There are two main pastimes in Singapore: shopping and eating. Given that my backpack is already bulging out of its expandable top, I choose eating.
You can eat well and cheaply here 24 hours a day from markets, food courts and restaurants. And with culinary options from China, India and Malaysia (among many others), there’s so much choice it’s hard to know where to begin...or end for that matter.
Here’s a list of what I manage to consume in a day:
-2 slices of toast at the free hostel breakfast
-a bowl of prawn noodle soup
-a cheese and onion Parata – an Indian style pancake
-a fresh coconut (for the juice)
-two slices of melon
-six little Indonesian sweets (made from sago and coconut – a curious mix of sweet and salty, -kind of like jelly and bright green)
-a steamed bbq pork bun
-a very large beer
-roast chicken and rice
All of that costs me the grand total of $20Singapore – that’s around £10 – and all, with the exception of the soup which was a bit bland, was really yummy. It’s lucky I’m only staying one day or I’d be bursting out of my non-expandable top pretty damn soon too.
Around 6pm, when I take a little walk to work off some of what I’ve eaten and build up an appetite for more, Singapore charms me once again.
I stumble on a public square, right in the centre of Chinatown, where a big crowd are indulging in the local version of line dancing. They dance in unison to tunes ranging from the 1950s to last year and can I tell you, you haven’t seen anything till you’ve seen 100 middle aged Singaporeans dancing suggestively to Pussycat Dolls Don’t Cha. ‘Bet you wish your girlfriend was hot like me,’ they sing along, as they bump and grind it.
Some are dressed up (check out the matching cowboy boots, hat and shirt of the couple in the front of the picture) but plenty are just wearing jeans and a t-shirt. They know all the moves to something like 50 songs (I don’t stay that long but I do check out the song list before I go).
They’re dancing in front of an old Chinese temple so I stick my head round there before I wander off. A huge gold sitting Buddha, with a multi-coloured bejewelled halo, casts a benign eye over me. Wisps of incense smoke floats around my head and it feels as though Singapore is blessing my journey.