Singapore Day 1
Because our room had no windows we had no idea what time it was. I woke up at 7am concerned it may be midday already! We were ready for the day and planned to walk around the river where we were staying at Clarke Quay. Getting outside we realised it was very humid but also raining. Walking 100m down the road we came across this unnamed unmarked little cafe which we later discovered was called Ronin cafe. We stopped for breakfast as it was about 9.30am by then. Lew had a hot chocolate and sourdough toast for breakfast and I had some homemade granola with soy milk. It cost us $25 and we discovered that majority of places won't take credit cards despite the info desk at the airport telling us they would. Luckily we had some cash left over from yesterday and used that. Leaving Ronins cafe after sneakily brushing our teeth in the bathroom we realised it was still raining. We decided to try find an ANZ cash machine since we now knew our credit cards weren't going to be much use in majority of places. We located one in around Raffles place and took the MRT (Mass rapid transit station) there. Now it was pouring down and we had no umbrellas, only rain jackets to protect us. We walked in circles trying to find it with no luck.
Giving up we walked back to check out Raffles Hotel and luckily the rain had settled by this point. We decided to pass on trying the famous Singapore Sling provided by the bar at the hotel for a whopping $30pp. Also noticing the Singapore Grand Prix was starting on the 15th of September and they were preparing most of the streets down on the harbour front for this. Unfortunately we leave on the 13th so will miss all the excitement. Down on the harbour front we chose to check out the city from the water with a river cruise. They only took cash so we were a bit delayed as we went to find an ATM from the nearby mall. From the point we left - Esplanade Jetty we were the only people on the boat. We were hopeful it would stay like that but when we got round the harbour a littler further we picked up another 10 or so people outside the Fullerton Hotel. The plan to fly the drone off the back was no longer an option and we went to hang out on the front of the boat instead. The city was very beautiful from the water with its older looking district Clarke Quay, the multiple bridges, new shopping districts and the Old Hill Street Police Station from war times that has now be converted into the Ministry of Communications and Information. The boat ride took about 40 minutes and cost us $25 each. Certainly not as cheap as the $1.20 ride to Gili Meno but well worth it for the overview of the city.
Post boat tour we walked aimlessly towards the nearest train station only to work out that this one didn't have the correct line to get us al the way out to Tan Kay Kee where there was a highly recommended Japanese/Hawaiian Burger joint called Little Hiro. Coming above ground from the MRT we could tell it was definitely a posh neighbourhood with many flash cars driving past. Lunch was pretty average - Lew had a Waikiki burger and I had the karaaage chicken. Certainly wasn't worth the effort to get all the way out but it was a really cute family owned business and the women did make the effort to leave the counter and take everyone's trays and also to ask us where we were from. She was actually the one to recommend the Botanical Gardens which we were now walking distance from.
The Botanical Gardens in Singapore are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are SO SO big we could never get around it all. The flowers and plants were all very lush and well cared for. However, it was stinking hot and we struggled to stay there for more than half an hour. Any longer and I think we would have both needed to swim in their man made eco pool which I can imagine is illegal ! Dropping by a local supermarket we were planning on picking up a lot of snack food and breakfast for the next couple of day. Although the average prices of food were far more than the average price in NZ we decided against breakfast items. We found some NZ apples but instead of $3.25 per kg they were that cost for only three apples! Buying some bananas, cheap crackers, lemon iced tea and something that possibly is dried salted chickpeas we planned to drop it back to our hotel.
Freshening up, we ditched Lews camera bag and walked to Clarke Quay to look around. Food, food, bars, nightclubs and more food was what we discovered. We were amazed and slightly horrified at the live seafood they had on show in front of some of the restaurants. Surely the crabs must know it's only a matter of time before they are boiled alive. There was even some very large NZ lobsters in the tanks
After walking around in the heat for about 1.5 hours it was coming up 6.30pm and we were planning to get all the way out to the Dakota station where we could walk to one of the more famous hawker centers called Old Airport Road. It was an older building that looked quite run down but was full of people buying dinner at this time and the rows and rows of food stores we packed. They were mainly variations of Asian food with the occasional western joint in amongst them. We walked cluelessly up and down the isles assessing what each person in front of the stalls was eating. One Japanese stall caught our eye and we came back to order teriyaki chicken and also a pepper beef meal which came sizzling on a hot plate accompanied by rice and miso soup. All of this for $12.
Lew had also noticed a juice bar further down and we nipped in to grab a strawberry banana milkshake and a strawberry soursop juice for $6. So for a total of $18 we had a huge meal between us, cheaper than Indonesia in fact!
Feeling very exhausted we thought we should call it a day and set about catching the right combinations of trains to get us to Clarke Quay where we could walk 5 minutes to the hotel. We did some planning for the following day - our final day in Singapore before heading to sleep.