Sunday, February 11, 2007


On my way home from Australia I stopped over in Singapore for three nights. Singapore seems like a nice city but I didn't get to see much of it. While I was there they had their third wettest day in history. Walking outside was like walking through a wall of water. Plus the humidity was high so walking from air-conditioned buildings to the outside air meant everything from sunglasses to cameras fogged up instantly.

Therefore I spent most of my time in doors. That wasn't too bad since I was staying in a hotel and had my own room. After 2 and half months of backpacking and staying in dorms it was really really nice to get into a hotel room. My own room, my own shower, a TV, the ability to leave the light on to read a book or to just sleep-in without being woken up by other people moving around.

Two places I did visit were Raffles Hotel and Sim Lim Square. Raffles is the famous old colonial hotel in Singapore, a room there is well out of my price range but that didnt stop me visiting with my camera and going to the bar for a drink. It has some beautiful old colonial architecture and was larger than I expected with courtyards and outdoor bars. I could have taken lots of photographs but again the rain forced me to stay under cover. Raffles seems to have been built for the rain since there are lots of covered walk ways around the courtyards. Of course when in Raffles I had to visit The Long Bar and try a Singapore Sling. Apparently the cocktail was invented there. It's nice but I don't see myself swearing off beer in favor of drinking slings for the rest of my life. The bar itself is interesting, a little piece of British colonial life in modern Asia. Whatever you feel about British colonialism there is something appealing about the place.

Sim Lim Square on the other hand is heaven on earth for gadget freaks heaven. 6 floors of shops selling all kinds of electronics, gadgets and computers. Things are cheaper but not cheap enough for me to justify some expensive purchases at the end of my holiday. Each floor seems to be dedicated to different categories of electronics, though the lines between each category is a little blurred. There are lots of digital cameras on the ground floor, obviously aimed at tourists. Working up through home electronics and computers the top of the square seems dedicated to components for people who want to build, repair or have repaired, their own computers. If I lived in Singapore I figure I'd spend hours and a large portion of my income in Sim Lim. In the end all I bought was a handy little hard disc enclosure for my old laptop hard disc back at home, didn't really need it but I couldn't leave without buying something.

The rest of my time in Singapore was spent walking around shopping centers and other places that didn't interest me too much but kept me out of the rain and humidity. This isn't really my scene but I imagine some people, mostly women, would love it, though they would probably spend years paying off the credit card bills. A couple of trips outside during dry spells did some beautiful sights such as the buildings in the Arab Quarter.

Singapore did seem like it would have been a nice city when it wasn't raining. Unfortunately its probably not going to be on my list of places to visit again. When I do go back to Australia again I think I'll go via someplace like Tokyo of Thailand. Nothing personal against Singapore, it's just too far away to visit on it's own and there are too many cool destinations that can act as stop overs to justify visiting the same one again.

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