We chose Singapore Airlines for our flight to this extraordinary city state as a bit of a treat, we could have flown cheaper but thought that for such a long flight, a bit more comfort would be nice. This turned out to be an excellent decision, from check-in to arrival they were excellent and as it transpired a precursor for what we would encounter on arrival.
Despite being aware of all the hyperbole I was still blown away, this really is a most striking of cities. The almost unbelievable verdant lushness of the tree lined green spaces amidst the omniscient commercial dynamism beneath cloud popping architecture alone would be impressive but it’s clear here that this has been applied with genuine creativity and flair. I get the impression that the brief to the architects and designers is to create world class designs and not solely to pamper to the customers egos as I suspect happens in other places.
Jane and I had a wonderful few days here exploring some amazing modern architecture including the bay gardens with its huge glass domes and some of the old, Little India and China Town that probably have not altered for a century or more. We ate some of the best food on the trip so far and the two of us even managed to have a slow dance, alone on the beautifully illuminated waterfront to the music of a nearby band. All this and romance too!
To bring me back down to terra firma, yesterday I caught a little sun stroke, it’s bloody hot here and being the plonker that I am, over did things and ended the day completely drained. This was not good as we had to cross town with all our stuff to catch the night train to Kuala Lumpur. To make things worse, the train companies website had crashed and we could not get proof of our reservations booked on line earlier.
Jane was a star, all I wanted to do was sleep, she stepped up and made sure that we got to the train with time to spare, some snacks and water and most importantly a train ticket! When we eventually got on to the train and located what we thought were our two berths, her last task was to successfully negotiate with the train guard “Zero” (who we named after the young lobby boy in the movie, Grand Budapest Hotel) before flaking out on her bunk, a job well done.
It was interesting to note the contrast between our splendid arrival courtesy of the national airline with our slightly chaotic and lackluster departure via the national railways. Despite all of the gloss and glamour of the city, for the not so wealthy including the Malaysian commuters and of course the back packers there remains a special piece of post colonial history; grubby trains, soulless buildings, dispassionate officials and of course Zero!
Singapore is truly a wonder of the modern world, it’s very hard to fault it, it may have an authoritarian government (democratically elected!) but for most people (Singaporeans) it appears to offer rewards for hard work with an element of security whilst encouraging creative enterprise. So glad we choose to come here.