We arrived at the massive Singapore airport on March 3rd. We had downgraded our accommodations to a hostel called Ace Lodges Residence located about 10 kilometers from down town Singapore. It looked pretty good on-line and it was pretty cheap, so we booked it in hopes it would be OK. On our way from the airport to our accommodation, we were amazed at how clean Singapore was and how extremely nice and helpful the people were. We were also pleasantly surprised that English is their official language. It was evening when we arrived, but it was very warm and humid. We got to our place and we were very pleased with the facility. The staff/owners were very nice and greeted us with a warm welcome. The hostel practically brand and had only been open for three months. In our room, we only had four beds with a little night table crowded in, but there was an excellent TV/computer room, a decent kitchen area, and clean bathroom facilities. The city bus stop was right outside our door and the network of buses took us everywhere we wanted to go for a dollar or so each. There was a McDonalds restaurant right beside our place and Drew was pleased about that, as well a grocery store, 7/11 convenient store, all within a block. Perfect! Interestingly, the McDonalds was a 24-hour restaurant with delivery! They employed no less than three drivers at one time all with motorized scooters and they seemed to be constantly strapping on their hot packs, jumping on their bikes and speeding off to another emergency delivery.
The next morning we jumped on the giant double decker city bus and headed for downtown Singapore. Our fist stop was a five-story massive electronic store complex that must have over two hundred stores of computers, cell phones and cameras. Our goal was to purchase two cameras in Singapore, because they are apparently the cheapest place in the world to buy a brand name electronic item, tax-free along with global warranty. Earlier in the trip, Drew had camera issues and ended up sending his back to Canada for warranty only to find out it was unfixable, and ended up with a credit to purchase a new one. And for our stupid camera, our underwater Sanyo video camera failed in the water while snorkeling when water entered through the battery chamber shorting the camera out. Sanyo claims this is customer error and not a malfunction. Brutal! Anyway, we bought our cameras and headed further downtown to just take in some of the sites of amazing Singapore. We came to a giant monument of a lion that was spewing water out of its mouth into the bay and learned that the lion is the symbol of Singapore. Sing means “lion” and “pore” means port. There are several impressive buildings in downtown Singapore, but none more amazing than the newly built hotel casino. It is this massive three building structure with a humongous ship structure on top of them, joining all three structures together. Simply, it looks like a huge ship sitting on top three parallel buildings. Check out the pictures on Singapore(soon to come). Downtown Singapore is noticeably very clean and he laws of Singapore are a contributing factor to this cleanliness. The strict enforced laws will get you a hefty fine for littering, spitting, gum chewing, and anything else that generates litter or filth. The kids were particularly astonished at law signs posted at the airport and other major facilities that said “ PUNISHMENT FOR POSSESSION OF ILLEGAL DRUGS IS DEATH.” That got all our attention and we all locked our luggage while in the airport or public place.
The next day we had to fulfill Jessica’s request to go shopping for clothes. We asked around and ended up at this huge market in an area called Bogie Street. We stayed there quite a while, but the shopping was not that good and there was so many people and it was extremely hot. After that we walked to Singapore’s large China town to have a look around and get some traditional food. The kids loved China town because once again the shops were full of cheap unique tourist junk. Drew bought another flute, Jessica bought a cool little statue guy shaped like an umbrella that was made out of Singapore cinnamon wood and Lyane bought tax-free name brand perfume. We then wondered into a giant food court where Drew immediately began to pinch his nose and commented that the food smelt like Teddy’s breath. Teddy was a Pomeranian dog we dog sat last year for two weeks for a friend! Admittedly, Teddy did have pretty bad breathe and the Chinatown food court did remind me a little of the forgotten dogs breathe. But we all sucked it up and ate there anyway, just to say we did. The food was actually pretty good and the service was outstanding.
Day three was Drew’s twelfth birthday and we gave him several options to celebrate his day, and fortunately he picked Singapore’s Wet and Wild massive water park. It was a great choice because again, the heat was stifling that day. The park had the usual wild water slides, a wave pool, and a lazy river you float around the park on a tube, but the highlight was this two-story high half-pipe water slide that you slide straight down on in a two-man tube. You go flying straight down and then plane out and then straight up the other side. The kids loved it, but Lyane and I are really getting to old for the stuff and we were just relieved we survived it! After we were all slided out, we went out for Drew’s favorite restaurant Pizza Hut. Speaking of food, I forgot to mention that, that morning the residence staff bought Drew and our whole family breakfast for his birthday from McDonalds. They didn’t want to disturb us placed so they just placed it at our dorm door. Drew was very grateful and happy about that. Thank you so much Alice, Eddy and Colin for breakfast and everything you did for us, we will forever remember your kindness.
The next day we went to the Singapore famous island of Sotosa. It is a spectacular island with literally hundreds of activities. Our goal was to visit the Aquarium and to take in the aquatic show with the rare Pink Dolphins. We arrived an hour early for the show, so we were able to walk right across the street and go to the beach for a swim first. Where else in the world can you go to an adventure park and go to the ocean beach for a swim as well! Again, It was so hot that it was the perfect thing to do. An hour later, the show began with a splash (haha) and the seals first and the dolphins last put on quit a show! During both shows, there was audience participation and Jessica was picked to hula-hoop with the pink dolphins, and was rewarded by being allowed to pet them after the show. Fortunately, we were able to add Drew in on the dolphin interaction and they both enjoyed another unforgettable event! After the dolphins, we went to the aquarium and saw giant sea turtles, huge 6ft wide Japanese spider crabs, dragon sea horses, and these cool miniature angle like fish that are so tiny they have to be magnified and actually do look like heaven angles as we know them. Next, Drew had always wanted to go luge carting (it’s like go- carting, except non-motorized and is on a steep downhill windy track). It was actually pretty scary and Jessica and I had to break a few times to avoid crashes, while Drew and Lyane finished ahead of us and claimed they did not break once. Crazy buggers! After that, we walked around the massive complex and peaked in at the brand new soon to be opened Universal Studios. Apparently, we missed the grand opening by a week, but you could see through the gate a giant state of the art roller coast and several other cool rides. The addition of Universal to the already impressive Sotosa Island will definitely boost Singapore’s tourism. There are many tourist that do visit Singapore, but the city is known to be an airport hub for tourist traveling to and from other destinations. The last and final day can and went pretty quick as we took the bus downtown for one last look before flying out in the evening to Phuket Thailand. We took a stroll down the popular waterfront area and visited the oldest temple in Singapore, then headed back to our residence for our luggage.
In reflection, we all really liked the city Singapore and we will always remember its cleanliness and the awe of the city sites, the friendly people, the very hot weather and of course, the pink dolphins.