Singapore Travel Blog› entry 46 of 117 › view all entries
Already in a mood about being fobbed off with another budget airline when our ticket says Qantas on it, I couldn't believe it when they said we had to pay 10 dollary-do's for in-flight entertainment. Luckily, there was a slight return to normality as I realised Singaporeans call Burger King by its proper name, not Hungry Jacks, like, for some reason, the Aussies do, and it was good seeing English footy as back-page news and not rugby.
Excited by totally new surroundings, we checked into our hostel, which I was apprehensive about when I heard it slept 14. Fortunately, apart from that, it's a treat: really friendly staff, nice common room with loads of Lonely Planet-type guides lying around, air-con, free internet and even a PS2! And a cat to annoy, as well.
In the morning, we took the MRT (think a poor man's London Underground or a rich man's Newcastle Metro) into town to the colonial area of the city. There we saw one of the famous hotels in the world, the Raffles Hotel, named after Singapore's founder, Sir Stamford Raffles. After a quick nosey round the War Memorial, we hit the CBD, and saw the comedic half-lion half-mermaid Merlion Statue, which looks like it was designed by someone smoking more than just tobacco back in the '60s.
If Cairns was the backpacker tourism capital of the world, then Singapore is surely the consumer-goods capital. The only thing that rivals the amount of shops is the food stalls, and departments stores dot the surroundings. On the MRT it's not just the kids who seem to have the latest gadgets, it's the old ladies, too.
That afternoon we went to Chinatown and looked around some of the markets until the constant pestering from touts became too annoying. Anything you looked at was recognised, as you heard, "Camera for you?", "You like?" etc etc.
The morning of our last day in Singapore we spent at Changi Prison Museum, a moving commemoration of POWs during the Japanese occupation in the Second World War. Located in the converted prison used in WW2, along with artefacts and accounts from Singaporean locals present, the original chapel was filled with murals painted by one of the POWs.
Another cheap-as-chips noodle dish later, this time in Changi Village, and we were visiting Little India, where, just as we arrived at Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple (I looked up how to spell it, yes) it started to lash it down. Hence the refuge in an internet cafe, ready to fly off to Thailand in the early morn.