Singapore looks like someone picked up central London, gave it a thorough clean, threw in a dash of colonial heritage and then placed it very neatly in the middle of a lush verdant island blessed with (too) warm sunny days, plenty of parks and excellent food, before handing the whole thing over to a bunch of swiss people to run. In essence, it’s east meeting west in the best way possible (for a swiss/kenyan).
Eating in singapore is a pleasure. We eat in food courts - big open spaces surrounded by dozens of small restaurants each specialising in a few dishes which they serve up within minutes. Here I discovered 'chicken rice'. A combination of fragrant steamed rice and chicken which is covered in a simple soy based sauce and which is delicious in its simplicity. I also discovered fruit bars. These have an impressive selection of chilled fruits (mango, papaya, pineapple, melons, star fruits, leeches, durians) which they arrange on a platter for you after you’ve chosen your combination. A great and simple way of eating fruit.
Giulie's taking notes after eating a delicious 'chicken rice'!
We spent our three days here walking around the city. A combination of air conditioned super malls which have everything you could ever need and more; little india (the tidiest and cleanest version of india I’ve ever seen); marina bay surrounded by a stunning display of modern and extravagant architecture; lush and verdant parks, including the beautiful botanical gardens full of frangipani, bougainvillea and plenty of other plants I recognised from our garden in Kenya; and the colonial heart of the city, with its museums, clubs and cricket pavilion.
We indulged in the most extravagant and expensive drink of our lives at the Raffles Club (Raffles was the “founder” of Singapore, at least as far as the west is concerned), a beautiful club in the heart of the city with the exact same spirit of the muthaiga club in nairobi (albeit, at least one bar, open to non-members). And so we had our first (and hopefully not last) gin and tonic whilst eating peanuts from the shell and throwing these (the shells) on the floor – apparently a long established tradition which possibly continues to exist as it’s the only place in Singapore where it is possible to litter without ending up in jail. It felt truly rebellious.
Joergen and the Raffles Club
On the evening of the third day we left on the midnight sleeper train for kuala lumpur – Malaysia’s capital city. We had a berth each in the sleeper cabin but unfortunately sleep eluded us for the majority of the trip as we were surrounded by a snoring so loud and deep that ear plugs couldn’t drown it out (the guy was asleep before the train left the station and woke up only once in kuala lumpur – amazing) and a driving so jolting that you had to wonder how the train driver ever got his train driving licence in the first place (he probably hadn’t). This should probably have been our first indication that Malaysia (the train was Malaysian operated) wasn’t going to be quite the efficient paradise that Singapore had been…