Friday, 3 January 2014

A Winter Get Away

Winter Get- Aways

Two part Series by Jacky Crawford

Our Singapore Fling

It was hot and steamy. I should also add, exotic.
We might live in the southern most part of Canada, but January holds only coldand windy days topped with grey skies. Stepping out of the Singapore airport is to be instantly transported into another world. Lush and verdant vegetation greets you: trees in unusual shapes and warm air folds around you like a velvet cloak.

Acting as my own travel agent, I had messed up on only one detail, but it was a whopper – I though we were arriving as seven in the evening, but we got in at seven am. Having been assured that we could easily use the ATMs and credit cards, we were bereft of even a Singapore dime to use the public phone. I missed my cell already!

An Avis salesperson gave us a dime and welcomed us to Singapore. He was to be the first of many helpful locals that gave us directions, advice and smiles. Adding to the fact that this city state is extremely clean, graffiti-free and safe, you have a worry free springboard to your introduction to Asia.
We had travelled Singapore Air. They are somewhat of a legend in the service they provide. The quality of the meals, served with very little in the way of plastic utensils or dishes, was superb and the attentative stewards (women coiffed and groomed as for a catwalk) was reminiscent of the days of BOAC.

However, the effects of a twenty-one hour flight is still a major case of jet lag. We kept our first days low key. Our initial outing was to the peaceful Botanical Gardens. It was filled with families strolling the many paths and gazing at the flowers and birds. This little oasis has many sculptures and all the unusual plantings are labelled. The food court was a noisy shock – we had to settle for strawberry smoothies, as we didn't have enough energy to decipher the menu, even with the pictures!

A few days later we were ready to do some serious sight-seeing. We had already found the taxis to be inexpensive. The bus and subway system is cheaper and almost as convenient. Arming ourselves with an e-z link card, we just swiped and took a seat, often on a double-decker that afforded great views.

We visited each ethnic section of Singapore in turn. Each was like entering a different country, Singaporeans have a great street life. People are to be found eating outside, shopping and bar-hopping almost twenty-four hours a day. It is not only the tourists that jam the many small streets, walking around and choosing a cafe', snapping pictures and then deciding to get one more drink before calling a cab, but the locals too. It leaves inside activities quite flat. The Museum of Civilization, interesting and beautifully presented, was quite empty, even though it was Saturday and there were areas set up to children to experiment with hands on materials.

Return to this site to read about Singapore's Streets!

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