I escaped from Fortress New Zealand aboard Singapore Air. They have some good service – when the snacks tray comes around you can have as many as you like! The in-flight entertainment was ok, but my headphones only worked if I held the cable at a certain angle. I arrived in Singapore about 2030 local time, and was fine until I left the train station, where I left the air-conditioning for the first time. Ugh! I headed to Little India:
Lonely Planet recommended the Inn Crowd, but it was full (no room at the inn!) so I went to 28 Dunlop. Frangrance Hotel has shut down. 28 Dunlop charges $28/night including breakfast and a towel. I woke at about 0300 local time and could hardly sleep. Breakfast wasn’t laid on until 8 so I went for a run. Madness. It’s very humid and already hot, even at 6am. I went to Fort Canning Park, where some other idiots were also working out, and they have a small fitness park with a chin up bar, shoulder press and sit-up station. On returning to the hostel I found that Singaporean breakfast involves cake. This is an excellent idea that should come to NZ.
After that I set out to Fort Canning again. There’s a lot there – a spice garden, where you can sample fresh peppercorns and cinnamon,
an old army barracks, numerous heritage trees, an archaeological dig, and a wedding registry. This has a handy notice:The main attraction at Fort Canning is the Battle Box, the WW2 Command Post. After the war it was sealed, and when they reopened it in 1989 it was full of water and had a motorcycle in it?! It was restored in the 1990s. It’s worth a look – some of the original pieces are left, like the pneumatic tubes and comms gear.
The scene where the British decided to surrender has been recreated with waxworks from Madam Tussaud’s, and has an accompanying audio.
Outside there are various ‘art’ installations of varying merit. But I did like these:
I headed across to the National Museum of Singapore. This is in a restored heritage building and has a large permanent exhibition about Singapore’s development. Allow 2-3 hours. It has no interpretation panels – you receive a small computer and enter reference numbers in to it to access information and an audio commentary. I found that a bit annoying since I could read much faster than the commentary. The pieces are well-selected and give a visitor a good overview.
Some of the more interesting exhibits:
They also had a display on technology and business, which had these:
The short term displays were about Singaporean food and film. The food one was quite interesting – they had selected the 6 dishes that exemplified Singaporean cuisine. Can you imagine the same thing in NZ? A display all about the tan square? The film exhibit had some wonderful costumes from Chinese opera:
I then bimbled up to the Arab District.
This is full of people selling fabric and carpets. I saw some fabric for $25 and thought ‘That’s expensive!’ before realising it was the price for the fabric and tailoring. They also have a big ol’ mosque:
From there it was on to the night markets. But on the way I saw the Park View building.
Anyway, on to the night market. I went to the one at Bugis and it was filled with people selling souvenirs (keyrings, magnets, t-shirts and statuettes) and clothes.