Hi Mum, I’m in Singapore

Singapore, like Hong Kong, is a pretty weird place. Lucky we were adequately prepared.

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We spent just a couple of days here, smack bang in the middle of the Chinese New Year holiday. This meant that (presumably) ordinarily bustling areas such as Little India, Chinatown and Arab Street were mostly deserted.

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Except for occasional roaming bands of lion dancers.

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Of course, we hit the ground eating. I’ve surprised myself by adapting to savoury breakfasts pretty easily, mostly curries and breads. The rest of the food has been pretty great too. This is a good point at which to thank our friend Vanessa (who is spending the year studying here) for taking us out for an evening of dumplings and cocktails at the cheesy alcoholic Disneyland that is Clark Quay.

So why is Singapore weird? Well, we’ve found it difficult to get a handle ont he place. There are so many ex-pats and so many luxury shops and hotels that it feels a bit like the pulse of the city is measured in dollars and cents. That obviously works well for the place, but I suspect it’s not something that will draw us back very effectively. Unless, of course, we get to stay at the wonderfully opulent Raffles Hotel. In that case, I suspect that I wouldn’t get away with wearing ‘backpackers’ clothes’ – flowing dresses and linen suits would be required when taking high tea in the salon or cocktails on the lawn – the signature Singapore Sling being a relative steal at SGD29 a pop. It’s all quite silly and terribly old-fashioned, but it’s strangely seductive.

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