We arrived in Singapore by bus after a (relatively) smooth border crossing. We had one minor hiccup when our bags were scanned for potentially dangerous/illegal items. A stony-faced security guard questioned Lawrence as to whether he was carrying a needle. Something had shown up as suspicious on the screen but we didn’t have a clue as to what would be in the bag that looked even vaguely like a needle. After frantically unpacking with sweaty palms, it turned out to be a harmless GoPro attachment stick. We made it back on to our bus just in time and entered Singapore!
We would be staying with Naomi’s Dad and Silvia for about a month and quickly settled into our new room. It felt good to unpack our festering backpacks and air out the clothes that had been stuffed in there for months. It took a couple of days to wash everything and neatly fold them away in our very own drawers. What a joy to be able to pick your outfit for the day without emptying all of your possessions onto the floor to find what you’re looking for! We also have the luxury of our own bathroom, which is a real treat after sharing a toilet and shower in Malaysia. We are now able to spread out our toiletries and have them to hand when showering, rather than hauling a moldy plastic bag of soaps to the bathroom then realising half way through your shower that you’ve forgotten your (horrible quick dry fiber travel) towel. It felt great collapsing into the clean, silky sheets at River Valley House on our first night in a cool air-conditioned room.
We felt ready to recharge our batteries, have some lazy days hanging around the flat and to get in to some form of a routine. It surprised us how exhausting travelling had been towards the end. Every day is jam-packed with activities as you only have a finite amount of time to explore each place before moving on. But knowing that we have a couple of months in total to explore Singapore’s sights was a relief and we were happy to take things slowly for once. Travelling for two months had taken its toll, as much as we loved every minute of it, and we quickly felt at home.
We mentioned to Mark and Silvia that we’d missed cooking and were looking forward to recreating some of the delicious Asian dishes we’d tried on our travels. They immediately locked us in the kitchen each afternoon to prepare dinner, but we were happy to earn our keep in the form of cooking! Since arriving, we’ve rustled up some veggie burgers, a vegetable curry, a Mediterranean mezze (babganush, tzatziki, falafel etc.), chicken and mango cashew curry, beef and chorizo stew and baked fish. We can feel the difference in our energy levels already, following a healthy diet and steering clear of the oily/fried Chinese style of cooking and buttery curries that we’d indulged in over the past few months. Every morning we wake up to granola and fruit, which is a real treat as we learnt way back in September 2016 that Asia doesn’t do breakfast (unless you enjoy fish head soup at 8am).
We’ve been eating healthily as well as trying to get in to a regular exercise routine. We attempted a run to Fort Canning, a park just a five-minute stroll from River Valley Road. Naomi was struggling after a steep incline towards the Arts Centre Building and indicated for Lawrence and Mark to go on. Before a meeting place had been arranged, the boys had sped off, leaving Naomi in a dusty cloud of confusion and isolation. There was a misunderstanding at this point as Naomi assumed she would continue running and reconvene with Lawrence and Mark at a later point along the pathway. Mark and Lawrence however, thought that Naomi was simply going to stop and they would return to her after completing a longer circuit. Long story short, Naomi and the boys were separated for a good 15 minutes, which extended the run further than any of them had anticipated. They finally bumped into each other, panting and sweating but happy to be reunited. The story has been retold a number of times by Lawrence and Mark in a manner that implies that Naomi had ‘run off’ as opposed to being deserted. You can make your own mind up.
We’re slowly beginning to get our bearings in the city as Singapore is actually quite compact on the scale of things. With the MRT, regular buses and the ability to walk to lots of locations with ease, we’ve managed to find our way around without any issues. We even managed to play tour guide to Gareth and Sioned, a couple who grew up in the same town as Lawrence. Gareth and Sioned were completing a whistle stop tour of South East Asia and happened to be staying in Singapore on the week that we arrived. We met up for lunch and promised them a walking tour of the city centre. Luckily we had SIM cards by this point, so with the help of Google Maps we managed to complete a 10km circuit around the main sights.
Having lots of time on our hands means we’ve been able to catch up with friends and family from home. Our ‘schedule’ is either non-existent or very flexible so give us a call whenever you like please!