30.05.2014 38 °C
On Tuesday night we went to the Thai restaurant which is opposite our hotel. The waitress struggled with understanding what we wanted and a lady who was sat near to us started to translate and advice us on the menu. Bill asked for his curry to be very hot and the lady said it would be too hot, but British pride was still intact as he ate it with no trouble. The lady introduced herself as Lakshmi (she said her name was the most common name in India) and she told us that she had lived in London for two years and had lived in Singapore for the last three years, but was from Mumbai. We sat for a long time talking to her, she told us that Indian people identify with British people because they grow up reading British classics, but traveling to somewhere like Singapore is more of a culture shock than going to Britain. When her pudding of sticky rice and mangos arrived, Bill looked so longingly at it, she invited him to share it. Since we have been traveling we have met some amazing people who stop and spend time with us, we find out about their lives and we talk about ours and then we part and never see them again; but we don't forget them, they become part of our travels.
The next day we headed to the Botanical Gardens, after getting a picnic. The gardens are 186 acres and Bill marched me around every single acre of them. We went in the Foliage Garden (lots of leaves), the Medical Garden, Ginger Garden, Eco Garden and lots of other gardens! The Orchid gardens were beautiful, I was a bit shocked when we got to it as I had been expecting a hot house, but they were all outside naturally in this climate! There was even a cool house for orchids that grow in rain forests, we wanted to walk through it again as we were so hot, and there was no shade outside and the cool house was heavenly it was so cold. We did have our picnic next to a beautiful lake, surrounded by about a hundred pigeons who watched our every move. We both wanted to go in the Children's Garden and walked a fair way to get to there, but when we got there, the member of staff was very suspicious of us wanting to go in without children and turned us away with our tails between our legs (and we nearly got hit by a branch falling on us on our walk there).
Yesterday, we went to Orchard Road, which is the main shopping street in Singapore. This long avenue is lined on both sides with shopping malls (twenty two, in total) each one enormous, like a separate world packed with stores. All along the road are massive screens showing fashion shows and films, we love standing and staring at them. When we came to Singapore last time (twelve years ago, not three weeks), the road was lined with shops, now they are all malls. Most, if not all of the malls are high end stores, and we didn't even go into them and just walked up and down.
One of the doormen at the hotel is very young and sweet, he always tries to speak to us to use his English. He was telling us that he is from China and hasn't been in Singapore very long, so needs to practice his English (although it is very good.). When we were going to Orchard Road, we had waited in the wrong place for the free bus and he 'walked' us to the correct stop, well I say walked, I was jogging to keep up with him, and even Bill was struggling to keep up. We had to go through a shopping centre and the crowds all parted as we made our way through as they stared at the spectacle. When we got to the stop I couldn't talk for about three minutes; Bill asked me if I still thought the doorman was so sweet.
Today we decided to go to Little India for lunch, we could smell all the spices as we came out of the subway. We wandered through this massive market with stalls all selling food, but we eventually went to a restaurant hidden behind a street. The restaurant was packed with business men having lunch, but they squeezed us in. We went through what we wanted on the menu, but every now and again, the waiter would exclaim that you could only eat that on an evening (Including naan bread) and look at us as if we didn't know anything, shaking his head in disbelief. I did manage to get the food we were allowed, all down my front. After Little India we headed for China Town and strolled through the market there, which was selling 'Chinese' souvenirs. There was a lot of rubbish, but we had a lovely walk, even with the constant shouting to us from people, wanting to make Bill a suit in twenty hour hours.
We came across Sri Manmatha Karuneshwar Temple, which is Singapore's oldest Hindu temple. The temple has a gopuram, which is the tower that rises above the main entrance, and has six layers of very brightly painted Hindu deities. The temple was on the street next to a busy road and you had to leave your shoes outside, I put mine in my bag as I was unhappy to leave them in such a public place, but Bill left his outside in the street (which I was a little shocked about, at the beginning of our travels he wouldn't leave them). When we left the temple, I saw that he had left his shoes right in the very middle of the main entrance (rather than in the designated place) and everyone had to step over them to get into the temple.
We had hoped to go to the river today, but the heat and the humidity meant we headed back to the hotel, so that is still on our list of things to do in the next few days.