Travel Blog – Singapore 2

28 08 2009

So having arrived late and hungry in Singapore we checked into our hotel (which was very nice and we got upgraded again, just no free wifi like the ad said) and went to look for some dinner in Little India. Alyona had gone to a good place with friends from the conference so after a bit of map reading and head scratching we found it and enjoyed a nice meal of butter paneer which melted in the mouth. Alyona chose a selection of different vegetarian curry dishes traditional at Indian weddings which was really cool although a bit on the hot side…

The next day we enjoyed a well deserved sleep-in with cappuccino from the little machine downstairs then decided to walk into town to see some stuff along the way. After walking through some of the back streets and seeing random Chinese and Hindu temples nestled in amongst the huge shopping malls we walked through Fort Canning park. The only thing of note here is that the park has escalators to get up some of the hills. Yes, it is just a park but instead of stairs lazy people can take a break on the escalator.

In town we had breakfast at a Tapas restaurant with free wifi on the side and checked our email once again. Walking through the city we took in most of the huge hotels and buildings and stopped for an obligatory photo with the Merlion. Which really is a what the name suggests:

The Merlion (f22 1/100 28mm)

The Merlion (f22 1/100 28mm)

We then headed north into some of the malls hidden under the hotels and walked around for a long time checking out all the shops. Bought a good pair of shoes so I was happy but otherwise we were quite restrained.

For dinner we headed to a place that Alyona had been previously where they serve Satay Prawn skewers (Lau Pa Sat). The difference being that there was only one prawn per skewer because that is all that could possibly fit! They seemed to be about 4 inches long and when barbecued without the skin were absolutely delicious. The place was interesting too as it was one giant food hall that kind of spilled out onto the street and made Food Alley look like an ‘asian burger special’ at McDonalds. It was bustling with people most of whom were trying to hawk their particular brand of food and it was quite intense after such a long day. But very enjoyable and a great experience. And of course well worth it for the prawns and beer…

Street Scene at the Prawns (f4.0 1/80 24mm)

Street Scene at the Prawns (f4.0 1/80 24mm)

Seeing as this was our last night in Singapore we also wanted to check out the Night Safari which is a zoo that only opens after dark and came highly recommended by everyone who had talked about it. We managed to catch the last organized bus out there at 8:30pm and then the show they put on at 9:30. The show is quite cool with a few different animals coming into or over the crowd. And some very cute otters that sort trash into different recycling bins. In all not bad but because of the lighting the only decent shot that I got was of the crowd waiting while the previous lot left

Night Safari Queue (f4.0 1.3s 24mm)

Night Safari Queue (f4.0 1.3s 24mm)

We then took the tram around the zoo which is where you can see a lot of the animals in their normal night time activities whether that be prowling around or just sleeping. Some cool animals like Lions, Tigers, Elephants and Rhinoceri (sp? what the hell is the plural of Rhinoceros). I think the hight light for me were the Leopards which weren’t part of the Tram ride so you could get a lo closer to the glass and watch them. Oh – and nearly being used as a tree by a flying squirrel. Seems I took too long lining up a shot and so it tried to fly and land on me. I moved when I saw it coming and it redirected itself to the tree behind and to the side. And I missed my shot!

Well, really it was so dark that I don’t have any shots of the Night Safari. Bit too technically difficult for me and my little camera…

There was one other interesting thing though, on the way out of the park there is a fish tank with all these fish that feed off dead skin. So for $10 you can put your feet in this tank and they will clean and exfoliate for you. Looked really freaky and I think that even if we had the time I would have been hesitant about putting my feet in there!

Fish Feet (f4.0 1/50 65mm)

Fish Feet (f4.0 1/50 65mm)

Turned out, however, that the last organized bus of the night (11:30) was already full and there were still loads of people waiting in line. While they did arrange to organize one extra bus to come at midnight when they offered that people could stand on the bus that was leaving we took that and being the first to do so managed to score a spot in the stairwell down the back and sat in relative comfort for the trip home…

To bed, to sleep, to check out at 12. Then loads more shopping and slowly crawling from one air conditioned mall to the next looking for stuff. My very cool swedish wallet was on its last legs so I replaced that (although still hope to fix it) and we both bought shoes for prices a lot cheaper than what is to be found in New Zealand.

By this stage it was getting on towards sunset and as a finale for our trip we wanted to check out the Swissotel which has bars and restaurants on the 71st floor with an amazing view out over the city. We were there and enjoying cocktails during the sunset although given how the sun sets here it was more a matter of waiting till the lights came on and city begain to glow…

Me at the Swissotel (f5.6 1/25 24mm)

Me at the Swissotel (f5.6 1/25 24mm)

And an arty shot that some of you will be familiar with me always trying to take:

Reflection in Glasses (f5.6 1s 105mm)

Reflection in Glasses (f5.6 1s 105mm)

We then caught the subway home and a taxi to the airport to check in on time and enjoy the 12 hour flight to Frankfurt and the European portion of our trip :-)

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