After arriving at one’s home airport to find all the shops are closing and there is no-one around except check-in staff, airport officials, money changers and sleepy travellers, I always question my need to save dollars when booking by deciding to opt for the Redeye. So far, over the years I have travelled in the wee hours to and from Melbourne to places including Perth, Darwin, Los Angeles, Dubai and Bangkok. I’m sure there are others that I have not remembered.
So yesterday, just for another chance at watching the sun rise in a new place, we arrived at Changi airport just after 5 am. By 6. 05 we were at our hotel – of course, not expecting to have a room at this stage (also in the interests of saving money, I was not forking out for an extra night’s accommodation) but we were delighted to have a shower in the pool/gym area and freshen up. We also got complementary coffees in the breakfast room, and after a short walk around the vicinity our room was ready!
By 9 am we were unpacked and happy to have a couple of hours of sleep in a real bed! (Travel really helps us to appreciate all the things we usually take for granted.)
We had decided before leaving home that today was going to be a slow day while we oriented ourselves to the tropical weather and got ourselves oriented. So it was a trip on a bumboat up river and around Marina Bay. As it was the hottest part of the day we were not troubled with the crowding issues that occur on later cruises, and we only had to share the outside area with a few other sun lovers. Following this, we had lunch at Clarke Quay, which has cafes and bars selling food from 49 countries. We chose pizza and I had a beer. On our way back to the hotel to wash the sweat off us we found a little kiosk selling ice creams. I had a green tea (matcha) cone, it was delicious! David chose vanilla – the only other flavour on offer.
After that it was time for another rest to look at the maps and get an idea of how we would spend the week. There is so much to see and do here, I was wondering how we would fill the week when we first booked; now I see this will not be a problem.
After a walk around to see the places we had seen on the cruise up a bit closer, we decided to have dinner at Boat Quay at one of the million restaurants there. We were all set to take a while having a look at the offerings and then make a decision but at the first restaurant we came to (Haven Lobster and Seafood) we were graciously spruiked into eating there with offers of 10% off main meals and a free drink. Normally, both of us are turned off by this, but it looked nice and we decided to stay. After our meal we walked the length of Boat Quay and decided that we would have gone back to the first one anyway. We were in a great spot to see some pretty good light shows around the place while we ate and during our last walk of the day afterwards.
What we learned about Singapore today:
- The only people you will see in this part of town before 9.30 on the weekend at least are joggers and displaced tourists. Nothing is open, so it is hard to get food or even a coffee.
- Bumboats (a derivation of a Dutch word ‘boomschuit’ meaning ‘boat made from trees’) or ‘tongkang’ in Malay are lovely little wooden boats that now used to ferry tourists, but they were once used to carry goods and supplies to larger ships that were moored offshore.
- The ‘Merlion’ is a modern-day marketing symbol of Singapore – even though it looks like a mythical creature, it has no history. But he looks cute.
- The Theatres on the Bay are also known as the ‘big durians’, because they look like the fruit (this was not planned but it does seem appropriate when you look at them.