Travel

Singapore – Shooting the Breeze

It was my last full day, I had one more sleep before I would have to pack up and leave. I knew I already didn’t want to.

I had nothing planned. I got ready and decided along the way that I really should go and see the Marina Bay Sands hotel up close. So far I’d seen it from a distance and it had featured in quite a few of my photos, it’s quite an iconic building – it had also helped me orientate myself a few times when I’d been lost!!🙄😆

I knew where to go on the metro – check me out😋 – so I hopped on and sat and people watched whilst I listened to my music. Things I noticed – Nearly everyone had their nose in their phone. The trains are really clean. Hand straps from the ceiling are really low and plentiful (I know this, I’d banged my head on them enough times 🙄). The Trainline map lit up at each stop so you knew where you were if you’d nodded off and woken up (again, I knew this because…) Everyone seemed to have WiFi except me. Everywhere was very clean. I felt incredibly safe. Even though I was a tall blonde I didn’t feel out of place. Everyone just accepts everyone.

I got off the train and surfaced. In the wrong place🙄really??!! But, I could see the hotel and actually it was pretty cool from this angle, from the side.

There weren’t many people around at all, in fact thinking about it now, apart from the main tourist areas (especially Xmas day) I hadn’t really felt like I was in a typical city, quite odd really, but lovely! I’m not a great people person, not very fond of crowds, I prefer trees – often friendlier! So this city quite suited me🤔

Anyway, I digress (you can see how I get lost – easily distra – ooo look a squirrel!😂)

I walked straight down the road, crossed over a 6 lane road and came to the hotel – having passed the metro station I thought I was getting off at which was next door to the hotel🙄

Now I wasn’t really bothered about the hotel, but like I said, I felt I should go and see it as it was so iconic.

I went in. The doors were at either end of the building. There was a huge Christmas tree at this end. I looked up, the walls kind of tapered and there was a metal tangle of ‘art’ hanging from the ceiling – I’m getting bored thinking about it, in fact the whole place bored me. It was soulless. I walked all the way through, paid a visit (even that wasn’t overly impressive – the toilets! ), checked out the shop windows then made my way back to the middle where there were escalators to the shopping mall which was on the opposite side of the road.

Now, I’m not a shopper, I’m not materialistic, can talk myself out of buying anything. I buy my clothes periodically, when I do actually buy them, from Sainsbury’s and occasionally Tesco’s 😂 so the shops that were in the mall did absolutely nothing for me. I’m not impressed by labels, don’t recognise ‘names’ but I understand and appreciate that others do – my choice, their choice.

But I did recognise that it was impressive – although soulless again – with all of the designer labels you can think of under one roof – no Peacocks or Bon Marche here!!😂

I walked around (not all of it) quite quickly, there was a big water feature on the ground floor which turned out to have a little off shoot that had paddle boats you could hire!! No, I didn’t.

There was, however, one shop I did go in – Christian Laboutin – shoe shop. Oh. My. God. I have a thing for shoes! Who knew! And handbags – but the shoes – Holy Cow Batman!! They were gorgeous! Red souls (which I found out when I got home are a trademark – I’d never heard of the guy before!) and some killer heels – I do recognise good quality. I walked around with my mouth open taking photos – I don’t care what people think – one of the shop assistants (a man) looked at me, a starting at my feet kind of look and quickly dismissed me – clearly unimpressed with my £12 F&F long black jersey dress and my white Reebok trainers and ankle socks😂 I just smiled at him.

I asked how much a pair of them were – beautiful sparkly ones with gorgeous stilettos – a mere $900 😂😂😂 roughly £450😂😂😂 Just think how much I could buy in Tescos and Sainsbury’s for that amount!!😂

I left the shop secretly wishing I could buy a pair one day but I’m not bothered if I never do, they’d still kill my feet!

It was then that I noticed some policemen (shoes forgotten), the first I’d seen, in fact I’d probably only heard a siren a couple of times over the week and the same for police cars!

There were 5 of them, going up the escalator, I followed, possibly a little too closely but hey, I appreciate other stuff too!!😜

They were carrying their automatic rifles in their arms and they had others strapped to their bodies in various places. It then made me realise just how much money there was in the Mall, in terms of merchandise, especially the jewellery shops – I sometimes think we value things a lot more than people – sad.

I made my way outside, smiling at one of the policemen as I passed 😉 walked down to the end of the building and down the side, towards the Marina. After having seen barely any police I now noticed two trucks parked on this side road, there was a fairground that had been set up and I figured they were gearing up in preparation of the New Year celebrations.

