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Singa-definitely not Poor!

Singapore, Singapore

One final emotional farewell to our beloved campervan and we zoomed across the ocean to the final continent of our travels – Asia. The flight involved a few stressful moments, the first being that our round the world trip ticket didn't provide us with adequate proof that we would be leaving our first stop in the time allocated by immigration. It was decided after much deliberation that we could book a 'dummy' flight out and then cancel, which we agreed to do, although we were both sceptical about the legality of this. We left New Zealand with no further problems, but arrived in Australia to change flights to be faced with one of THE most unhelpful people we have ever had the misfortune to meet! She kept repeating that the people in New Zealand should have printed us a copy of the new itinerary and we needed to go back and tell them that it was wrong (!) and it wasn't up to her to fix the problem, but didn't seem to comprehend that all she needed to do was simply print out a copy for us. After a long and frustrating struggle where we were both desperately trying not to blow a fuse, she met our demands and we leapt onto the connecting flight with seconds to spare.

The spectacular city of Singapore was to be our first destination. We flew in late, so had time to catch a taxi out of the airport and see the city lights sparkle in the dark, before finding our hostel and settling in for the night...well, settling in after we found that our door didn't lock and the owner had to improvise with a screwdriver!

Our hostel was in the region of Little India which was a fantastic experience. At 5am we awoke to the eerily beautiful sounds of chanting music and later that morning we discovered the origin of these songs as we were greeted with the sight of a spectacular and elaborate mosque.

Our first stop was of course to sample the long awaited food of the East, and Sup had a craving for something spicy. The anticipation was tangible, especially after a full month of eating nothing but eggs, beans and pasta, and the Tekka Centre in Singapore's Little India was about to become Sup's spiritual home. The food was absolutely amazing. We searched every stall within the indoor marquee-style market and indulged in a giant Chicken Biryani served on a banana leaf, with sweet Lassi for Sup and a refreshing Iced Milo for me. It goes without saying that the next day we came back for more and the next stall we chose managed to exceed all expectations – it was an awesome start to our Asian adventures, and we stocked up on Indian sweets too just to seal the deal.

Bellies full, we embarked on our major task for the day, which was to obtain Malaria tablets for the rest of our travels, in particular the high risk regions of Borneo, North Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and areas of Vietnam. What we hadn't noticed was the full to bursting dark clouds overhead, and we were delayed as we waited in a nearby mall as the sky erupted into a full on storm and rain showered down by the gallon with no end in sight.
A rather soggy run to 3 different bus stops finally led us to the right one and we travelled to Orchard Road, the shopping Mecca of Singapore, with more malls in one road than I had seen in my lifetime. It was to become MY spiritual home! We soon forgot all about our dripping wet clothes as we gazed on at the sheer size and magnificence of the malls, and the wealth on display that seemed to rival our Western cities, with powerful
giants like Armani, Gucci and Prada coexisting peacefully with the humble stalls of the Asian street vendors. There was even a full band and singer playing on the ground floor to entertain shoppers! We again sampled more Asian delights and I tried my first Laksa, a coconut curry-based soup with noodles, chicken and prawns that was pure heaven in a bowl.

Buying Malaria tablets turned out to be quite a mission, and involved an impromptu visit to the local Doctor's clinic in order to obtain a written prescription, We then had to find a company who were able to spare an obscene amount of pills as they must be taken every day, and for one whole week after leaving a high risk area. To celebrate successfully completing our task, we decided to go and have some fun so we took a trip on the monorail to Sentosa Island. The island was a cute little tourist resort, and as we arrived early evening the place was illuminated with coloured lights, rather like DisneyWorld. We felt like two kids as we rushed to the Luge to race down a steep track on small toboggan style cars.
To reach the top we rode on a Skylift, similar to a ski lift, and the views across the horizon were immense, while the views below were scarily far below us. Even though we had braved Skydiving just weeks before, I felt my heart and stomach flutter wildly at the sheer height, so the ride turned out to be quite a thrill even before the race! At the top we threw on some helmets and then set off with a group of others – I started to tell Sup not to worry about waiting for me, but he was already gone...careering off down the hill at breakneck speed, overtaking every person in sight with a 'woooohooooo!!' He won the race and by the time I made an appearance at the bottom he had a huge proud grin on his face! I found my success however on the Segway – Sup was a little reluctant, but I was in my element, zooming around the track leaning forwards and backwards as my Segway propelled me along. It was a lot of fun!

On our final day in Singapore we decided to go to the zoo, as we had heard a lot of good things about the conditions of the animals habitats. We were certainly impressed and we both felt it was the best zoo we had ever visited. It felt like we were walking through the rainforest and it was clear that a lot of attention had been made to the overall look of the zoo grounds. All the usual suspects were there,
including Sup's favourite cheeky chimps and my favourite stunning white tigers. The chimps were hilarious and we sat on a bench opposite the pen watching them playfully tease each other and scamper around. We also made feeding time at the giraffe pen and watched these unfeasibly tall graceful creatures reach out for carrots with tongues as long as our arms.

Singapore was an incredible city, a real fusion of Chinese, Indian and Malay culture, with the swagger of Western wealth. Hungry for more Asian delights, we decided to leave the city and all its wonders behind to plunge in at the deep end and fly straight out to Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo for some jungle adventures!

permalink written by  SupandNic on July 28, 2010 from Singapore, Singapore
from the travel blog: Sup and Nic's World Tour!
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After a crazy last month in the UK, hustling at car boot sales and on ebay, spreading joy to charity shops all over Reading and squeezing every last possession into any place we could find, we finally made it out with just one piece of hand luggage each and 2 immense backpacks - Black Thunder,...

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