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personal - Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong Tour - 2012

Day One

As I live nearly fifty miles from my friend Jabeen, we agreed to meet up at Birmingham station. We took a train to London Euston and then the underground to Heathrow Airport. We managed to get through customs without any major hassles and caught the plane with the normal rigmarole that usually is involved in boarding a plane.

The trip was incredibly long, and being seated in economy, leg room was a major issue. That being said, I did take the opportunity to view some films that were available. I slept a little, ate a little, talked a little, slept a little more and prayed that the journey would end soon. It did.

At Singapore airport we were picked up by the private car that I had arranged and taken to our first hotel. The driver was exceedingly polite and gave us a mini commentary on the sites and sounds of Singapore from airport to hotel. We arrived at the Traders Hotel.

We took an opportunity to have a stroll in the centre of Singapore, taking a taxi to the Chinese Outdoor Night Market, with it's many stalls. We took a few pictures and then wandered to a restaurant. I ate some dadong crispy chicken and egg fried rice. Jabeen had some somewhat suspect bean curd with egg fried rice, which she later vowed never to have again. I have to admit that our wanderings were somewhat aimless, and we struggled to get any sense of where we were, covering the same roads again and again. We decided to hail a taxi and after struggling to flag one down, eventually managed to jump into one. Not the best of introductions to Singapore!

Day Two

Call us stupid but we decided to go to the gym on the second day in Singapore and get a workout. So that's what we did, using some pretty good equipment if truth be told. We had a hearty breakfast and took a taxi to Arab Street. We took a look around the outside of the Masjid Sultan mosque on Muscat Street and then wandered to Haji Lane, where there were a multitude of shops.. all closed. We took another taxi to Pagoda Street where the Chinese Heritage Centre is located and we took a tour of the centre. We had a drink in a bar called Old Cuban (located at located at: 2 Trengganu Street) and did a little shopping.

We looked around the somewhat impressive Sri Mariamman Temple Towering above shophouses along South Bridge Road were the beautifully painted figures on the tower entrance. This temple is dedicated to the Goddess Mariamman who is known for curing serious illnesses. It is the oldest and more important shrine in Singapore. We also we the the Thian Hock Keng Temple (the temple of heavenly happiness.) This temple is dedicated to Ma Cho Po, Goddess of the Sea, reputed to be able to calm rough waters and rescue those in danger of drowning. We got out of the heat, took a taxi to the hotel and chilled until it was time for the evening night safari and tram tour which we had arranged before. I have to say that the Asian buffet provided was pretty good, and the play-come-storytelling was excellent. The tram through the so called 'jungle' area was boring. Forty-five minutes of tedium. The tour guides kept pointing us to animals we couldn't see.

Day Three

After going to the gym and breakfasting, we took two City Tours on a hop on/hop off bus. This was our opportunity to see the sites in our own time. The most memorable site was the Singapore skyline, some great pictures of Marina Bay and a visit to the Singapore Flyer, the world's largest observation wheel, standing at a stunning 165m from the ground We packed, were picked up for the airport and boarded a Jet Asia plane where we had what I personally have to say was the worst food I have ever tasted on a plane.

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