Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Day in Singapore

What the world needs, I thought, is a contest for the grumpiest traveler. With cash rewards.

I had one full day—today—in Singapore. I wanted an early start. But my hostel's free breakfast didn't start until nine, so I stood outside the bar at 8:20, wondering if free toast was worth hanging around for.

Not really. I headed over to the nearest coffee shop, which turned out to be Starbucks. That's all right. I could use my Boingo Asia membership there, the one I'd signed up for back in Tibet when my hotel that "didn't have wifi" actually did, so long as you paid for it.

What I was searching for online was a good travel store in Singapore. With a few clicks, I found half-a-mall-full.

I headed over by metro, but while I found lots of high-tech trekking gear and some tents, I found no travel soap dish.

"Do you know where I could fine one?" I asked a salesman in one of the trekking shops.

"Hawker's Center. Beach Road."

"I don't live here...can you tell me what that means?"

He wrote down some instructions. "Lavender MRT. Beach Road. Hawker's Centre."

That was vague but helpful. I caught the metro to Lavender—and while reading the newspaper over someone's shoulder, learned that a writer was shocked that some vomit had been left uncleaned-up for days—but after wandering around lost, I did find the hawker's center.

Still, no soap dish. They only had the kind with holes in them, which wouldn't help inside my luggage.

Stephanie came by in a taxi and we headed to Tekka Market. I'd read that we might find the fortune-telling parrot there.

We did not. Actually, we were dazzled by all the colorful women's clothing at Tekka Market, and forgot to look for the fortune-telling parrot. But I'm pretty sure that if there had been a fortune-telling parrot there, we would have spotted it. Or rather, it would have found us.

Stephanie and I wandered around a bit, had lunch (more salad!), hunted for a soap dish, then headed back to her apartment to meet her kids and husband.

The whole family is just in Singapore for a few years, on a work assignment. Singapore seems like a great place to go for work, especially because the kids get such a multicultural educational experience.

But the best part?

This view.

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