Passing the border into Singapore was not so easy. I was first given a very suspicious look by the woman at the immigration counter and asked a series of questions about my trip. Then taken into a room where I was asked the same questions plus some more personal ones which started to get me quite frustrated as they wouldn’t tell me what the problem was. Just procedure they tell me. I couldn’t even begin to make up a reason why, other than just wasting time. I was finally let through though and made my way into the city.
It was immediately apparent how modernised Singapore was. And another level to the rest of Asia. I stopped by the nearest petrol station and was welcomed by a whole range of home comforts. Including sandwiches which it seems are quite rare in Asia. I stocked up and headed for the hostel.
My first evening in Singapore I met with an old friend of my sisters who has lived in Singapore for a while, she took me to the Singapore version of the famous Meat Liquor chain of restaurants which is a big favourite of mine in London. It serves up Barbequed meat and Craft Beer and this one was no different, except maybe the price of Beer which was £10 a pint. A bonus, however was the 90’s hip-hop which added to the little taste of home I always appreciate. Thanks Kath!
I stayed in the Little India part of town which was a great area to be in. The Indian across the street served up one of the best Tikka Masalas I have ever had the pleasure of getting my chops around and the Orchard Road area of little India is a wonderfully colourful collection of Peranakan style houses painted in bright primary yellows, oranges, blues and greens.
The other side of the city is Marina Bay which represents the super modern and stylish part of Singapore. The futuristic grandiose architecture of the Marina Bay Sands hotel stands at the forefront of the city skyline here including the Art – science museum and the gardens by the bay. I went by the Gardens in the evening and lay down on one of the grassy areas where I enjoyed a mesmerising sound and light show.
While in Singapore I headed to the nearest bike shop to get my back wheel fixed (again). 2 spokes would need replacing. Whilst chatting to the guy in the repair shop about possible routes though Java he pointed out that the Hub on the back wheel was cracked. Very bad news. This would mean a new hub or even a new wheel. The shop did not have the right size (same old story). Besides it would probably cost an arm and a leg to get a new one. After some conversation over my options, I decided I was just going to go for it and see how far I could get. The crack wasn’t huge so it was a possibility it could make it. It could cause other problems along the way though. I will have to suck it and see. To be continued.
I had 4 excellent days in Singapore but it was time to catch the ferry to Indonesia. I would have to get a short fast ferry to Batam Island then a 29-hour slow ferry to Jakarta. I had booked 3rd class on the ferry and had read stories about the conditions but these stories are usually overblown. There’s only one true way to find out…