Day 228-229 – Singapore 30th Apr-1st May 2012

30th April 2012

The beginnings of a new day crept in through the open window as we arose to catch our morning flight from Kuala Lumpur LCCT to Singapore. We finished up the last of the packing and headed down stairs to say our last farewells to Step Inn, and to Alan in particular who had been so hospitable and become a good friend.

Loading up, rucksacks on backs and a few extra bags that we always seem to have, we set off to the bus stop outside Mydin department store. We passed our favourite Indian in the hope of securing some curry puff to take with us, but we were too early. Arriving at the stop we had a few minutes to wait before the decrepit and clapped out bus belched into view and we piled on board for the hour long trip to the airport.

We arrived with almost 2 hours in hand before the flight was due to leave, and so we checked in the bags and made our way through passport control and security into the departure lounge. We searched around for a snack to keep us going and settled for some Dunkin’ Donuts and a coffee in the end.

The flight was called and we had to walk a good 200m in the fierce heat to get to the plane where we soon settled into our seats for the short hop to Singapore. We arrived on time and after collecting our baggage spent a few minutes trying to orientate ourselves and work out how we would get to the guest house. The boys were hungry and as we’d already succumbed to junk food we capitulated and headed to BK at the far end of the arrivals hall. It had not improved since the last time we had eaten there, seven months ago!

After lunch we boarded the sky train to terminal 2 and made our way to the underground station. The self service machines did not offer a child ticket and so we had to inquire at the information point. This is normal, there is only one ticket price. So, back to the ticket machine, select destination, add extra tickets, add money and bingo, we were off.

To get to the hotel involved changing trains twice and it took about an hour to get to the station we wanted, before a short 100m walk to the hotel (the Hive). Its a peculiarity that when it is nearly 40 degrees and 90% humidity there is no such thing as a short walk, even a few steps carrying a heavy load seems like a very long way indeed! Anyway, as the name suggests the hotel has a bee theme and its outside is painted in black and yellow which makes it easy to spot when emerging from the sky train.

We checked in but found our room was not yet ready, so the boys headed for the games room (XBox) and we connected up to the wireless to find out what was going on in the world. Half an hour later we grabbed our things and headed across the road to the Hive Annexe where our room was – a 4 bed dorm containing two bunk beds. There was a large reception area with sofas and a TV and at the end a kitchen on one side and computer spot on the other.

The rest of the afternoon was spent settling ourselves in and preparing our things ready for the voyage home. The boys watched Pirates of the Caribbean IV on DVD on one of the computers (the DVD player by the TV didn’t open) and we searched the net for something to do the next day that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg.

Dinner time rolled around and we walked down lavender street to the food court that the internet had told us was there. It was with some surprise that we realised we had been there before when we had stayed at the little red dot hostel just down the road from there on our way to Malaysia. It was a welcome feeling to be on familiar territory and we tucked into some really good food at reasonable prices. Just behind where we were sitting was a man making noodles and as the boys finished their dinners they drifted over to watch him at work. They were fascinated and totally absorbed by the man’s skilful noodle making and he made it look so easy.

We dragged the boys away from noodle man and headed back to the hotel and to bed. Another day over, another day closer to going home.

1st May 2012

OMG is that the time? Breakfast finishes in 15 mins we need to get moving!

Whenever we have the luxury of a lie-in it is important to enjoy it whatever the consequences. This morning’s consequence was that we almost missed breakfast, but it was only almost – we did in fact make breakfast with minutes to spare so no real drama, honest.

Dragging the children away from the XBox we managed to cajole them into an exploration of Little India – out of the hotel, turn left and keep walking, you can’t miss it. On the way we passed temples and jewellery shops, some shopping malls and restaurants. It was hot, really hot. All we could do was walk slowly and try and keep in the shade where possible.

By now it was lunch time and we flopped ourselves down at a restaurant well populated with locals (always a good sign) and which was not expensive. We enjoyed some Chicken Biryani which to our surprise Oskar liked, and Mateo and Luca had roti and plain rice with the odd spoon of dahl.

Nicely filled, with a tingle on our tongues we left the restaurant and crossed over to visit one of the largest temples…

DSC 6166 DSC 6168 DSC 6173

And afterwards walked on through the back streets to try and find some jingle-jangle bracelets for Tania – most of the bells had fallen off the one she had already.

The temples were splendid but the overall sense of the place escaped us. There was not a feeling of India here, it was lacking definition somehow – yes the people walking around were Indian, but the shops and layout of the place, the sense and smell of the place did not suggest India to us. When we were in Penang there was colour galore, spices on the breeze, gold and sequins everywhere, dress shops selling sari and Bollywood music blaring out from the shops. Which is more real, I wonder?

We returned to the hotel and as promised we grabbed our swimming gear and headed to the Chinese pool not far from the hotel, which we had visited the last time we were in Singapore. There we escaped from the heat for a few hours splashing about in the water and having a good time.

As the skies darkened we left to get changed and by the time we were ready to leave, the pool had been emptied as there was a thunderstorm on the way. We made it back to the hotel before the heavens opened, but yours truly had to brave the heavy rain to fulfil my mission to find some beer – ah well, its only water and in the heat you dry off fairly quickly.

Dinner was a simple affair from the restaurant next door. Not cordon bleu by any stretch of the imagination, but it filled a hole. Whilst the boys played a little on the PCs, Tania and I finalised the packing leaving out only what was necessary and the clothes for the next day and then we all got ready for bed. An early night was in order – tomorrow we would be getting up at around 5 am to get to the airport for our flight home.

We were all excited about going home…..

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