Off To Singapore: Day 1 – Excited on Arrival!

I don’t think that I’ve been this excited for a holiday since my honeymoon. We pretty much booked this on a whim because of an excellent deal, which means I have had nearly 5 months of build up in order to plan and to get more and more jazzed. The night before I was just jumping up and down as we finished our packing… you’d think I was a kid going to Disneyland or something.

What’s helped even more with this build up is that I recently got accepted for a new job (finally!) and this holiday is a way for me to escape the negative degree weather caused by ‘The Beast from the East’. Going from below zero to ~30 degrees has already been a bit of a shock to the system.

However, to get to Singapore there is still a 13 hour flight to deal with and an 8 hour time difference to overcome. The flight itself went well as, amazingly, there was no one sitting behind me; therefore I felt entitled to tilt my seat back as far as possible and ended up getting about 5-6 hours of broken sleep. Before this, I managed to do something I didn’t expect.

List Item: Watch all of the “1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die”
Progress: 673/1007
Title: Whisky Galore!
Directors: Alexander Mackendrick
Year: 1949
Country: UK

They actually had a movie from the 1001 list that I had not seen as part of the in-flight entertainment. Not just any film either, a particular odd one when you consider it was one of four classics alongside two Marilyn Monroe films and the weird Frank Capra comedy Arsenic and Old Lace.

I enjoyed this odd film about an isolated Scottish island community and their love/obsession towards whisky. Weirdly enough this was probably a perfect airplane movie as you could just enjoy the farcical nature of it as the trolleys go by offering drinks. I have never seen a film quite like this, which may go a long way to explain this film’s inclusion on the list.

So here we are in Singapore. By the time we got the the hotel it was 7pm on a Sunday which meant we only did a cursory explore and found something for dinner.

One thing that really cemented that this is, in fact, Singapore is their love-hate relationship with durians. On the one hand it is hard to walk far it hour seeing somewhere selling durian sweets, juices, shakes or whole durians. On the other hand… they are banned on the subway and the hotel I’m staying in has a $300 fine in place for people who bring durian into their rooms.

This durian-based duality aside, I’m already loving my limited exposure to Singapore. Our hotel it just north of Chinatown, so it only made sense to head south. I mean with these awesome light-up fruit and dog decorations still on display for Chinese New Year, how could someone not be attracted to walk this way?

On our travels we randomly came across one of Singapore’s many hawker centres. Considering the day and time it was mostly shut, but enough was open to give me serious troubles in deciding what to eat. We must have walked around three times before I finally settled on a booth to buy from.

List Item: Try three quarters of the 1001 Foods You Must Try Before You Die
Progress: 709/751Food item: Laksa Noodle

For $12 we got a bowl of laksa soup, a bowl of mixed meat noodles (I am not even going to think about what was meant by ‘mixed meat’ for these noodles) and two cups of Bandung (think evaporated milk mixed with rose syrup plus plenty of ice). With this I have finally crossed off the last noodle from the food list and got to enjoy these bouncy noodles in their natural habitat.

As nice as the laksa soup was, the real MVP of this meal was the Bandung. Both the soup and the mixed meat bowl were spicy, which meant that this milky rose drink was exactly what we needed to stop the food burn. Something tells me that I’m going to leave Singapore with an even higher spice tolerance than I already have…

And that was pretty much it for our first night. We bought some pastries from a Japanese bakery and watched some Chinese people practice their square dancing before heading back to the hotel. I am acutely aware that, because of all the travel and the time difference, sleep might be a bit weird tonight – so we’ll have to see how it goes.

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