a blog about the cultural experiences my husband and I have because of our work abroad...what's delightful and beautiful about different countries and cultures...what we have learned from living and working in countries other than our home country...and how those experiences have changed us

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Singapore 2.0

Our second trip to Singapore was twice as long and a whole lot more fun. After a day at Raffles Hospital for follow up tests for Stephen, we spent the rest of the time relaxing and enjoying the city.
One of the great things about Singapore is the mass transit system. We took the subway from the airport to our hotel for $2.40 Singapore dollars each, which is $1.91 US dollars each. We only had to change trains once and it was a lot easier, faster and definitely cheaper than a taxi.
Our first hotel was The Porcelain that I booked after reading almost two dozen customer reviews in which nearly every person wrote that the rooms were too small.:) But for Stephen and me square footage is not the most important quality of a space. We are definitely fans of creatively designed small spaces. Like the Citizen M hotel in Amsterdam or the model apartments in IKEA. From the information I could glean online, I suspected the The Porcelain was in this category. Turns out I was mostly right.
There was a lot I really liked about our room: comfortable bed, soft lighting, rain shower head, iridescent tile, great air conditioner. And the location of the hotel was in Chinatown just minutes from the Chinatown subway station so we had quick easy access to the whole city.
Our first meal in Singapore was a feast of Chinese food. Authentic Szechuan food is super spicy. We ordered "less spicy" but everything still came packed with red chilies  Our eyes were watering and our noses were running but we willingly suffered through because the food was so delicious! :)
Singapore is a great walking city. As soon as we dropped our bags off at the hotel, Stephen and I set out walking. It just felt great to get out and about. This is another thing I love about Singapore: lots of clean open sidewalks.
Singapore is still hot and humid, the typical high is about 87 degrees fahrenheit year round, so not quite as hot as Cambodia but walking around is a lot less treacherous. Plus there are whimsical and interesting features like these benches.
And these water features.
The Marina Bay Sands Hotel is a landmark for the city. (It's the one that looks like three buildings connected at the top by a spaceship type thing.) The top is a skypark with a huge infinity pool.  The giant lotus looking structure in the lower left of the photo is the ArtScience Museum. Connected to the hotel is a shopping center and we went there to eat several times. At one restaurant we ordered the "Mediterranean Platter". So many flavors and all delicious.
There are many shopping malls in Singapore and I did a bit of shopping in our first few days. Shopping is hard work so we made sure to refuel with bubble tea often. :)
In Singapore you get to choose your sugar level. Stephen and I both chose 20%. :)

When it was time to do some laundry, Stephen found a laundromat in Chinatown that was about a 5 minute walk from the hotel. It was so awesome to have our clothes cleaned by good commercial machines! I tell you, after 2 years living in Cambodia, these are the things I appreciate!
I also appreciate first world coffee shops and for breakfast a couple of mornings we went to either Starbucks or Tully"s.
Coffee shops are where I like to journal and Stephen reads. Plus I like hot coffee better than iced coffee and it's much more pleasant to drink hot beverages in the air conditioning. :)

Starbucks had two stores on Marina Bay and one morning we walked to the one furthest from our hotel because outside the first one we came upon was wall to wall groups of Korean and/or Japanese tourists all wearing matching shirts. It was madness. When we walked back later that morning there were still tons of people around the MerLion fountain.
We even went to a couple of new movies in an actual theater during our trip to Singapore. I love going to the theater and these ones had really nice seats. But it was freezing in those theaters. Before going to the second movie I remembered to put a jacket in Stephen's backpack!
Singapore is great in the evening. A lot of people work really long hours so they like to go out late after the workday is done for drinks and food. The temperature cools off and the lights are are so pretty and reflecting off the water. It just feels really relaxed and pleasant. We loved it.
Stephen had a dark ale like he likes and we ordered some chicken wings, real pub fare in an Asian setting.

For the second half of our trip we stayed in a different hotel called Studio M in one of their loft rooms. We booked it because we thought by that time we'd feel more like resting than exploring the city so we wanted a nice space with a good view.
We did rest a bit more because our hotel room was so nice and comfortable but we still did plenty of exploring. Singapore has a number of amazing and beautiful parks and gardens. I filled nearly a whole 16GB disk with pictures from these wonderful green spaces and accumulated quite a bit of reference material for artwork! Yay! In my next post I'll share some of the fun shots I got and how lucky the people living in Singapore are to have these places to go to in their city.

1 comment:

  1. As always - very interesting! Hope Stephen is doing well. LOVE the toilet in the shower. I always thot that would be a space saver - but how do they keep the paper dry?
    I don't know why this posted to your blog back in January - sorry!