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  • Writer's pictureJoanna

Singapore Slinger | Singapore

If I ever say that I'm interested in returning to Kuala Lumpur, (which I probably will, because it was truly stunning) please... please... please do NOT let me go near their airport.


Nightmare.


On arrival, I made my way to the self-service check-in kiosk... but each attempt to check in only resulted in denial. It wouldn't print my boarding pass, regardless of the amount of times I tried and which buttons I pressed. The machine kept insisting that the name on my reservation was different from the name on my passport.


Ummmm... nope.


I stood in front of that kiosk, staring at both of them for a considerable amount of time... and they were the same.


The. Same.


That would have been embarrassing to have spelled my name wrong... but I hadn't.


I finally approached a staff member with my blatant disorientation and she directed me over to a long line of people that I had to stand behind to reach to a real, live human and figure it all out. When I reached the front of the line, the check-in officer hardly acknowledged my existence, let alone spoke to me... and unfortunately did not provide me with any insight as to why the machine had refused me, but he did print my boarding pass, so my stress had temporarily diminished...


Boarding pass in hand, off I went to security...


When I reached the front of that queue, a very stern lady stopped me to weigh my carry-on. I'd read this might happen, but I'd tried to slink by inconspicuously. My cunning plan didn't work and she made me remove it on put it on the scale. Jetstar Airlines only allows carry-on luggage weighing less than 7 lbs... and my monstrosity weighed in at over 13.


Shit.


At first, I figured I could just put on a bunch of clothes and transfer some of the weight to my purse. Nope. They weren't having it.


I had to pay.


Double shit.


When they tell you that it's more expensive to pay for check-in luggage AT the airport, they mean it. Off I went to stand in another long line up... only to be directed to another long line... to be charged the inconvenient fee of $67.90 to check my carry-on through.



To add insult to injury, once I'd made it into the departure lounge, I figured I was owed some relaxation... and a lovely glass of wine to accompany my chill time. Well... I had another think coming. Muslim airport... and if there was a drop of alcohol anywhere at all, I wasn't the one who knew where it was. Even the duty-free was stacked full of chocolates, trinkets and perfumes.


Triple shit.


Airports suck. Singapore Airport was another one. After all the hype I'd heard about this world-class service icon and destination, I didn't get to experience any of its luxury or entertainment. It was a feat to escape and we ended up jumping on a random bus in a desperate attempt to find the correct terminal and train to take us into the heart of the city.


I had booked a hostel in Singapore, as it was honestly the only thing I could afford. Prices in this world-class Garden City are not really within my particular price range.


I'd chosen The Galaxy Pods, right in the heart of Chinatown. They just seemed so bizarre... and so cool!


At first, seeing these capsule-style Stormtrooper pods, I was sold ~ hook, line and sinker! There was nothing I wanted more than to have this experience. It was like something right out of Star Wars... my very own private piece of the Millennium Falcon.



Now... yes... I can successfully tick it off my bucket list and say I've been there, done that.


I don't think I would put myself through that torture again. As fun and modern... and novel as it was, it was also cramped quarters and quite claustrophobic. There was hardly room inside for me, let alone any of my personals. I couldn't get the lights to work properly, so had to endure a glowing blue light the entire time. Due to needing oxygen in my space coffin, the ventilation system was on constantly and kept me awake all night with its flow of fresh air. All of it is fabulous for a spaceship... but not so fabulous for me.


As per the norm, I put my shoes on and headed out to explore the city... and the country, I guess I should say... Seems strange to say that, but it's true. City and country. Singapore / Singapore.


I decided the best place to go was the Gardens by the Bay.


What better place to start?



So the Garden by the Bay is a nature park in Singapore that consists of three waterfront gardens. Probably one of the most recognizable photos of Singapore is the Supertrees here. These giants reach 50 metres in height and come alive with lights and music when the sun goes down.


There were so many different types of tickets you could purchase here... and my decision was made hastily... and done mostly on a wing & a prayer. I chose the Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome. The forest was home to the world's largest indoor waterfall and had an aerial walkway that presented a beautiful sunset view of Singapore. I wouldn't classify myself as a real horticulture enthusiast, so I was quite quick walking through, paying little to no attention to the wide variety of some of the world's most exotic plants. There were so many social media fanatics scattered throughout the place that it was difficult to get a good photo unless you stood forever, waiting out the sexy and indifferent poses.


I don't have that much patience...


From there, I walked along the marina boardwalk and past the iconic hotel.



I know this is going to make me sound like a bit of a Swifty... and whatever. I'll admit it - I'm 100% a Taylor Swift fan. If there is more of a percentage to be, then sign me up.


Now... when I say this, it doesn't necessarily mean that I'm fanatical about all of her music. I'm not. I don't own a lot of it, but I fully respect and love that she writes all of it herself. Just looking at how much that girl has accomplished... and continues to accomplish, fills me full of pure admiration. She is an inspiration to all of us, a true inspiration to women all over the world. We should all be applauding this treasure.


There's my Taylor Swift tribute for the day. Thank you for listening.