It was nice to be outside again, although it was very humid. I sat on a bench and people watched. I had a choice of left or right to get to the other side – although I had no clue where I was going next!! I went left. I was hungry, food was my goal. Raffles Place metro became my target, it was where Rich and I had eaten before he abandoned me😆

I walked around the Marina, taking photos of the buildings and trees, eventually finding Raffles Place. I went into a bar, well, opposite the bar, there was a street of bars, a walkway in front of them then covered seating areas for each one that were on the waterfront.

I was shown to a high table with stools overlooking the water. Man I was starving! I ordered a Corona, some chicken tikka skewers (yes I’d inadvertently chosen an Indian restaurant🙄😂) and a Greek salad. It all came, I drank and I ate and it was all delicious – I ordered another bottle (no glass, how uncouth), it was going down very easily – too easily! I had to negotiate the metro home yet!! I could have had another but I paid up and walked, fairly straight but with a little weave – I was avoiding people! – towards where I’d worked out Raffles was, my next destination, for a Singapore Sling🤪

I walked past Parliament House which was opposite where I’d eventually found Rene the bike guy and where there was the Starbucks where I’d asked for directions, which I decided to go in and have a coffee before the Sling. Coffee drunk, I stumbled out (literally – who put that step there??!!) and walked down the road in search of Raffles.

And amazingly I found it!! Ha!! We’d cycled past it the other day – could I be getting my bearings? Maybe the beer was helping.

Raffles itself was all boarded up for renovation but I followed the signs to The Long Bar, up some steps and around the corner of a verandah/balcony (what’s the difference🤔) into the bar where I was greeted by the Maitre D and who promptly asked if I was alone when I asked if I could have a table – yes I’m alone🙄

He showed me to a table that seated two, between two others that were occupied by couples. I sat down and took in my surroundings.

Very colonial, fans on the ceiling, not with blades but made out of bamboo and connected and were electric. There were little hessian sacks on each table filled to overflowing with monkey nuts and the tiled floor was covered in the discarded shells, talk about a health and safety risk!

I perused the menu, deciding on the Singapore Sling basic option, this was $40 in itself and I was sure was adequate. While I waited I took my usual photos, even a selfie – hate them but sometimes necessary, especially on holiday. The couple to the right of me were taking photos too, I offered to take one of both them but they declined, saying how many photos can you take, to which I replied, I know, it’s only a drink. We started chatting, very lovely and very friendly couple, called Bob and Sue. Sue was asking me questions, I told her I was travelling alone, ended up telling her loads, about the places I’d been to so far in Singapore. She was really lovely, very complimentary and impressed I was doing it all on my own (hearing things like that from complete strangers can really give you a boost and a belief in yourself, she was invaluable, I don’t think she realised how much) They were on a stopover on their way to Australia, for a couple of days. I gave them some ideas of where to go the following day ( I felt like a seasoned traveller), they told me they were on their way to friends and would be on a boat in Sydney Harbour for the turn of the New Year – how fantastic that must have been!!

They paid their bill after a while and made to leave, they had piled their shells up on the table, she couldn’t bring herself to just throw them on the floor, it didn’t feel right. I said goodbye to them and turned my attention to finishing my drink – it was really delicious, just as it had been on the Flyer on Xmas day. A waiter came over and cleared their table, promptly sweeping the shells onto the floor – Sue would have been horrified!!

I went and paid my bill at the bar then had a comfort break before leaving Raffles. I was glad I’d done it, if I go again I’d do it again and hopefully the hotel would be finished to have a look round.

I made my way back down the stairs and back towards Raffles Place. Walking back past the bars I heard live music on the other side of the river. I’d walked past it on another night when I’d been lost and it looked like a nice bar and the music was good too. I toyed with the idea of going over there for another drink (I don’t normally drink like this, especially not on my own but it was just the mood of the day taking over), I really wanted to but I weighed it all up, decided it was too late and thought about the journey back to the apartment and the walk at the other end, so I carried on walking to the Metro. Of course, another factor to thinking I shouldn’t was that I was on my own. I think it’s one thing to go in a bar for a bite to eat and a drink early evening on your own, but later in the evening, walking into a bar on your own is completely different. I kind of regret it but I know it was the right thing to do.

I found the station and jumped on the train, it was still quite busy and I always felt safe – I’d think twice coming back from London on my own.

It had been a spontaneous day, waking up and not knowing what I was going to do, they are often the best days, just literally letting my feet take me wherever felt right. I’d really enjoyed it, all of it, especially meeting Sue and Bob, they went a long way towards boosting my confidence and making me feel like I knew what I was doing – doesn’t happen often!!😂 I’d like to think they took a memory of me away with them but I guess I’ll never know😊

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