bug), though it felt a little strange to get a fork instead of chop sticks!

Barry’s friend, Declan, and his family moved to Singapore while we were in Vietnam and we joined them for the second night in their lovely new house. It was a different area of Singapore with a nature reserve, national park and monkeys on the doorstep.

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We spent most of our time playing with the kids and swimming in the pool. But we did manage to get up in the morning and walk through the nature reserve.

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Singapore - Sept 2012 029One last swim was an excellent way to finish up our tropical adventure. Then it was back to the airport to head further south.

I’m in Japan – let me out of here!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

After about three weeks in Japan and depleting our bank accounts we were leaving Japan. It’s been fun, interesting and delicious. But very urban. There are areas of natural beauty but they are difficult to get to. And spending a lot of time in big cities, usually on a subway, isn’t my favourite thing. But I’ve loved the hot springs, the food and the people. If I go back to Japan, I’d pick cooler months and make sure I had more cash. Japan at the beginning of a long trip is probably not the best idea.

It was also raining when we left so we weren’t too disappointed when we left for the airport. However, there was a moment when we thought we might not get to leave! After joining a long queue for check in, we then spent 20 minutes trying to convince the woman from Jetstar Asia that we would leave Singapore within 30 days. But she wanted to see proof of departure. Luckily, we had booked a flight from Singapore to Vietnam for Monday but she wanted to see a printout. She suggested we got the public computers and print it but we had spent all our money on rice triangles and bananas for our flight. I eventually had to pull out my laptop and show her the PDF from Tiger Airways.

I couldn’t really understand it as Singapore is a hub for backpackers, many who don’t make any plans in advance whatsoever. And it’s possible to travel overland from Singapore without booking a thing. Just show up at the border and get a bus to Malaysia.

We had no problems and not a single question about our plans on entry to Singapore.

Our time in Singapore has been mainly about food. Staying with a school friend of mine, Cassie’s generosity never ceases to amaze me. Another school friend, Emily, is also in Singapore, ready to show us a good time. We’ve been taken into town to stuff ourselves with dumplings, to a hawker market to stuff ourselves with everything and today we were shown the luxurious side of life in Singapore and had afternoon tea at Raffles Hotel. Just to prepare, we visited the long bar to eat peanuts and throw the shells on the floor before heading into the Tiffin Room for the main event.

Cassie didn’t mention it beforehand but I was delighted to find that it was an all you can eat afternoon tea! Bet Raffles regretted that by the time Barry and I were done. Not to mention Cassie’s boyfriend who will be known as 6 rounds Grant! (This doesn’t include the round that is bought to the table on a traditional three tier tea stand.) Apparently Singaporeans love to line up for a buffet. The plates were bigger than dinner plates too and I’m sure it comes as a surprise that we filled them up a few times. It was absolutely amazing. Who knew that curry puffs, dumplings and soy sauce would go so well when followed by Earl Grey tea chocolate mouse and passionfruit tart topped with a perfect raspberry?

Definitely rolled out of there on a bit of a sugar high. Maybe it was that and not the cold that made me dizzy!

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Thanks for everything Cassie, Emily and Grant!