24.09.2009 - 28.09.2009 35 °C
Singapore is a calm and clean city even when it is busy! It’s the kind of place where it’s nice just to walk around and soak up the atmosphere. It doesn’t really feel like a city which has been good as we're all ‘cityed’ out at the moment!
We arrived on Thursday morning (it’s the only airport that we’ve come across where they do a security check as your arrive!) and headed to Little India where our hotel is based. You can feel the buzzing atmosphere as soon as you step out of the MRT station and it really is like a little version of India, although cleaner and more developed. The hotel was very near the station (one of the positives, I’ll mention it as there aren’t many more - although to be fair this was the first cockroach we had found in our room after 8 weeks of travelling, so I guess that isn't too bad going!). We checked in and weren’t overly impressed, we have stayed in worse but they were much cheaper than this place. So we headed out pretty quickly into the city. Spent some time walking around some shopping malls (there are loads of them everywhere) and looking for a guitar shop as Phil wants to buy a new one. He managed to find the shop where they have a good deal on the guitar he wants but unfortunately nowhere has a hard case for it and the cases are very expensive anyway. So he’s had to leave that for now.
On Friday we headed out in the late morning for the day. We spent some time wandering about before heading into Zone 4 for the grand prix practice session. Our walk about tickets let us walk around quite a large zone so we tried out a few different spots trying to find the best one for the actual race on Sunday. I couldn’t believe how close you get to the cars, you can actually see some of the drivers faces but only for a split second as they whiz around the track. They drive so fast, the noise and vibrations are like nothing I expected even with ear plugs in! Standing in the areas where the cars decelerate for the corners you are constantly amazed that they manage to slow down enough to make it around the corner, driving one of these things must be mental! Being so close you can tell the difference between the better cars and drivers and you can see small differences between the cars that you can’t see on the television. We found a few great spots around the circuit before heading back to Little India for a drink to soak up the busy night atmosphere.
Saturday was another hot day, we went along Orchard Road which is literally lined with designer shopping malls. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to spot any celebs but we did enjoy a cup of tea (you might find it strange that I’m writing this but a simple cup of tea is so expensive in this city but we thought we deserved the treat!). Before heading to the circuit today we decided to try and sneak some wine in our camel baks as drinks are so expensive. It worked which was great as you’re not allowed to bring in any of your own food or drinks, camel baks are great inventions! After qualifying Travis were playing on one of the stages, we managed to get a space right near the front so we had great views. The concert was really good, Fran has a nice easy going approach which helped to create a good atmosphere even in the hot and humid late night. I chatted to a nice girl from Singapore who is a big Travis fan, she bought grand prix tickets just to watch them (her husband bought them for the actual grand prix!). Concert finished around 12.30 so it was a late night for us.
Race day started fairly for us, we had a bit of a lazy morning before heading into the city ready to get some good places to watch the race. We headed into the circuit around 3.30pm and managed to get the exact seats (not real ones, they are VERY expensive) that we wanted. Luckily the place was near some real toilets and cheaper places to buy the food than the stalls. There were a few races on in the afternoon before the drivers parade at 6.30pm. They are driven around the circuit in a classic car so that all the fans can see the drivers. It was pretty cool seeing all of them and watching how they react to the crowd. The race started bang on 8pm when it was still hot and humid (29 degrees at 8pm when the race started!). I can’t imagine how hot the drivers must get in their cars when I get so hot just sitting around watching! It’s really good to see how close the drivers actually get to each other and how the gaps look on the actual circuit. We could really see some sparks and red brakes on some of the cars. Hamilton’s car did sound much smoother than most of the others. The bizarre thing is that we only get to see a very small part of the race as we couldn’t see a screen. But luckily quite a few things happened at turn 14 where we were sat. We both had a bet on the two drivers that served drive through penalties, what bad luck but we did win a little something on the top three finishers – enough to cover the cost of the bets and maybe buy one cup of tea!! The race finished around 10pm, there was a lively atmosphere around the circuit. The Backstreet Boys (yes, they are still with us!) were playing on a stage after the race, this took me back to Rachel Slaughter and Rosebank House! We headed back to Little India where it was also lively. There were lots of men walking and sitting around ( I only spotted one other lady!), we’re not sure why but it might have something to do with the Deepavali festival that is on at the moment.
We are now currently on our last day in Asia for now which comes with mixed feelings. It’s strange to think back over the past couple of months and all the things that we have done and seen in this small part of the world. There are definitely parts of it that need to be explored further, it’s a beautiful part of the world and there have been lots of highlights to think back over during our long flight to Sydney tomorrow.