Raffles Hotel

Woke up later than I wanted, around 9am. Went down for breakfast. Hash browns and egg mayo anyone? Actually nicer than I expected.

Decided I needed to orient myself, since the taxi journey took me round one-way systems. So I walked down to Orchard Road, the shopping mecca here. I imagine it’s fantastic if you’re buying, because it’s just mall after mall after mall. One designer, one electronics, one bargain stuff, one high street, the list goes on. And they put a lot of effort into their malls too. The mall housing the designer gear has a huge fountain and two sculptures outside. The department stores have lanterns and other decorations outside. I have photos, but no way of uploading them yet.

I got kinda bored about half way along, so turned around and came back. Stopped in Starbucks, and very glad I did because the heavens opened soon after, and everyone was running for shelter.

When the rain stopped, I decided to do a cultural tour. So I walked to Raffles Hotel and started from there. Obviously had to get the obligatory photo of the front of Raffles. Then I walked past St Andrew’s Cathedral, City Hall, Supreme Court, the Padang, to Raffles Landing, the Dalhousie Obelisk, Victoria Theatre, Esplanade Park, Lim Bo Seng Memorial, the Cenotaph, Tan Kim Seng Fountain and the Civilian War Memorial.

My feet were blistered after all that walking, so I took the MRT back to Dhoby Ghaut (pronounced “Dobie Got”, not “Goat” as I started!). Imagine the London Underground if it was clean, pleasant, and you actually felt like some effort had gone into it. A lot of the stations actually have malls in them. Dhoby Ghaut has 7 stories of mall above it!

There was a thunderstorm raging as I was getting off the MRT, so I stood and waited for the rain to stop for about half an hour. It didn’t. So I walked the 10 mins back to the hostel in the rain. I chatted to the girls in my dorm for a while, then went to the restaurant downstairs for supper. Only one veggie choice, but it was nice.

So my initial thoughts on Singapore. It’s really clean. Everywhere. It’s so nice not to have to worry about stepping over something, or worry about what you just stepped in. I imagine the hefty fines help keep people in line, but there is very little police presence.

The heat is just about bearable, but the humidity is not. Air conditioning is everywhere. And I am very thankful for it.

In Singapore, you have to cross the streets at the crossings. Its against the law not to. So I spent the beginning of today worried I might accidentally step off the kerb and get arrested. But most of the roads are four lanes wide, and the traffic doesn’t stick around. It makes sense to use the crossings, and there are plenty of them. Although there was a funny moment when there was about twenty of us ready to cross, and there were no cars coming. But the little red man was still showing, so we all stood there, unsure if we should just cross because it was clear, or wait for the little green man. We waited.

Reading: Angels and Demons – Dan Brown

Feeling: Cultured!

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