We arrived in Singapore a day before Lammie's cousin Tree came back from Bangkok. We crashed at Tree's place, about a 5 min walk to Orchard Road. It had a nice, inviting pool too!!!
When Tree arrived the next evening, we went out on a tour of Singapore by night, stopping off at Clarke Quay, Boat Quay, Central, the Merlion, and CHJMES (pronounced Chimes) which is an old church and grounds that has been converted into a bar and several restaurants and patio cafes. To wrap up the evening we strolled into the swanky Raffles Hotel and had ourselves Singapore Slings. Mmmmmm.... they went down WAY too well!!
Throughout our stay, we did nothing much other than walk, eat, and shop! Did I mention eating??? That is definately the thing to do here in Singapore!!!! Some of the large hawker places we went to included Maxwell Road, Lau Pa Sat, and a lane that served nothing but satays. Some of the things we loved were the Hainanese chicken rice, ice kachang, laksa (ohhhh.... laksa!!), char kway teow, fresh lime juice, tonnes of fresh fruit, sushi!! and of course, satays. However, we didn't manage to find Singapore Fried Vermacelli (Nigel's favorite) !!!!! What's up with that?!
Despite having all this yummy food just a hop, skip, and a jump away, we broke down one afternoon and pigged out on KD with Tree. It was great! Yummm... KD.....
We also went out to the boonies, Boon Lay, to visit Nanyang Technological University (NTU) where Lammie went to school for 4 months on exchange back in 1997. Boy, how the university has expanded since then!!! We went back to the dorm where she stayed too. Still looks the same!!!
Among our many stops in Singapore, we saw Chinatown, Little India, Arab Town, a computer multi-storey mall, and an Indian 'Walmart'.
We also saw the new road tax scheme in action first hand. Like London, they have areas of downtown marked off as high traffic areas. To venture into these areas by motor vehicle will set you back a certain amount for road tax. In London, you would get the photo in the mail and then go pay it. In Singapore, each car that is sold in the country comes with a meter and card reader mounted on the dash. As you enter the road tax zone, your meter runs up the amount that you owe. All you do is stick in your smart card (smartcard debit card) and it takes the money from your card. Unlike London, which relys on cameras to take pictures of your care and license plate, Singapore uses GPS technology. Like our cabbie said, there's no escape.
Singapore was clean, safe, extremely multi-cultural, modern, and easy to get around. Did we mention the food was great?