travel

Day 9: The city that rose like a merlion

We managed to exit Tioman Island via a five hour boat and road journey (several didn’t: the ferry is frequently overbooked and the bemused passengers left behind on the jetty were safe in the knowledge that the next ferry was not until the following day. God willing.)

Being budget conscious we had to search high and low to find accommodation larger than a postage stamp for our three nights in Singapore, and ended up with a bargain one bed apartment through Airbnb. Bargain because it’s in the middle of the red light district… The area has been cleaned up a lot over the last five years according to our cab driver, and to be honest I find it far safer than wandering around Dagenham Heathway after nightfall. At 11pm last night it was buzzing with locals, families and travellers all cramming in to what seems like hundreds of eateries (restaurants are on the odd numbered roads, brothels previously on the evens-luckily we are on 19). Owen doesn’t believe that the speciality is frog porridge-he just thinks it’s a bad dad joke lol.

We spent the evening at Marina Bay, with its classic skyline views and amazing light show ‘Spectra (we didn’t really know what the thousands were sat waiting for, so thought that we would just join them!).’ Not only was the light show stunning; but every aspect of the mall was created with no expense spared. At every opportunity Singapore wants to show us its pride in economically raising itself up from the sea like its symbolic mythical merlion.

The mall food court (hawker centre) looked delicious, however it was packed, so to the kids’ delight we ended up in the superheroes cafe, which they described as ‘epic (this word gets somewhat overused in our household). It was like a typical themed London cafe: moderate food but amazing decor.

The kids fell into bed shattered at the end of a long day, and I was not far behind them after trying to research some sort of plan for tomorrow. I went to sleep, my head spinning with images of gardens in the sky, pork noodles for breakfast and thoughts of how pricey the damn alcohol is once more…

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