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Day Two: Explore Singapore

semi-overcast 35 °C
View RTW 2013 on WorldWideWill's travel map.

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I did myself a huge favour by not sleeping on the flight, and although the jetlag is still very obvious today I managed a few hours overnight and woke up at a 'normal' local time.

After a basic hostel breakfast I walked through Chinatown and past the local temples towards Marina Bay. I stopped in one of the immaculate little parks to take today's photo, already overcome by the 35C heat after less than an hour's walk! The city is an amazing contrast between streets of traditional style 2-3 storey houses or shops and huge skyscraper office blocks. And when I say huge, I mean GIANT. They always tell you to remember to look up in Manhattan, but trying to look to the tops of the buildings here does your neck damage! At 12 o'clock sharp, the doors of all of these glass monsters fly open to release hundreds and hundreds of businessmen and women as they flock to the food courts dotted around the city. Caught up in the rush, I became very aware of myself - not only does my 6ft 2", pasty-white frame stand a clear foot above most of the crowds here, but I was suddenly the least well-dressed person in a 2-mile radius and certainly the only one not wearing shoes (which raised some eyebrows when I casually sauntered into the Microsoft building to use their toilet)!

Following the crowds (when in Rome) I ended up at the Lau Pa Sat food court, home of around 60 individual food stalls selling everything from the standard chicken and rice combo to curried fish heads. I avoided both stalls and settled on a stall offering 'Tow Foo' dishes, assuming (1st error) that it was veggie tofu food and hoping (2nd error) that the stall owners would speak enough English to explain what was in it. I was met with awkward silence as I made creative gestures and said the words 'tofu', 'no meat?' and 'vegetarian' over and over until the older lady behind the counter simply pointed to the far wall of the food court (or gestured for me to leave, who knows?). I felt a little stupid upon seeing the stall with a giant 'V' on it, but promptly ordered the Bee Hoon, a great little dish of noodles, vegetables and tofu and I threw on a spring roll for good measure. SG$4.50 well spent. I have now learned that 'Tow Foo', or rather 'Yong Tow Foo' is indeed tofu, but it is stuffed with meat paste - a lucky escape!

The afternoon was spent weaving through air conditioned malls and taking frequent rest and water breaks until I reached a hazy view point of the spectacular Marina Bay Sands hotel (a cool $350 per night), took a quick photo and decided to retreat back to the hostel as the jetlag continued to sap my muscle energy and heat rash ravaged my legs! The sun has set once again and I am looking forward to a more restful night's sleep. My local climate research (which really should have been done in more detail before I left home) tells me that there is on average one degree of temperature change between day and night here, ONE DEGREE! Tonight is forecast to be 32C and I'm increasingly thankful for air conditioning! Time to find a quick local supper followed by an icy cold shower!

Posted by WorldWideWill 18:48 Archived in Singapore

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