Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 2: Chillin’ in Singapore

Our day began with a strange (but complimentary) breakfast of corn, cornflakes, pasta bake and ‘chicken’ sausage. We left the cool cocoon of our hostel and entered the city, already sweltering at 9AM. Walking around the high tech shopping district to source some computer parts for a family member, it struck us that nothing really happened before 11AM. We amused ourselves by trying to locate a store selling graphics cards, starting from the top of a 15 story tower and working our way down. We were unsuccessful but vowed to return to complete our quest later.

A walk to Singapore’s latest architectural monstrosity; The Marina Bay Sands, was next on our agenda. Effectively a stylised boat resting atop three gigantic towers, inspiration could have come from biblical tales of Noah, the flotilla of merchant chips discharging bilge in the adjacent bay, or just the Las Vegas financier’s desire to have a massive boat on top of massive towers.

The Marina Bay Sands in all its boat/towery glory
We paid our $20 to ride a lift to the boat for a breathtaking view of the skyline, and it was easy to see how Singapore packed so many people into such a small space, with high rises stretching into the haze.

Singapore skyline from the Bay Sands
When we grew tired of gawking at the view and watching the wealthy families indulge in the endless pool, we decided to find some water for ourselves as the heat had now become crippling. We’d heard that the Sentosa Island Resort was the place to head to, so boarded the MRT for the end of the line. Here we were confronted with a mall on roids, a muzac playing beast whose sole purpose was to fulfil the consumerist urges of seemingly everyone in Singapore.

Stopping for lunch we were tempted by a sushi train offering all manner of Japanese treats. Spotting a flyer for a buffet we hastily took a seat and began indulging. By the time we got to 25 plates we felt we had definitely got our money’s worth and could hear the chefs complaints as they struggled to keep the train stocked.

Michi feels the cumulative effects of 25 plates of sushi
On receiving the bill we were shocked to discover that the buffet didn’t apply at this particular restaurant. Eighty dollars later we had learnt to read the fine print, and vowed to return to an applicable restaurant to have our delicious revenge.

Only to discover it wasn't actually a buffet!
Negotiating the mall melee we boarded a monorail for Sentosa which turned out to be resort based on hyper reality, complete with Segway rides and inflated ice-cream prices. Our need for water cooling overcame our concerns over water quality with the previously mentioned flotilla (the world’s largest) visible only a couple of hundred metres off shore.

While swimming we observed a couple of metal detector wielding weirdoes prowling the beach. Michi was convinced they were searching for the lost treasures of the orient, while I was certain that they were the resorts defence against sharp metal objects discarded on the beach, a relic of some previous PR disaster.

A day full of walking in the heat had left us sapped and dry. We both hope that Nepal will be a tad cooler and are amping to saddle up in Nepal and get out into the wilderness.

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