Friday, October 28

singapore stroll

Originally, we were going to Singapore to renew our sponsored visa, however, just prior to boarding we reassessed dates and prices and realised we were better off returning to Indonesia with a visa on arrival, thus leaving our one day in the city free to explore.  We were grateful for the offer to stay with friends and prepared to snuggle on the lounge if necessary. This was before we arrived and discovered their five bedroom apartment occupied the entire 14th floor. 

The order, cleanliness and efficiency of Singapore is a welcome change from the disarray of southern Bali.  Spotless public transport whisks you on time to a cheap curry, and wide pedestrian thoroughfares free from neck-snapping holes are most appreciated. We have no problem with the often criticized "sterility" of Singapore; if we have to spend time in an urban environment, we are happy for the masses to move in a polite fashion, for facilities to be well maintained, and systems in place to remove sewage to a distant treatment plant. 

We began our day at the recently completed Marina Bay complex where an extensive boardwalk links the City Gallery, lotus inspired Art Science Mueseum, and the world's first DNA double helix bridge.  I was going to visit Louis in his floating glass temple to cloth, but I thought my thongs may not be welcome.

The clouds were dark and threatening over the outrageous cantilevered boat shaped Marina Bay Sands Sky Park. The length of  four and a half A380 jumbos, with an impressive 12,400 square meters of space, the Sands Sky Park is 57 stories high and can host up to 3900 people.  For $20 you can buy the privilege to view Singapore from the observation deck. We declined and continued along the Esplanade to the historic Fullerton Hotel. The sky opened and we doged suits with umbrellas as we ran between covered walkways to lunch at the Lau Pa Sat hawker centre.  In the hub of the financial district, the market is the largest Victoria cast-iron structure in south-east Asia and worthy of a title as National Monument. The intricate Scottish filigree iron lace and hundreds of fans spin above a lively lunch crowd and  a multicultural selection of cheap and cheerful hawker fare, including questionable organ meats, chicken necks , MSG soups and oil sponges. 

Our hot tip for a coffee and bookshop combination is the upcoming creative area of Duxton Hill.  Along Duxton Street, the karaoke bars and strip clubs have gone and made way for an influx of design agencies, restaurants and boutique stores. A tiny sign beckons you up a dark staircase to the top floor of a refurbished shophouse and the hidden cafe Group Therapy (review coming soon at Crema and Crumbs), while nearby Littered with Books is a double storied haven for wordsmiths. Spurred on by caffeine, we spent the late afternoon walking in Mount Faber Park to Henderson Waves bridge and topped up the tank in Chinatown with a steamed red bean bun and slab of pineapple. 

Coming up next...Penang
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