Anyway... getting back to my original thought... Taylor Swift was in Singapore at the same time as myself, preparing for her Eras concert. Here's me, wandering around the city, a dirty backpacker, taking photos... and she was probably enjoying the infinity pool at the top of the Marina Bay Sands. You must all know that famous hotel! Some people think it looks like a boat atop three pillars, but I think it resembles more of a surfboard.


Can you see her in this photo? ⬇️



My evening stroll led me along the stunning harbour, taking in all the striking colours of the city skyline against the sparkling harbour. I crossed the illuminated Helix Bridge, the 280-metre-long bright, twisting bridge and even stopped to admire the Merlion, the mythical half-fish / half-lion creature that embodies Singapore's history.


The next day, I headed out to hit all the must-sees pinpointed on my Google map. My knee wasn't cooperating as much as I would have liked, but it was fair, considering the miles it had put on both here and in Kuala Lumpur.


I just can't help but think that Southeast Asia has nailed GOAT status in regards to perfecting the use of colour. GOAT status, no doubt about it. Around every corner is a splash of new electrifying colour and unique design. I am fully aware that I've been abusing the words 'vibrant' and 'colourful,' but words cannot do justice here. The radiance of the saffron mixed with gold and purple and flaming crimson... and more.



It's beyond the imagination.


Everything from the luminosity of the buildings to the boutique merchandise... from the engaging street art to the trendy cafés. This dynamic sensation seeps through you and the intensity of it all makes your senses come alive. I kept snapping photographs, desperate to try and capture how vivid and spirited it all was… but failed miserably...

You really must experience it.


I must sing Singapore's praises for a moment, because this country does nothing but astound me... over and over and over again. Seriously - every time I hear something new about this tiny country, it only impresses me more.


Ok, ya... we talk for days about its political stability or low crime rates and excellent transportation... but that's not all! Singapore is a leader in healthcare, education, housing and recreation. It is globally applauded for the positive examples it sets regarding development and diversity. It has perfected community living by eliminating racial tension. Singapore can offer tourists a glimpse into cultures and customs from all parts of Asia


~ You're not allowed to jaywalk.

~ You can't eat on public transport.

~ You can't bring your own cigarettes into the country.

~ You can only smoke in designated areas.


Singapore is also one of the world's greenest cities... Can you get any better???


This city is like the star pupil of the class and Singapore should be giving lessons to other countries.


Seriously.


Singapore should be a life coach.


On top of ALL that... if one can even go higher... of course, you can, this is Singapore, after all. .. this thriving metropolis is impeccably clean. Law officials and the local people of Singapore take cleanliness very seriously and they lead by example in everything they do. Everyone has to do their part.


So...



When one is in Singapore... one MUST drink a Singapore Sling. It would be criminal not to.

Had I been feeling particularly posh, I would have enjoyed this iconic cocktail at the Long Bar, in the Ruffles Hotel, Singapore’s most luxurious and historic hotel.  In 1915, the gin cocktail was invented there by a man named Ngiam Tong Boon... but I didn’t have that much money.  It's a little too mint for me.


I felt awkward even wandering around the front lobby.


What I did do though, was another food tour.


I love food tours... as I think everyone must know, by now. This one was slightly different and had a bit of a twist, which intrigued me. This tour involved using a kick scooter to see the city and enjoy the cuisine. As odd as this might seem, I'd never been on a kick scooter. I thought it might be a fun, breezy and easy way to navigate the city... I was wrong.


It was hard work. To hell with my knee this time, my calves were on fire by the end of the tour.


My guide was a girl who’d once been a lawyer… then left law to open up a hostel… then left that profession to start her own scooter & food tour business. It seemed quite a bizarre chain of professional events… but to each their own. Unbeknownst to me at the beginning, the entire tour was vegetarian.  Although I'm not a veggie, I tried some things that shocked me. So delicious.


Just to pump up Singapore's tires once again, I need to mention the hawker centres. These date back as far as the 1800s, and started in town squares and parks for immigrants setting up their stalls and selling quick, affordable meals on the pavement.


Essentially... street food.


Singapore took these street eat stalls a step further and designed hawkers; open-air, community spaces, to embrace their multicultural heritage. Currently, there are 110 hawkers in the city and they all provide the opportunity to enjoy a diverse number of cultures and culinary traditions.


Pretty cool, eh?


We kick-scootered our way through Little India and the Kampong Glam... Singapore's Muslim Quarter, stopping to taste different things along the way... admire various temples, mosques and street art... learn about the history of the area... and even visit the occasional speakeasy.



Singapore is filled with speakeasies, if you take the time to try and find them. The one we ventured into had a secret entrance hidden behind a condom display... in a mall!


At one point, I picked up the scooter to carry it up a small flight of stairs, and as I did, it swung around and smacked me right at my ankle, temporarily rendering me physically devastated. Rookie mistake... and I wouldn't do that again. In five minutes, I was fully healed and back on my feet again, ready to go. But... the guide then took it upon herself to insist that she carry the scooter up or down any stairs or steps or curbs from then on. It was not a good feeling to be suddenly treated like an incompetent child... and it slightly ruined the rest of the tour for me.


Great... now I'm a liability.


It annoyed me.



So that was Singapore...

... and no, I did not chew gum while I was there. And yes, it is illegal.

You heard that right.



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