Singapore with julie on route to India.
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Singapore with Julie.
Feb 19th 1990
I had originally been going to travel to India with a friend Dorothy and her son Christopher, but at the last moment I pulled out because I discovered neither of them had a Passport! Luckily I heard of Julie who was ready to do a very similar trip and I decided to join her. Dorothy still made it to India and we met up several times.
Julie and I were travelling to India for my first major O/E with a three-day stopover in Singapore at either end of the big trip.
I got up early took 4 tablets, for malaria and allergies, yucky start for the day that will be with me for the entire trip. Locked my case, went to meet Julie and we headed off to the airport for the adventure of my life.
Had good flights through o Auckland where we shopped Duty-free for smokes and booze, I bought brandy Julie got southern Comfort, then we boarded the huge Singapore Airways jet to seats that were miles apart! However once we were airborne Julie was able to come and sat with me for the whole trip, we were served two lovely meals during the 10-hour flight. I took up a lot of the time writing up free postcards that the hostess gave me, she will post them free of charge to the 10 people I found time to write to. Other than this the flight was long and boring and I got heartily fed up with just sitting for so long. Though it did give Julie and I a chance to get to know one another, as we hardly knew each other at all before this, and she is 15 years younger than I, there may be a big age difference!
Arrived at Changi Airport, it’s huge, vast, gigantic, had to catch a bus from the where the plane landed to the terminal and then there was a very long walk to luggage and customs etc.
Singapore has very hot and muggy, steamy kind of heat that drains you and leaves you feeling quite breathless, thank goodness for the air-conditioning.
We find the city to be just full of trees and shrubs and pretty lights with many high-rise buildings, the sea is close and full of small and large ships and sampans. I just know that I am going to get out on that harbour at some stage of this holiday.
Feb 20th 1990
After very little sleep, because we were both too excited to be here, we got up and made coffee with the little boiler unit that Julie has brought with her, then I took off and made a grand tour of this big hotel on my own, at 7.
We then took our free breakfast from the banquet tables downstairs, and what a breakfast, it truly was a banquet, eggs, bacon, noodle, rice, sausages, croissants, Danish pastries, fruits, salads, cereals and much more, a lot of other things we didn’t try.
As a free bus tour came with our trip, we chose to go to Johore Bora in Malaysia, Julie’s choice, mainly so we would get an extra countries stamp in our Passports! The country impressed us as extremely hot and smelly and not very nice, still I enjoyed the tour because we teamed up with a young NZ Dr that had been working in Nepal for 6 months, she chatted with us and told us lots about the area.
I sent more postcards to family and friends, then we had a good wander around the Presidents Palace and a market place where thousands of tiny dried fish of all sizes are sold • for what we wondered? Who would want a dried fish size of a matchstick? Such a pity we hadn’t taken the tour that included a boat trip out on the beautiful bay, but Julie didn’t want to go on any boats.
Returned across the narrow isthmus back to Singapore where we made a meal of fresh oranges and cute little cakes we bought, before we set off for Orchard Road, the main shopping street. Everything seemed pretty expensive to me, but I did buy a wrap around skirt and a waist bag to keep my money safe, while Julie went crazy buying Reebok sneakers, I had never heard of them but she had, and now she has two nice new pairs! Julie then shouted us both a delicious milkshake before we walked back to the cool of our room for a rest, before going out again to buy chicken satays and noodles from street vendors for our dinner.
We had intended to do the Raffle’s Hotel ladies thing; of ‘gin sling in the lounge memsarb’ but Raffle’s Hotel was under a complete renovation and closed.
We went to bed early to get good nights sleep; I pretty well needed to, as I was getting very tyred.
Feb 21 st 1990, My 45th Birthday.
Woke up happy feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed, went straight for the huge banquet breakfast, then arranged to go to Jurlong Bird Park, since its my birthday, this is my own special treat. This proved to be very worthwhile, I saw so many birds I had never seen before, but mostly I just loved the hummingbirds, so tiny an so quick and colourful. There was a huge man-made waterfall with water birds and tropical finches etc that was extremely well done.
As I walked past the enclosure for waterfowl, with an icecream in my hand, a beautiful Sirius Crane came stalking over to see me, I was delighted and encouraged him closer, til suddenly he stabbed out with his beak at my icecream, he had a good aim, he got it alright and my thumb with it, I received a nasty long deep cut right down the side of left hand fortunately which was very dirty with green slimy stuff and mud from the Sirius cranes beak, this could well turn very nasty, thank goodness I am taking anti allergy tablets guaranteed to protect me from snake bite and most other things, and I have a special crème to put on it, as my last line of defence.
Once back at the hotel I decided to shout Julie an orange juice; stupid idea it cost me $13.70 a glass! Was nice though and birthday was toasted.
Later this evening we left for the holiday of a lifetime; India. Returning to Singapore in March.
The story of my India trip will be in a separate Blog! As its too long!
March 25 th 1990
Julie and I arrived back in Singapore with me feeling extraordinarily happy, healthy, slim and content, and Julie looking and feeling extremely sick with Giardia and the flu and very cool with me and I with her.
As we were not talking, I went downstairs to arrange my tours for tomorrow, I wanted to go off to Malaysia again, but up the other side of the country, however I doubt that I will be able to wake up early enough to catch the transport.
Went for a nice stroll around Singapore shops and park before off to bed early in an attempt to catch the early bus.
March 14 th 1990
Sadly I did wake up too late for the Malaysian tour, so I booked into the only one left Heritage Tour of old Singapore and I am glad I did, I saw all the little India and Chinatown and Chinese Temples, plus rather more Hindu temples than I needed, also we were able to shop at some of the local markets, I bought a big bag of cashew nuts to munch.
Returned to the hotel and arguments with my ex-friend Julie, before I booked myself into a wonderful evening cruise and dinner on a big Chinese Junk, Julie refused to consider this so I shall go on my own! It started pouring with rain and I wasn’t too keen on going myself, however it stopped just in time for me to run our and catch a taxi to the Junk. Had such a lovely cruise, chatted with a nice German Lady while we watched the sun set on one side and the lights of the city come on at the other side and all the lights on the ships around us. Truly it was magical and beautiful and I shall remember this moment all my life I think. The banquet was also great with many different size prawns cooked before us, I made a pig of myself with them and got very messy, oh, but they were nice! The cruise will live long in my memory. Silly Julie really missed out on something special.
March 26 th 1990
Up early again, Julie still in bed pretending to be sleeping, very secretive over what she might be going to do for the day as she was yesterday, I went and breakfasted on the banquet then caught a bus to go to Santosa island.
Back to room to pack my gear and argue again with Julie, (she wished me to take some of her stuff through Customs for her, mainly medicines, particularly her hypodermic needles and I was not having that idea on for a moment) gosh, I know she is sickly, but she has been most unpleasant. A poor travel companion really, the age difference was just too great and the selfishness, maybe on both sides proved too much, but once I learned how to travel, from all my companions in India I had just to best time, won’t be going anywhere with Julie though!
(I am pleased to report that the Sirius Crane bite to my hand healed up very cleanly and caused no problems, the special crème my Dr gave is good stuff.)
I had better add, Julie is not a druggy, we all were carrying hyodermic needles on the Indian trip, as advised by the tour leaders and our DRs in case we were unfortunate enough to land up in an Indian Hospital where, at the time, it is said one needle was used for all drugs on all people asd long as it was still sharp enough to punture the skin! No one needed their needles and I left mine in India Julie didn't and felt she mightn't get it out of Singapore Airport, but she did.