Before I left the UK I had booked a couple of things, one of them being a hop on hop off bus ride, through an app called Get Your Guide (which I highly recommend). I’ve done them before, Hong Kong, New York and a Duck Tour in Washington, which goes on the road and then plunges into a river, that one in particular was the Potomac.
They had the Duck Tours here but I didn’t realise that when I booked, only when it came to being at the bus stop. Actually finding the bus stop was a pretty big challenge! I mean, how hard can it be right! I had all the info required, I’d even done a screen shot of the meeting place in case there was no WiFi.
Little did I know the problems that lack of WiFi would cause!! Data roaming was out of the question and every single time I looked for WiFi I have never, ever, seen so many locked networks. It was incredible. The only place I could access it was in the Metro at certain places and that was when I’d logged in giving email details etc. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve logged into a network, I’m going to be getting some interesting emails in the next few weeks and I’ll be unsubscribing to all of them!! I wouldn’t have minded if they’d actually worked!! I have never been so frustrated. Especially on this day when I was trying to get somewhere specific.
I had got the address, and when I had any previous WiFi I would open google maps and screen shot the route. I’m normally quite good at directions, can do a journey once and find my way again months later.
But my internal GPS was shot. I must have been zapped with an EMP!! I found the rough area of where to pick the bus up. It wasn’t just any bus stop it had to be the first stop where the voucher was to be redeemed.
I found the relevant building, or so I thought. After a McDonalds and logging onto WiFi there I found out it was the building next door🙄 so off I trundled again. I seemed to be spending most of my time walking and searching. The building was a shopping mall, the building was called Suntec. Next step was looking for the number of the shop. These were above the names, tiny numbers in the top right hand corner. Did you know that the second floor is in actual fact the first floor – no, neither did I but I do now!!! I followed the numbers. I continued to follow the numbers. Continued….. you get the picture! In the end I seemed to lose some. It was no good I had to ask. I asked a guy selling Ray Bans. He pointed me in the right direction. Turns out I had to go down a corridor, out of the building and turn right. The unit was outside🙄 I saw a great long queue of people but they appeared to be waiting for the Duck Tours so I assumed it wasn’t the one I wanted. I carried on walking, past the ‘Ducks’, buses and drivers sat having a chinwag. Realised I’d gone too far and retraced my steps. I went into the shop with the ducks and asked if it was where I could redeem my voucher. It was. I did a little fist pump in my head. Thank goodness for that. He took my phone and scanned the barcode, I’m not entirely sure I didn’t jump a queue somehow but oh well!!
I went back outside to find a bus. I picked up a leaflet which had the map and the routes on it. At this point I really didn’t care what colour route I took. I just wanted to get on a bus.
I stood and waited next to a bus. There were lots of people standing waiting, I appeared to be at the front of the queue. The people behind started talking about a cruise ship, I realised they were from it and started a conversation asking where they were going next. It was Bangkok apparently, after about 30 seconds the woman behind told me that the queue I was in was for the return to the ship!! 🤪😂 I made a joke of it and swiftly moved away and didn’t look back! What a complete twit!! Easily done though to be fair, none of it was very clear really.
I eventually got on a bus, it was a yellow route, which turned out to be a good loop. It took us all the way out to the Botanical Gardens. I stayed on the whole way, getting off at the beginning.
It had given me an idea of what was out there to see. Its an interesting city – it doesn’t feel like one, not like New York or Hong Kong. It had trees and lots of green spaces which made a huge difference and which of course I absolutely loved. The trees are even in the central reservation of the motorways, along the edges of roads. I wish we had this in our country, it brings a feeling of calm, not to mention the benefits on the environment. I was to learn on a later date that there are 2 million trees on the island.
I decided after the bus ride to make my way back to the apartment. I tried to find the MRT station, any one would do, I was getting used to using it, it’s quite simple – let’s face it it needs to be for me to understand it!!
I ended up wandering, getting glimpses of Marina Bay Sands hotel (the ship on top) as I turned corners. Although there are towering buildings they aren’t all packed in, you don’t feel closed in at all.
I walked through one park that had a memorial to the fallen civilian victims from the Japanese invasion, I had a sit down here, it was quite peaceful. I moved on finding a tree to hug and more photos to take.
The roads are fairly busy. The pedestrian crossings have timers, similar to New York, I think it’s a fab idea, it gives you an idea as to whether you’ve got time to cross and as some of them are spanning 6 lanes it’s not a bad idea!! It all depends on how daring you’re feeling – and how fit!!
I have to say not very! The heat just saps your energy, although each evening on my way back I managed a power walk listening to my music and I used the stairs where possible – I confess I tapped my feet on the train, and maybe did the odd jig and it was really hard when something like Uptown Funk came on not to dance down the road – I felt good. The whole place was doing me good. I was being me. I was coping. I had my own temporary space and it was fab! And I felt perfectly safe, although you can’t get out of your head that you’re walking down the road on your own through some dark patches, or if you look down an alley you can’t help but think you should avoid it as you would in the UK. Crime rate is very low in Singapore, they have cameras everywhere and penalties are high, they don’t mess around. You’re not allowed to chew gum – it’s illegal. Eating and drinking on the metro is not allowed, there are heavy fines, consequently it’s lovely and clean down there.
I made my way down into a metro station, Raffles Place, the one I used the most – and managed to exit a different way each time totally confusing me. I eventually asked Rich which one we’d used on my first night – I knew my way from there – roughly!!
I walked through the shops that were under there, I love their clothes and their shoes are to die for!! Of course it’s all mainly summer clothes, so I didn’t bother buying any and I’m not sure if they’d have had my size!
I eventually made it back to the apartment. It was Christmas Eve. I had nothing set in stone for Christmas Day, I had originally booked a bike tour in the morning but they’d emailed me to change it to Boxing Day so I had a thought I might go to Sentosa Island to have a look round – it has beaches and Universal Studios and is more like a vacation area. But I’d wait and see how I felt in the morning. I was shooting the breeze after all – you should try it, it’s very empowering and freeing and makes you focus.