Saturday, July 05, 2008

Day two. Singapore

Times are local. Currencies a rough conversion to AU$. We arrived at Albert Court Hotel in Albert Street, Singapore at about 7am. We were immediately given a room but not one that we had chosen. They said they would move us the next day and they did. Perhaps this was to do with the fact that we did not show up the night before as planned. Thank you Qantas. But it did mean that we could not unpack properly.

We walked to Orchard Road but it was a bit too early for the shops which seem to open after ten. Who lives at the bottom of this long driveway, surrounded by a high fence and armed guards, I wondered? I asked a taxi driver later and he told me the President or Prime Minister, I forget which.

Orchard Road was nothing like I imagined and it was very noisy due to a lot of construction. I expect this never really stops. Smoking is bad for you Ronald.
The traffic lights intrigued me. As you can see from the picture, they have seconds count down instead of a red figure. Believe me, once the light says zero, you better be off the road. And just to continue a theme, these other traffic lights fascinated me, mostly because I could not work out what they were for.

As for the drivers of Singapore, they are nothing like in other Asian cities I have been to. The traffic is orderly, the drivers polite and there is seldom a horn to be heard. The only crazy driver we came across was the taxi driver who took us to the airport. A car pulled in front of him, not dangerously, and he put his head lights on high beam and just left them there.

We found ourselves a place to buy some lunch and returned there a few times on other occasions. It was almost like a food hall as we know it, but more rustic and open air. There was a large variety of food, except western. We also found a place for quite good coffee not too far away and returned there many times.

In the afternoon we went to the hotel tour desk and booked some tours with RMG Tours. They were all excellent tours. Our first was Night Tour, which took us to the Raffles Landing Site, then dinner roughly where this photo was taken and then a ride on a bum boat (don't ask) along the Singapore River. Everything was so dazzlingly illuminated. We sailed close to the Merlion and then off the boat and back onto the bus to the Royal Selangor Pewter Centre. Boring! From there to Bugis Village, just a night market. Not so interesting either. Lastly, to Raffles Hotel, where we sat in the Long Bar upstairs amid peanut shells strewn over the floors. The punkas were slowly moving back and forth, no doubt powered by electricity rather than days of old when the were hand operated. If visiting Raffles, check it out well first and perhaps you won't be paying $18 for a large beer like we did.


  1. Sounded like a riot!

    Apparently, if you spit in the subway in Singapore, you get arrested on the spot and dragged away. Everything must be neat and orderly. An obsessive-compulsives' paradise.
    That said, I here the food is excellent.

  2. "Apparently, if you spit in the subway in Singapore, you get arrested on the spot..."

    Presumably because you've just spat on a policeman...unless they have one hidden round every corner.

  3. Niet noodzakelijk, Brian, Blijkbaar zelfs als je alleen maar spuwen op de grond, krijg je gearresteerd!

    Not necessarily, Brian, apparently if you just spit on the floor, you'll get arrested!

  4. Well, there goes 'spit and polish' then - that which underpins every army worth its semi-automatic heat seeking tins of bully beef.

    (Hey chaps, let's go over the top, invade Singapore while they're not looking and give it back to its rightful owners, the mad dogs and Saxe-Coburg-Gothas)

  5. Reuben,

    To be honest, I reckon that's an excellent idea. Phlegm carries all sorts of nasty diseases in it which can be picked up by other pedestrians.

    What happens if you spit on a tramp, though, thus avoiding the floor? I only ask because I've seen Sedgwick hanging about those Singapore subways in his grubby old mac...

  6. I will address the law and order thing in Singapore in the next post Reuben.

    Before anyone tells me, I suspect the low traffic lights are for cyclists and motor bikes.

    Singapore policemen are hot Brian. Very nice uniforms. They could pounce on me.

    Spitting in public is disgusting Reuben. Four years in gaol should be the punishment. And that is here in Oz.

    Being in the army in Singapore is fun M'lord. Even if you are a social misfit, you will fit in. We should invade Singapore.........oops, I forgot they own more of Australia than we do.

    Brian, stop trying to drag Reuben into your wicked world. He is decent lad and ought not be corrupted by either you or M'lord.

  7. Good grief, those two are back in force :P
    Love the pics, Andrew :)

  8. Thank you Jayne. I feel sorry for anyone on dial up though. However, most people are not now.

  9. Welcome home! I was saddened to read your comment about not wanting to travel OS anymore. Obviously I'll have to try harder to lure you to Japan! : ) I should be home for the silly season this year, so will work on it then... Note to self - bring large bottle of sake!

    We have similiar traffic lights here but instead of numbers to the countdown, it's a kind of linear graph.

    Did you see the Tiger Balm gardens in Singapore? I went there many moons ago. It's quite amazing and bizarre.

  10. "a large beer" ?

    I would have thought a Singapore Sling was the thing to have at Raffles ... while waiting for the result of the chook raffle.

  11. Time will probably heal not wanting to travel Vik. Not sure if I like sake, but good news that you are coming. Did not see Tiger Balm gardens, but I think R may have many years ago.

    A sling sounded too sweet to me Bwca, but it would have been cheaper.

  12. Anonymous11:51 am

    No matter what time of day you go to Raffles you will still pay $18 bucks for a beer. Weren't the second set of traffic lights for the midgets? Maybe I am wrong.

    Welcome back home - It's always the nicest feeling after a trip OS to land on home soil.

  13. You didn't have a Singapore Sling?
    Pardon me while I go and have two for the one you missed.

  14. Thanks Anon. You are so right. I thought maybe another bar in the hotel would have cheaper drinks.

    We were tossing up at the airport duty free on our way home Jahteh, Bombay Saphire or Gordons. Gordons won as I am sure we are broke.