Land of the Long White Cloud, via Singapore

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This page last updated: 10th January 2010.
Day 33: Sentosa

Day 33 It is time to pack our cases for the final time. Although our flight doesn't leave until the evening, we have to check out of the hotel during the morning. We pack the cases as fully as we can. We leave out a couple of jackets We will need them when we get home but can carry them on the plane. Essential items for today we put in one of the Stopover bags and then leave a change of footwear in the small bag which is our main hand luggage. We are able to leave the coats and hand luggage with the hotel concierge for collection later along with our main luggage.

Having checked out, we have breakfast in a nearby café—. Since we never got to go on a gondola in New Zealand, it seems a good idea to try the Singapore Cable Car.

We take a taxi to Mount Faber from where the cable car descends to the island of Sentosa. Sunday must be washing-day as there are clothes hanging out to dry on the balconies of the many apartment blocks we pass. The taxi drops us off at the base of the cable car station. After looking around the gift shop, we discover that access to the cable cars themselves is via a steep set of stairs. There is no lift.

We climb aboard one the glass-bottomed cages for a better view. Directly underneath the line of the cable car route, a huge cruise-ship lies at anchor. Set against the backdrop of the island, its size is evident. Despite the slight dullness of the day, the views of the city and of the surrounding sea are riveting. As we drop down to the island, we can see how neatly and colourfully laid-out everything is.

Our Stopover pass allows us free entry onto the island and to the Images of Singapore exhibition. The gateman seems quite insistent that we visit this immediately on arrival. It is good to get out of the heat into an air-conditioned museum building. However, once we've made our way through the first few rooms, the only way to continue is up more stairs. For Christine, this is not a feasible option. We abandon the tour and back-track to the entrance.

A short walk leads us to the monorail. This free transport encircles the island stopping at seven stations. We stay on it for one and half circuits before finally alighting at the Gateway Station. Again we have to negotiate stairs to reach ground level. Heat and tiredness are beginning to take its toll on us. We catch a bus which takes us off the island, through the city to Orchard Road.

We very slowly walk down the road until we come across a little French patisserie called Deli-France. They serve us some very delicious strawberries and ice-cream. Christine goes in search of toilets and is away for a little time. Meanwhile the waitress brings me a complimentary glass of cool water.

Christine feels in need of some reading-matter for the plane, so we visit a large bookstore. She confesses to me that she has probably read all the titles by David Eddings. This is overheard by two browsers (customers, not sales staff) in the SF section, who immediately recommend she looks at works by Stephen Donaldson. One of them recommends the best two titles to read first.

Having bought the books, we decide that the best thing now would be just to get back to the hotel and wait until we are collected for our return to the airport. Getting across the traffic is difficult enough. There is a long queue at the taxi-rank. We have to wait for about twenty minutes before getting a taxi. The driver takes us round through the city and talks quite a bit. When he drops us off, he doesn't quote the fare on the meter but rounds it up from $4.20 to $5. We pay him and do not argue.

We collect our hand-luggage from the concierge and wait in the lobby. We change our shoes and settle down in an armchair. Christine reads and we finish off some sandwiches we'd purchased earlier.

The airport-transfer bus arrives on time. It calls at some other hotels to pick up more passengers. In Little India, the streets are entirely filled with a heaving mass of humanity. This would have felt sinister in any other city, but here since it is entirely normal and everyone at least appears sober, we don't feel threatened.

At the airport, we check in for the flight. Now we know our way around, better than before, we make our way up to the Internet Centre. While Christine reads her book, I check my email. I spend 20 minutes just tagging spam for deletion, when I accidentally open one which send me to a website. I'm unable to get back to my email and have to start the whole process of deleting the spam over again. At least I won't be too overswamped with email when I get back home.

Journal - Day 34 Photographs - Day 33