Singapore, Singapore

Singapore, Singapore

I slept well after my early start yesterday. The bus, despite a jam from an accident, dropped us on Beach Road around 9. We’d lost people at the Malaysian passport office and almost everyone at the Singaporean one. Getting back on the bus was mildly chaotic, but I made it. And thanks to singapore’s helpful signs, showing which road is up ahead, I found the hostel very easily, even though it was a good 20 minutes walk away.

Low, older buildings, preserved on a busy city street
Old shop fronts.

Today I decided to wander round the city, even though I’d run first thing, very tight from yesterday. Heading toward the coast I took. A turn onto the river – Rochor first, then the Kallang. That turned out to be inspired. It was 11, so hot, but there was a breeze by the river, and it was pretty. Almost as good, maybe better; just as I was getting to the two mile point, I spotted a Union Jack. What’s that? Ooh, driver’s name, it’s the F1 pit lane! I ran all the way past, looking up at the Ferris wheel above. The entry for that was round the corner, with a few listless tourists heading in or chilling out as best they could – I’m not sure they knew the pit lane was round the corner, surely someone should be having their picture taken under “Jenson Button” or “Fernando Alonso”. There were barriers around, but not a complete block and I realised yes, I could do this. I turned, onto the corner markings first, then ran right through the pit lane itself. Yes!

Skyscrapers rise above, some way behind, a green park
Mount Emily, looking down.

Lavender street holds my hostel and many many others. It also, to my great pleasure, has a thriving food market, where for $5 (£2.50) you can eat from a huge range. It was still busy at 10pm when I got there last night, and to top my night off I spotted the second half of Tottenham v Everton on the screens. Today I had lunch there then headed down streets with old shop fronts, a big construction site – it’s a well connected city, but they look to be building a huge station right in the middle. I got to Mount Emily park, only to find metal fences and no entry signs. Enforced at gunpoint, according to the sign. Right then. At the top, though, is a national park sign and a small park, with some decent views where you can find them through the trees.

Sign saying protected place, no admittance, with a silhouetted man with hands up, as another points a gun at him
Not in here, buster.

I sat down, then lay down and dozed in between bits of Beowulf. Next thing I knew I was reading but my sunglasses were making it hard to read. So take them off, right? Right, but – that is one dark sky. Time to go! I had been vaguely heading for the Singapore plazas. I became a little less vague. I passed through little India, darker faces and happy Diwali signs abounded. Now the buildings got bigger and needed much more glass. It’s raining, what’s this one? The arts college, nope, next one – right, definitely going in here, it’s going to… Yep, absolutely throw it down. And this is a cinema, that’s what I’m doing now. It was a choice between Thor and Passion so I picked the latter despite having caught up on the first Thor and The Avengers on my travels. The ticket desk more or less insisted on not taking my cash; cheaper with MasterCard, which suits me. I’d kind of forgotten about the card having been in countries that aren’t so keen, but here and post Bali I should have fewer cash calculations to do, hooray. I sat down and after a minimum of ads and just two trailers, it started. With a very dark scene, screaming and wailing and nearly baby death. Crikey, I didn’t expect this. Carrie, came the title. Um, am I in the wrong theatre? I saw the bloke next to me check his ticket, someone else get up and head to the back and then – blessed darkness. They’d spotted it, and were putting the right film on, phew.

Tall, glass-fronted buildings are high by the side of a busy street
Shopping central.

It was odd. Aiming for film noir, I think, which perhaps gives it its peculiar feel and odd characterisation. I think I liked it, or most of it. Definitely arty, and there’s me without the right tools to really place it.

Outside, the rain had stopped and I could really explore the malls and watch the crowds. I took a wide loop round back to the hostel, this time going from skyscrapers to smaller buildings, ending my day with two meals. I’ve a list of things to try from a Singaporean and have today eaten Hokkien mee (Seafood noodles, liked it but a little salty) and Fried kuay teow (also seafood and noodles, egg too, liked it a lot) as I work my way down – and a mango juice from the fantastic stall that is a riot of colourful foods, waiting to be juiced. I took the latter down to the river; Singapore is a great place to see at night, buildings and construction sites lit up in multicoloured glory.

Lights at night
Skyline by night.

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