Singapore was fun. I landed in Changi Terminal 2, and took the underpass to the MRT, where I found I needed to withdraw cash. A quick escalator to Terminal 3 and a Starbucks OJ later, I was downstairs again at the MRT.
The ticket machine was not good. The EFT terminal was broken or not in use, and it would only accept up to ten dollar notes. Thankfully my OJ split my fifty and I had enough cash to get me to the hotel.
The MRT trip made me feel all kinds of nostalgia. It was mostly empty, but I got to (kinda) watch the sun rise through the window. I had to transfer from the airport line at Tanah Merah, at which point the MRT was super full and I stood up most of the way.
As we arrived closer to the centre, things started to get really familiar. The thick jungle grass, the ERP tolls, the checkerboard kerb painting. This is the Singapore I remember.
My hotel was a block or two from the metro station and it was a great relief to drop my bags and check out the amazing views from the tower.
That morning I headed out and immediately stumbled on a Japanesse style pancake place, probably the most extravagant pancakes I’ve had in my life despite living in Amsterdam. Afterwards I realised that most places in Singapore only opened after 10am and changed my plan to just walk around the city.
I saw a lot of cool stuff including Raffles Hotel and the Fountain of Wealth, but probably the highlight of my day was heading to Giant Hyperfresh, a giant supermarket with a LOT of cool Asian goodies.
Heading into the trip, one of the pieces of advice I received was to take it slowly. Spend a few hours out, then retreat to the aircon to recover. I think my morning trip was too ambitious after the plane flight because I was thoroughly shattered once I got back to my hotel.
That evening after a lot of water and several hours napping, I headed out to Clark Quay, had a chicken noodle dinner, and walked the length of the quay taking time lapses and admiring the city.
As it was only a brief trip, the next day was my last day to see the city.
I started by heading out to Kampong Glam to check out the famed photogenic streets. I poked around the shops, and avoided the temptation to pick up tat, and thoroughly enjoyed the cosy streets, intense decorating, and colourful street art. I hadn’t been to this part of town the last time, and it shifted my perspective away from wanting to see the same old things to discovering new and exciting bits.
I found a nice Turkish restaurant to have breakfast. More specifically the man out the front gesturing to the menu caught my attention, then the laid back outdoor dining and large industrial fans maintained it. I was looking for breakfast, so the Menemen sounded great (it’s like shakshouka). The wait was fairly long, but it was worth it to sit in the shade and watch the hustle and bustle of the street. The meal itself was delicious and I would definitely recommend the place if you’re in the area.
After that I wandered a bit more, checking out the street art and the local shops, and finally the 7-Eleven for some fluids in the form of aloe drink.
The other thing I wanted to check out from my youth was the Sim Lim Square electronics emporium thing. It was a few blocks walk in the beating sun, but once I got there it was an immediate air conditioned blast.
Sim Lim was exactly what I remembered, except instead of PC components it was a lot more mobile accessories. My favourites were the vast displays of USB fans, and the little upmarket photography/videography shop.
I only ended up buying one thing, which was a nice pink aluminium iPad stand for my mum for Christmas.
After this I walked back to the hotel, realising I’d barely travelled a few blocks in my entire stay. There’s so much to do in Singapore, apparently, and I wouldn’t mind spending more time there in the future.