Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Sim-gapore


 

 Oh bliss. The bed in the apartment is wonderful. A wide memory foamed mattress and soft white  clouds for pillows. There is even a TV in the bedroom. For us who have not had a TV for a couple of years this is luxury beyond our dreams (even though we got fed up of channel hopping and turned it off). We can now for the first time in weeks go to the toilet without getting our feet wet from bloody wet room showers.

 Sat in a restaurant and talked to a couple of Singaporean children who turned out to be 32 and 39. They all look so young here is depressing. I am guessing its a plumping out fo the skin due to the excessive moisture in the air.

 Singaporeans are scared of dogs. We are looking after a really fat little cocker spaniel with a podgy face, big eyes, and closely cropped golden hair that waddles when it walks.Bella (as in as round as a bella) is friendly and well behaved and so docile that the birds aren’t even scared of this animal yet we have had extra-ordinary reactions from the natives. These Range from crossing the road, standing to the side with bag defensively positioned between them and the dog and one woman who actually screamed, looked either direction then ran away whilst checking she wasn’t being pursued. All very funny especially the dirty looks they give you for taking a wild beast amongst them – I feel like a Highwoods thug with his Staffy!!

This is ‘Sim City’ incarnate. For those who do not know what I mean – Sim City was a popular computer game where the player constructed a city from ground up – buildings, power, water, refuse collection, amenities etc. The object was to create a utopian environment for the population to live in. Anyway this looks and feels like that game. The avenues are wide and tree lined, the parks are manicured with excellent facilities, the buildings are clean and new with some stunning examples of architecture (Marine Bay Sands – a £4bn 2500 room hotel and casino whose three towers soar with curved grace to an elegant plinth spanning the towers in which has been created the lush green environment of the Skypark being a prime example), the shops are full and trendy (not a pound shop in sight), the people are healthy, toned and all seem to have at least one of the latest phones or pads, cars are new, mid-range and shiney, there are loads of covered walkways to protect the citizens from rain or sun and the traffic is minimal and quiet. The cabbie told us when we arrived that this was “a fine city-  because they fine you for everything” – littering $500, chewing gum is not allowed, throwing a cigarette butt could cost you $200, you cannot eat or drink on the spotlessly clean, far reaching and efficient transport system that is the MRT (metro) and failure to do so, you guessed it, incurs a fine. The parks have paths for walking with directional indicators on the tarmac so as to avoid bumping into an oncoming citizens should it ever get busy enough to do so - which it won't because they all seem empty. They also have another path for bikes and skaters. There are designated seats for the elderly or infirm on trains, buses and in public areas, there seems to be no drunkenness (probably due to the excessively expensive cost of alcohol) and selling drugs will get you executed. All in all, if you are a law abiding citizen and are willing to tow the line (only a little) then Singapore offers everything you need. People do behave, it is sanitised, it is soulless but it is safe, pleasant and quite magnificent – it is the Stepford wife of cities.

We are here in the rainy season so every day big clouds roll in and it rains sometimes sporadically other times for longer. Mostly it is very humid in the morning then the rain cleans the air a little then it starts again. Rachel read that the lowest recorded temperature was 19 degrees and the hottest 36 degrees with the average whilst we have been here being about 28 in the day and 23 at night.

So far the highlights of Singapore have been shopping in the supermarket which was hellishly expensive, we spent a day in the newly opened Universal Studios which was great fun with the Battlestar Galactica (Cylone track) ride being the most exciting ride I recall ever going on. It snowed on the New York street set and Rachel almost wet herself with fear in a 4D cinema experience that featured, at one point, loads of spiders. Universal like Disney do theming like no one else and irrespective of age it never fails to impress and we left amidst twinkly music feeling all lovely.
We also discovered on our rambling in part of the Chinese gardens at Singapore has the largest Turtle and Tortoise collection in the world so we wiled away an hour or so stepping over greedy turtles wanting feeding, avoiding snapping turtles wanting biting and looking at dozens of other turtles in compounds and aqauriums – There are some weird looking turtles with the badge of honour, in my book, going to the snake head turtle whose head and neck extended as long as its 10 inch body and did look like a snake.

We are housesitting a lovely apartment and the very friendly fat, greedy dog for 25 days. WeThe apartment is on the 15th floor of a swanky little development of 7 towers in the Lakeside district. It is spacious with three beds, large lounge/dining area, kitchen, various toilets and 3 terraces which overlook the city all around. The tower complex is equipped with a gym, little putting green, swings and slides for kids, public BBQ stations with sinks and seats (BBQ cleaned afterwards by complex cleaners – result!), pleasant walkways and hedge maze, saunas, library, three tennis courts, a community centre and two large fabulous pools with surrounding tables, chairs and recliners for the tenants use. We feel we are living the life and are loving having the luxury of our own place and a place that is so luxurious. BAnd having a dog again is nice. Bella needs walking a few times a day but is not that keen on the walking (and definitely not running) and more interested in getting home to get a treat. That said she is friendly and well behaved.

Today was spent visiting a couple of visas from Burmese and Vietnamese embassies, nosing a round a few of the poshest, most opulent roads in the island where the individually designed palaces ranged from ultra modern glass cubes to others that resembled the white house. All stuffed with very expensive cars behind their high gated walls. After that we sauntered down Orchard Road - The Regent street of Singapore - Except this makes Regent street look like a slum. Wide pavements, all bedecked with Christmas splenddour, huge flashy buildings and again all spotlessly clean - did not even see a cigarette but the whole length of this long road. We had the poshest and tastiest kebab from the poshest and swankiest buger van outside Louis VItton and watched the crowds (well handful) of people walk by until it poured down with rain and drove us away. Finished off a lovely day with gym and swimming in the empty lamplit pool before getting dinner from a local food vendor.
More as it happens.....

1 comment:

  1. Sounds bloody terrible, will you get away with walking around like you are, won't they arrest you or something for being scruffy Herbert's? As I said in my earlier blogs you could full in a tub of nasty stuff and come out smelling of roses!!!!! Well done you. Looking at the pictures, Chris, I should keep up the gym sessions as much as you can!!! Cheers

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