Singapore exploring: 1/3/17
(Sorry about the font color, I think this site is completely buggy now, and I'm working on an alternative for my next trip.)
I finally arrived in Singapore, got my luggage, sped through immigration, and now I had to catch a shuttle to our hotel. In theory this was an easy thing to do. Before the trip I looked up if there was wifi in the airport (yes) and the transportation offered to hotels (yes). I needed to get in touch with the rest of my family who flew in from Arizona about 8 hours before, to meet them at the right place.
The wifi thing worked out okay, eventually I jumped through all the hoops and connected. I let Braeden know I made it there and I was heading in their direction soon. Braeden and my dad have unlimited 3G for most countries around the world, so technically they can contact me anywhere, but I wouldn't receive it, because I have old fashioned wifi only.
Anyway. I find the shuttle counter and ask to get on the next one. They run every 15 mins and drop off passengers to most major hotels downtown. It's S$9. Oh they don't have a shuttle running until 45 minutes from now? And the ride will then take over an hour? Right. Rethinking my plan.
I find a place to sit in the airport to talk with Braeden and my dad while I figure something out. I think they are asking some locals (since they're out shopping) and they tell me which train (subway) station is closest to the hotel, since I can take that directly from the airport.
While I'm sitting, I take out my hidden chocolate bar from my suitcase and eat some, which gives me the energy to move on. I'm very very tired and thinking slowly. I didn't expect to have to navigate subway systems across a city, I expected to get on a bus and then doze till they dropped me off. But really of all the things to go wrong, this was a nice option. My planes to get there were all on time and I had no mishap in any of the legs prior to arriving. I could do this.
After a few trips up and down escalators, realizing I needed a bit do Singapore Dollar to ride the train, oh ATMs are on that floor? The wifi doesn't work on this other floor? And all the while keeping my family updated of my progress when I could....
I withdrew S$10, The least amount allowed. The next day we were leaving Singapore on the ship and I didn't want to be left with a bunch of currency I had no more use for. (The shuttle would have taken my credit card.) I say goodbye to Braeden and co. Estimating a time to meet them at the Somerset station near the hotel, and lost wifi reception as I stepped onto the platform. A station attendent helped me break my high bill into smaller bills and coins in order to purchase my ticket, and then he told me I only needed to make two transfers. I blearily braced myself for this adventure, and took off.
I've navigated subway systems in a dozen major cities in the world, so I wasn't out of my element. I like them better than public busses because they are consistent and faster. This train system in Singapore was one of the best I've been on. My ride including the transfers took close to an hour. My transfers ended up being very simple, and I caught a lull in rush hour so it wasn't crazy squished. Remember, I had my large backpack and suitcase with me, which makes public transportation less desirable.
There are lots of clean laws here. There is a S$500 fine for eating or drinking on the train. S$1000 fine for smoking in the area. And you cannot chew gum in public. So the result of this is a beautiful and clean environment. We couldn't even find more than a couple public trash cans on the street. Because I suppose you're less likely to have trash if you don't have food or drink with you.
I arrive at Somerset and it's in this huge mall. Braeden and I made a deal that we would wait at the end for a while, but if there were separate exits (as there often are in subways) then we agreed to meet at the actual hotel a few blocks away. I was crossing all my fingers I could find them at the station.
I wandered around the mall that I exited into, pulling my big teal suitcase trying to be as obvious as possible to catch their attention....decided to try connecting to the mall wifi so I could tell them I was here...but it didn't work....finally! I spotted them! Looked like I was just in time too. I was so happy to see all three of them across the world. They had the more interesting of trips to get to Singapore, and not entirely in a good way. I think we were all relieved to be collected and at the end of the hardest part of the trip.
Well. That was a lot more than I meant to write. I'm currently writing this on the cruise ship because I fell asleep at 9 last night and woke up at 5. I ordered tea to be delivered to the room at 7:30 though, so I'm trying to pass the time. It's going by slowly by the way. And I'm writing this sans caffeine.
So! What did we do in Singapore for the rest of the afternoon? All that crazy fun stuff took until about 3:30pm I think. That morning they had bought tickets to see a few attractions in the area. The Gardens on the Bay. I hope I'll be able to include pictures in this post, but if not, I uploaded a ton to Facebook before I left the hotel wifi range.
Unfortunately I don't know much about what we are seeing because I didn't do my usual proper research for this Asia trip. Too short notice and working over the holiday. But I implore you to look up the history of some of these beautiful things along the way.
I think these two green houses The Cloud Dome and Flower Dome are the biggest in the world...if I remember my glance at a sign directly. They are massive, and while it seems like just a big dome with plants in it, rather lame sounding- it is absolutely not. It's one of the most beautiful places I've seen. There are probably a few hundred types of exotic flowers alone, ones I'd never heard of. The environment was a pleasant cool temperature which was a nice break from the 90 degrees with 60% humidity (my humidity guess) outside. It took a few hours for us to go through both domes and take everything in. I highly recommend this place if you happen to be swinging my Singapore, even if it's just a day layover.
The sun set while we finished the Domes, and then we continued to the huge Flower Statue Things. (<--See, research.)
They lit up in all different colors, which I hope to show in a picture here because there's no way to describe it properly. Also the Marina Bay Sands hotel was lit up right behind us, a massive iconic structure that I'd never heard of before. After we wandered through the giant flowers and the suspended bridge above them, we continued to the Sands to walk through it and to the lake on other side. I don't know the specs of this hotel (I have no way of looking anything up now) but it was probably a couple hundred stories high....? I'd like to know how much a room costs. It's even $23 to just check out the roof area as a guest. And get this, attached to the hotel on the other side, is one of the biggest malls I've ever seen. Not necessarily in size, but in money. There was every single expensive name brand store I'd ever heard of, and dozens more. Let's see if I can remember them. Prada, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Burberry, Eddie Bauer, Jimmy Chu (?), See I can't even name more than that because I personally shop at Goodwill. But I think there's probably 50 stores there, all that level of holy-shit expensive. I felt like I was in a movie, because I've never seen real stores like that. Which made sense to the kind of guests who would stay at that hotel.
Are you tired of reading this yet? Cause by this time I was basically a roaming zombie. 9:30 at night and I went here directly off the plane.
I'll fast forward to the next morning. We finally went to sleep about midnight and I woke up at 7:30, pretty refreshed finally. I love sleeping in a bed more than an airplane seat.
Now we had a few hours till hotel checkout and when we had to be on the ship, the Norwegian Star. What does one do? Well Roshani got her nails done, and while she did that, Braeden, my dad, and I all got reflexology foot massages. Let me tell you, it was amazing. It was an hour long but I would have signed up for five. Also, it's painful if you have crap wrong with your body. We got to see a chart with all the corresponding pressure points. Basically they work on your feet which detoxes your body, so like any massage you need to drink lots of water after, to avoid collection of the stuff now circulating in your veins.
Braeden's masseuse was the only English-speaking person there, and we all talked to him about various things, about their jobs and how the economy is doing. All the while Braeden is suffering from his massage. ;) apparently my yoga helped because I didn't receive any "hitting" on my calves or bottom of my feet like my dad and Braeden did.
Right before this, while we waited for them to open, an Indian woman sales-guided us to her clothes shop across the hallway, and they guys tried on cool shirts while Roshani bargained like a pro. It was very entertaining.