Dates: 19-21 December 2013

DAYS 46-48: “It finally feels like Christmas…in Singapore” (19-21 Dec)

Those of you who have travelled before and have used busses to navigate from city to city/country to country will know that booking these is taking a bit of a leap of faith. One can be sold a “VIP Luxury” bus ticket and upon arrival be directed to a “chicken bus”… so it’s always with great anticipation/trepidation that we arrive at the bus terminal, as we never really know what we’re going to get. We were pleased to see that our Luxury bus to Singapore (SG) was exactly what it said on the box – our seats reclined 180 degrees, we had our own TV, were served water, breakfast, tea and coffee and had a taste of what flying Business/First Class must be like.

Upon arrival at our hostel in SG, Feel At Home Backpackers, we were fast brought back down to reality. We were shown to our slightly bigger than a matchbox room, started to settle in when Tam was maliciously attacked by a greedy little bed bug… every backpackers NIGHTMARE!!! We brought this to the attention of the authorities and insisted that we be given a new room that had to be fumigated and re-cleaned. They obliged, although begrudgingly, and got to business whilst we showered, washed our hair, painted our faces…all in their communal area and then patiently waited outside. Once the room was ready, we moved our things in and hit the town hoping that it would just be the 2 of us in the bed when we returned that night.

As luck would have it Tam’s friend Shelley had immigrated to Singapore a few days prior to our arrival and was available to show us all that Singapore had to offer. We met Shells at her office and took a wander towards Boat Quay. This is when the fact that it was the 18th of December truly hit us! There were stunning Christmas trees in every office reception, Christmas carols playing in the restaurants, bars and shops…the festive season hit us with vengeance – which was lovely, as we realised how much we had missed the cheer of the season. We started off at Charlie’s in Boat Quay (the equivalent of Canary Wharf for those Londoner’s) and enjoyed some frozen margarita’s. After catching up on all the pressing gossip our hunger took over our capacity for conversation and we headed out to find something delicious yet affordable (Singapore was messing with our budget on a massive scale) to devour. You can imagine our extreme excitement when we came across an Italian restaurant that was offering “all you can drink wine” for S$15. They clearly don’t have too many South African ladies frequenting their restaurant – if they did, they would definitely go under. After polishing off 3 bottles of white “devil” wine and, of course, some food we met up with Tom, Shelley’s other half, and some of his mates for a bit of a razzle (which involved champagne, vodka, tequila and jaeger bombs…oh dear).

Unsurprisingly we had a bit of a late start the next day, although waking up late with a headache was the least of our issues. Starting the day hungover is bad enough… starting the day hungover and then realising you had been devoured by bed bugs was just ridiculous. But we didn’t really have any other option for our last night in SG, other than sleeping on the street, so we had a shower, took a nurofen, applied tiger balm to our bites (those things are ITCHY), put on our big girl panties and got on with our day. But the trauma continued…we walked out the hostel only to discover it was pouring with rain – good thing we’d put our big girl panties on. We made our way to Harbour Place and took the much raved about (and expensive – what a surprise!) sky train to Sentosa, which to be honest is not great in the rain…so all in all we’ll put that one down to a pretty average experience, you can’t win them all can you?! But, being the optimists that we are, we were hopeful that things would improve later on as we were meeting Shells for another night on the town.

We started at The Long Bar in Raffles Hotel to take part in the quintessential tourist experience of enjoying a Singapore Sling (little fact for you: Raffles sell on average 1000 ‘slings’ a day – at S$27 = £13 a pop…quite the cash cow!) which definitely started turning our day around. The three of us then met Tom for a drink at Kinki’s, a bar in the city overlooking the marina. Our night was topped off with sharing a bottle of champers (thanks Tom!) at Ku De Ta, a bar at the top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, which offers spectacular views of Singapore. We were finally back in a more comfortable place, feeling like glam gals out on the town as opposed to skint backpackers with bed bug issues!

On our last day we headed to Orchid Road to see Tom and Shell’s new apartment and say our farewells (thanks Maja for Tam’s gifts) then headed to the airport (via the train we might add – how good are we?!) to catch our flight to Denpasar (Bali/Indonesia).


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