Where we are
Singapore city, a place I'd previously only thought about as a stopover en route to the other side of the world. However, Hanna's insistence it is the only city she has ever liked made us reconsider and arrange to stay several days to explore. Very glad we did, because what we found was a city that just works - the transport, the food, the shiny malls, all of it ticked over perfectly and resulted in a pleasant and hassle free introduction to South East Asia that laid to rest any fears of a repeat of the struggle that was backpacking round China a decade ago.
Ultimately Singapore is a little too clean and sterile for my tastes. I like my cities a bit more down and dirty (oh, London, I miss you!), though here Greg and I disagreed, but we did agree we'd be totally happy if I ever got posted here for 6 months. It'd be an easily exotic and vibrant place to live.
Where we stayed
The rumours that accommodation here is expensive were not exaggerated in the least, so we sought out the joys of airbnb again and found ourselves staying in the 'Tiffany Suite', a beautiful apartment decorated just like a Tiffany box. Rick, the super friendly and extraordinarily well dressed owner, had perfectly matched the eggshell blue shade and finished the entire place off as near to a 5* hotel as he could. It was nice to stay in a more residential area of town, too.
What I read
'Betterness: Economics for Humans' by my favourite Harvard Business Review blogger, Umair Haque. I wish every business leader in the world were forced to read this.
What we listened to
Rick had an Apple TV, so aside from catching up on 3 months of Equals3 on YouTube, I excitedly realised you could listen to NPR via iTunes podcast. We also found the Freakonomics podcasts really interesting. New subscription added.
What we imbibed
A traditional Singaporian breakfast at Killiney's Kopitiam where we ate french toast with soft boiled eggs and drank our first cups of Kopi, the sweet and delish Singaporian version of coffee.
Singapore slings and peanuts at Raffles Long Bar, because sometimes you have to do the touristy thing. And also they were very, very nice. Greg got quite giddy, but refused to be taken advantage of in Tiffany's next door.
Dim Sum at one of the huge mall food courts. Nothing like the sad and pathetic affairs in British shopping centres, these courts were tasty and giant.
The famed chicken rice at Chatterbox (Top of the M). After Lonely Planet talked it up, I was underwhelmed by the generic nature of this place.
What we did
Got overwhelmed by the shiny shiny, compounded a million fold by the Christmas lights, along Orchard Road. It cured me of my shopping mall aversion post-Sydney, by just being amazing and glitzy and beautiful and full of things I wish I could afford/fit in my backpack.
Found the only bustling and slightly grubby part of town, just to reassure ourselves Singapore was real and not some giant hologram, in Little India.
Visited the gorgeously decorated, like a giant doll's house, Peranakan Museum to learn about the culture of the city and surrounding area.
Took the Lonely Planet's walking tour of the Colonial District, along the Quays and over the Helix Bridge to the newest shiny place, Marina Bay Sands.
Saw The Hobbit (OH MY DAYS! SQUEE!) at the smuggest cinema ever invented, the new 'Couple's Cinema' at Golden Village. It only has two person loveseats, generously spaced out for privacy, for cuddling on in all your couple-y smugness.