I’m not going to give you a day by day blow of everything. I have read other people’s not so succinct diaries of their travels from Australia to Bali and the like, and I didn’t like their tone, nor their references to “Brown girls” putting ear candles in their ears. Come on Aussie, come on. You’re better than that. You can’t fool me, cos I’ve been to Bali too.
Recently Mr. P and I left Australia’s shores for a one week holiday that included Singapore and Bali. Neither of which I had visited personally.
I have one most vital thing to say about both of these countries and that it they are STINKING HOT. Singapore, oppressively so. If you plan to go anywhere where you really want to pack light, this is it. Thongs, singlet tops and shorts. And if you want to go out, something a bit nicer but still on the light side. It is more humid than a plumber’s proverbial crack. Warmer than a Duck’s armpit.
You will want to go out. Singapore has a couple of past times, the most prevalent of which is eating. If you’re a food lover like me, you’ll also spend half the time peaking out about chilli crab, variety and how much “Fusion” food there is over there. Fusion means the possibilities are endless. I came away wishing I had opened a small bar in Sydney just so I could put some of these things on the bar menu.
Mr.P and I traipsed all over town mostly by foot, in thongs or by the super efficient MRT. Something Sydney’s “shitty” Rail could learn a few valuable tips from. Yes it is true that Singapore is a “Fine” city. No eating or drinking at all on the platform, ( ironic for such a foodie town) or indeed in the terminal at all. As hard line as it seems to us. It makes for a damn clean station and pleasant travel. It’s not hard. The people of Singapore that I spoke to along the way don’t see it as oppressive, but something to be “respected”. If you don’t “respect” the rules, you get fined or sometimes Gaol, or your license revoked and what have you, it’s as simple as that. NO biggie. Though I have to add, the cops there must be good, as I only saw about 4 the entire time. We all just wanna get along. The only real douche bags I encountered were some American Navy guys. Very young and self important and probably didn’t really “get it” there.
This safety aspect, made it easy for taking some back streets to see a little bit more of ‘Singa’, than the usual sites. I wasn’t worried about being accosted by dodgy brothers, or hassled by street beggars. (We’ll keep that for later adventures in Bali.) We had a $5 ( for 2 people) steamed pork bun breakfast in the Singa equivalent of a 7 eleven, corner shop. We wandered back through Arab street and Little India. We caught cabs and trains and felt no distrust.
Following a tip from Anthony Bourdain’s Singapore Layover episode I demanded to Mr. P that we head out in search of famous traditional Peanut pancake from a Hawker center, out off the main drag called Tanglin Halt. Forgetting to remember that you really need to get there before about 10am. Only to finally arrive and the lady serving to simply tell us “Sorry. Finished”
Fuuuuu! moment if ever there was one.
Never the less, we partook in some interesting Malay/Chinese food from one of the Hawker center’s food stalls that was actually open at 11am. Things seem a little less anxious to open around here, than the ridiculous hours we like to keep in Sydney. I call that keepin’ it real. Do you actually need to shop for things at 8am? This was my first pondering and perspective aligning moment of the trip.
Hawker Centers are basically like street food that has been rounded up and put into the corral. There are hygiene laws, and people are encouraged to “Dob in” offenders or rule breakers. The basic rule of thumb when choosing which delicious food to try is: Is there a 30 people long queue in front of it waiting to be served? If so, join that queue. The food there is thus considered the best at the time, and for 3 Singapore Dollars. ( about $2.80 Aus) you can have a plate of Hainanese chicken rice for lunch. Simple yet delicious. Sit at one of the tables if you can get a seat, and enjoy! This is one of the greatest contrasts I noticed about Singapore. You can live VERY large. Try $80 for breakfast at the “Boomerang bar and cafe” ( Yes I cringe that we went to an Aussie place in another country, but I was hanging for bacon and eggs) and you can live very very cheaply in terms of feeding yourself if you really want to.
Highlights and recommendations:
The Wine Connection in Clarke Quay. Wine and Cheese bars are all over town. They are the new Black.
Jumbo’s Seafood Restaurants We went to one out at an old Army Barracks called Dempsey. Get the obligatory Singapore chilli crab with steamed buns to soak up the sauce. Magnificent. Get your bib on.
Red House Seafood Restaurant Have the White Pepper Mud crab. But make sure you bargain with the waiter for Market price on the crab. And check your bill. We accidentally were additionally charged for someone else’s meal on top of ours. But it was all sorted out eventually. A good reason to Keep all your receipts, and use cash if you can.
Stacked Dim Sum Bar If only it was open for breakfast. The Fusion style Dim sum here are amazingly tasty. If only I owned a bar!
Singapore Zoo Best. Zoo. Evaaaaar. The Orang Utans can climb all over the joint if they want to. You can ride an Elephant if it is within your ethical stance.
Singapore Botanic Gardens Let’s face it. Shit just grows better on the equator. Go and see the National pride, the Orchid garden. I was blown away by how well they grow here.
Orchard Road If you like to shop, how about 22 Shopping malls and 6 Department stores?