Sunday, April 20, 2008

Singapore - finally

As you know, we arrived in Singapore Friday evening on March 28 and there was no luggage. We had a few bits in our carry on so went straight to the hotel. The subway system is really great and it was actualy good not having huge bags to lug around. Singapore, however, was incredibly hot and humid. I don't think the heat would have been nearly as bad if it wasn't 95% humidity! We decided that night just to eat at the hotel which meant no walking in the heat, but the food there was not good at all. Oh well.

Next day we hit the shops first thing. Lucky for us, the hotel was two blocks from a huge shopping centre. Also, we are not in a very touristy part and there were really only locals in the shops. Clothes shopping, however, was depressing as there is rather a size difference between us and Singaporeans! Found a few things to make life more comfortable including sandals, shorts and t-shirts. We changed and then went out for a real look around. Just behind the hotel was Arab St so we hit there first and saw the mosque. All the shops were Malaysian influenced.
We found the heritage museum and learnt all about the settlement of Singapore by the 4 main groups - Malaysia, China, India and Britain, along with the Dutch and Portugese interests. Well worth a visit there as it is very interesting (and it is cheap and air-conditioned). It was interesting after seeing the Dutch point of view of their sea explorations in Amsterdam.

We walked from there across to Little India, which was incredible with its markets and food. We found one of the local food courts and I had duck and noodles (huge portion) for $3 and Llew had chicken and rice (even bigger portion) for $2.50. We also had the cheapest beers in Singapore for $6.50 each but for 700mL bottles. Beer was expensive there with a usual small bottle of beer being $7-8. Oh well, the food was so cheap and the weather so hot, we didn't worry about it! We found a more western place for dinner that was also quite good and cheap.

Sunday we went for a walk towards the colonial centre of Singapore and lo and behold passed Raffles Hotel - with a Lamborghini just pulling up in front. Hmmmm.

Continuing on, we passed the Singapore Cricket Club - very good ol' chap, marvelous! Right in the middle of very built up Singapore! Actually, Singapore was not as built up as we thought it would be and every street had trees and grass and plenty of plants and flowers. The buildings were not that big, with plenty of space and parks between.
Down to the river and the landing point of Raffles himself.

The financial district is the only really built up part - like in any city, but the river is nice and the area we were in was a lot like Southbank in Brisbane with its parks and museums and bike-ways.

Just beside the financial district was Chinatown and of course Chinese food.

There was not a lot to buy, because we can get nearly everything exactly the same in Australia, but it was still fun to see. We then headed over to Orchard Road, the most exclusive shopping district in Singapore, but, of course we could not buy any Gucci or Prada etc. First we found wonderful Thai food in another food court (bit more upmarket though). Secondly we found a nice outdoor cafe next to some music demo thing from HMV and had many beers and buffalo wings! It was pleasant outside under the trees with music and breeze. Almost forgot how hot it was! A few hour later we found our way back to the hotel.

The last day we decided to take the train out to the Japanese and Chinese gardens. The Chinese garden was first and was great. Nothing, however, was open in the way of food or drinks and it was bloody hot. Would have been fabulous if the cafe was open to sit by the water.

The Chinese garden did contain a massive collection of extremely old bonsai trees. Really amazing.

By the time we got across to the Japanese garden, we were exhausted and hot, thirsty and hungry so headed back to the shopping centre near the hotel - mostly because it was fully covered and air-conditioned. It was called Bugis Junction and used to be a seedy area of town. So they did up all the building, put a glass roof over and turned it into a shopping mall! Really good, but interesting because it is like being on indoor streets and going in and out of buildings. We found more Thai food there. One other breakfast we were there and had pancake things, I had banana, Llew had spicy meat.

So that was Singapore in history, food and walking in the heat. I'd recommend it, but not for shopping. Most things are cheaper in suburban stores in Brisbane. Go for the culture and the history and if you are game, the food.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Chicken Pox

That's right. Llew got spots yesterday afternoon and I got spots last night. Yes, we are 600km apart, but it takes at least 14 days from infection to spots appearing, 14-16 is usual. Yes, that puts us in Singapore. That would be the Monday. We did, however, arrive on Friday in a plane from London with many children. That is likely. Hmmmm. So, we were feeling horrid over the weekend, both with fevers, light headedness, fatigue and pain behind the eyes. Then he said he had a few spots. Then he said he had lots of spots. Then I looked and I had a few spots. He went to the doc and yes, chicken pox. Next day and I now have lots of spots. At least I can work from home and CQU has mid-term break this week, so we are not totally at a loss. It's just annoying!!!!!! And funny that we both had not had them as a child, and now both get them. Funny - yes, you can laugh.

Hope you are all doing much better!!!!

Monday, April 7, 2008


Hi all. Sorry about no post about Singapore yet. That will come in time.

We arrived home on Wednesday and promptly went and bought some more clothes. Yep, that's right, no luggage. We caught up with some people the end of last week, and got Peanuts back and generally tried to sort things out (without luggage). Llew was just in the process of packing at 6pm Saturday for leaving on Sunday when I got a phone call. "We have two pieces of luggage here for you and the driver is just about to leave. You will get them tonight." Well, that was great. Just in the nick of time. Llew could pack the rest of his things. We had clothes!

So the other important piece of information is that we bought a car! We were most interested in a Prius, but they are exceptionally over-priced here and there was no way we could either get a good deal, or get finance. So we asked around and decided on the 2009 Subaru Forester, white. Wow, great car. Drove is around a bit and on the highway and it is fabulous. Really smooth and quiet. It has just got the safety award again, so we are pleased with that. We phoned the dealer Thursday morning, signed the contract Thursday afternoon, and paid for it on Friday when we picked it up. All ready to go! That was just what we needed because Llew left for Rockhampton yesterday.

That's right, no rest for the wicked, umm... I mean wise... :) He started today and I'll let him tell you about that. As for me, I'm back at UQ to respond to my examiners' comments for the next few weeks. This place has changed a bit and I am in an office that never used to be here, but it only has 2 other people in it and 5 other vacant desks, so will work. Carlos is well, and is all ready to get onto this thing too. I'll keep you up to date on that.

Stay tuned for photos of Singapore and the car.