Saturday, 15-11-2014 & Sunday, 16-11-2014.
Days 87 & 88.
Our plane landed in Singapore at midnight, and we didn't have a hotel. Instead, we were staying with friends. Well, really they were strangers who offered us a place to stay while we were in Singapore. But now they're friends, so we're retroactively friending them from the beginning.
But because we didn't want to inconvenience our hosts any more than we were already, our initial plan was to hang around Changi Airport until a reasonable hour when most of polite society started to wake. We weren't looking forward to six or so hours in an airport, but, as being stuck in an airport goes, we could do a lot worse than Changi.
But our hosts, being excellent hosts, told us that as cool as the airport was, there wasn't really all that much to do during the wee hours of the morning and insisted that it was no trouble to arrive at their apartment when we got in—even if that happened to be 1:30 in the morning.
So, as much as we were looking forward to playing around in Changi Airport, we cleared immigration and customs (one of the easiest entries to date), jumped in a cab, and zipped into town. We found the apartment with no trouble and tiptoed in, got settled in to our rooms, and turned in.
Saturday, Day 87.
The next morning we met our hosts, Joe and Rebecca, briefly over coffee before they headed off to work and we headed out to explore the city. We hadn't eaten since the light meal on the plane, so the first order of business, of course, was some breakfast.
Jackie did a little research on TripAdvisor and found 40 Hands, a nearby restaurant that had good coffee and good breakfasts.
Tiong Bahru Market
We were staying near Tiong Bahru Market, and old-style Singaporean mall with a lot of shops selling everything from fresh fish and meat to fruits and vegetables to fresh flowers on the ground floor and many restaurants on the upstairs level. This was one of those places that was on many different lists of places to check out in Singapore.
We explored the market for a little bit and got a snack before we jumped into a taxi and went over to Marina Bay Sands, the most expensive building in the world.
Marina Bay Sands
Of course we had to go up to the top to see the views, but first, since it's on the ground floor, we thought we'd check out the adjacent mall, the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. It has all the stores you'd expect to find in a huge mall, plus many high-end shops and celebrity chef restaurants. It's a crazy mall—so crazy, it even has its own canal system.
We were tempted to ride the canal, but no one else was riding in boats along the canal, so we passed on that.
After the mall, it was time to check out the SkyPark. There are two ways to do this. The first is to pony up $23 for adults and $17 for kids.
So instead of paying $80 to ride an elevator, we opted for the second method, which was to take the elevator to Ku De Ta, the restaurant at the top, and get a drink, then see the views for free.
The drinks are expensive, though (as you might expect), but we still spent slightly less with this method. The downside to option two was that we couldn't go right up to the edge of the SkyPark, but we got close enough. It rains quite a bit in Singapore, and as we left, we could see a rainstorm started rolling across Singapore.
Gardens by the Bay
We walked across the Lion Bridge to the entrance of the Gardens by the Bay, a large park rich with plant life and all sorts of futuristic-looking greenhouses, which reminded me of the geodesic domes aboard the Valley Forge, the ship from Silent Running.
We and marveled at the supertrees that dominate the Gardens and wanted to explore the Gardens further, but we had dinner plans and were running out of time and it was threatening to rain some more. So we retreated to the the MRT station that services Marina Bay Sands and rode the very clean subway to Chinatown and met up with our hosts for dinner at Din Tai Fung (the best one we've eaten at yet).
Sunday, Day 88.
Samantha was still feeling poorly and after breakfast it started to rain, so we we just relaxed at the apartment, did some schoolwork with the girls, and caught up on a few things that had gone neglected. Later the rains slowed down in the late afternoon, so we headed out to explore Little India a little bit and get some dinner.
Little India was very busy, and the streets were crowded. As the girls pointed out, there were very few women—most of the people we saw were men.
We ended up eating at the Jungle Tandoor, a themed Indian restaurant. Inside it's filled with all sorts of animals—gorillas, tigers, deer, and even rubber snakes glued to the walls. The food was just okay and a little expensive, but the decor was a lot of fun.
Our initial plan was to revisit the Gardens by the Bay to see the night time light show, which is supposed to be spectacular, but Samantha wasn't up to it. Her cough was getting worse and we were traveling the next day, so we decided turning in early and getting a good night's rest would be the smarter choice.
- Taxis taken: 5
- Subways taken: 1
- Rubber snakes seen: 5