It took a while to get to sleep here, I wondered whether that was because the bed was comfortable and therefore strange but it probably had something to do with the noise in the street. It got quite lively sounding as it got later and I started to get suspicious that The Madras Hotel may be attached to a massage parlour due to a few comings and goings in the corridor!
Ali and I are both feeling a bit ropey today, although I took my malaria tablets this morning on half an apple and that’s probably the reason I feel sick.
We mooch around for most of the morning, the kids go downstairs for a breakfast of toast and jam and we study the leaflets and maps that we collected from Changi Airport when we arrived. We make a list of attractions and sights that we want to see and decide to head off to the Singapore Science Centre today.
As we leave the hotel a lady asks if we want our rooms made up, what a luxury!
We walk to the train station which is about 10 minutes away, not surprisingly this area looks a lot like India but much cleaner. There are market stalls lining the street with lots of fresh produce. The fruit and vegetables all look very appetising and we buy some fresh ginger to chew to help with our nausea.
Singapore has been accused of being a “nanny state” and there are lots of laws here to be adhered to. For example chewing gum, not flushing a public toilet, crossing the road within 100 metres of a crossing and dropping litter are all illegal and carry heavy fines.
I feel a little bit paranoid that I may be flouting some law just by existing and for me there is a slight “1984″ feeling to the place. (Big brother is watching I’m sure!)
We work out that we need to buy an Ez-link card and then use that to pay our train fares. The train network seems to be extremely clean, fast and efficient and we arrive at Jarong East station exactly 15 minutes later as predicted.
After a short walk we arrive at The Science Centre, we are feeling hungry so stop at McDonalds for lunch and sit outside next to the discovery water park. We watch lots of little kids playing in the fountains which looks good fun but is quite dangerous and one by one they all come a cropper and end up screaming.
We work our way through the various interactive displays. It’s a great place and the kids have loads of fun trying chemical experiments and playing with the sensory exhibits. There is a kinetic garden and lots of optical illusions and we especially enjoyed the human body and web of life areas. This tied in well with their science studies and we watched an endoscopy, sat on a giant tongue and labelled the bones on a real skeleton.
We also had a wander around the Eco-garden and agreed that we could have spent much longer there but unfortunately eventually ran out of time. We haven’t done any school work with the kids for a few days and it was good to do something educational and informative.
We got a taxi back as Ali and I are still feeling a bit knackered and pukey and it was great to come back to a clean and tidy room with fresh towels. I think perhaps we didn’t realise when we were in India that it is quite hard work continually staying in quite grubby places where the sheets and towels weren’t actually that clean to start with!
Our suspicions about the hotels business are confirmed when we realise that they are offering a special discounted hourly room rate for 2007 and Simon admitted he was asked if he would like a “massage” when he went to get food last night !
I spoke to my friend Lou on MSN and it was good to hear about her recent month long holiday to New Zealand and wave at her on the webcam. She said it has taken some adjusting to get back into work mode and she doesn’t know how I will cope when we get back. I’m not even going to give that a minute’s consideration.