Last day in Singapore

This is our last day in Singapore, I’m pleased that we managed to achieve in 8 days what could easily have been achieved in 4 but sickness can’t be helped and we have had a
good time here.

Singapore hasn’t been what I expected but I think this is because I did very little reading about the place before we arrived. For me, although it has a very interesting history this has been completely erased in many ways. The best example of this was when looking at 2 pictures of the harbour. 100 years ago it was a crowded, bustling place, crammed with boats, people and animals. Now the boats and people are all gone and the water is sparkling clean. Sky scrapers surround it and dropping litter carries a fine of 1000 dollars.

I can understand why Singapore is described as sterile, but not why it’s described as boring. If you like food, drinking, gadgets and shopping you would be in heaven here.
The Singaporeans can appear quite straight faced but once they get talking are friendly and love to tell you about their island. Most are quite well travelled and completely into their mobiles, MP3′s, PSP and Nintendo DS. Actually we fit in well here as we all love gadgets.

The highlights of Singapore were for me visiting Raffles hotel and The Asian Civilisations Museums. Had we all been well we would have appreciated the food here more and had we been rich appreciated the shops better too. We did decide the other day that if by some miracle we win the lottery we will head here for a bit of retail therapy while we decide on how to dispose of our millions.

Lastly, the rules and laws of Singapore, trying to find a crossing when you just have to run across a small and quiet road is a real pain and I have to admit we have broken the law a number of times since we arrived here. But public toilets aren’t the health hazard that they are in England and I can see no problem with heavy fines for littering, it makes the place so much nicer for everyone who lives and visits here.

We have spent our last day here much as we spent our first. That is in our hotel room. This sounds bad but the weather is terrible and has been raining non stop for hours. Also due to costs we really don’t want to visit any of the more expensive remaining attractions that we didn’t see. Our original plan for today was to go to The Botanic Gardens to see some orchids but I guess they can wait for a future visit.

We are due to catch the Ekspres Senandung Malum train to Kuala Lumpur tonight at 1015pm. I have been reading up about KL today and am now feeling excited about moving on. A little apprehensive about tonight’s train journey but hopefully it will be fine.

Sentosa Island

Today we have had a disaster, when Maisie got my hair straighteners out this morning they are broken in two and clearly will never work again. Quite how this happened is a mystery but no one is owning up to knowing anything about it and this really isn’t that important anyway. They do need to be replaced though and we decide that as Simon will be taking Ali’s PSP off for repair today he can look for more straighteners and I will do some school work with the kids.

As we have wi-fi access here we take advantage of it and use the internet to research the history of the Japanese Occupation of Singapore. It is fascinating and we learn lots about Changi prison, so called comfort women camps and the impact of the occupation on Singaporean lives.

Simon eventually comes back with some new ceramic straighteners and a repaired PSP and we set off as planned, although a little late, to Sentosa Island,
Sentosa Island is almost completely man made, from the theme park style attractions to the man made beaches. We catch the cable car over Singapore harbour and the view of the sky scrapers is excellent. We decide to visit the butterfly and insect kingdom, the luge and sky train and 4d cinema.

The butterflies and insects are predictably beautiful and creepy respectively and Simon takes some good pictures. It is very hot in their enclosures and although we find them quite interesting I’m glad to move onto the luge. So are the kids, Ali can hardly contain himself he’s so excited and we all get our helmets on and listen to the instructions of how to stop them.

It is really good and I enjoy it a lot, as we have 2 rides each I decide I will go much faster next time and quite happily we all get on the sky train to take us back up to the top of the luge.

What a massive mistake, it is like a bench and has a bar across your lap to keep you in but that is it. Ali and I are both scared of heights and although he’s really brave as we get higher I get completely hysterical, burst into tears and spend the rest of it with my eyes closed.
At around 150 feet high at its highest I find it completely horrible and nothing will persuade me to go back on. This is a shame as it also means I have to give up my second luge ride but Ali is quite pleased as he gets a third go.

Finally we make our way to the 4d cinema I have been to these before at Disney and its really good. The story is called Pirates and by the end of the film we have been chased by giant bees and bats, jolted around in our seats and sprayed with water. Maisie kept taking her glasses off and kept her legs up as we had felt crabs snapping around our ankles.

We get the MRT back to Bugis Station and head back to our hotel. We need to sort some stuff out as we are moving on to Malaysia tomorrow night. We try and ring a hotel in Kuala Lumpur but they are full and decide to leave this until the morning to organise.
We also use our telephone banking that we set up before we left to transfer some money and this seems easy and simple enough.

Off to bed now we have a lot to pack tomorrow and I’m looking forward to moving on again.

Raffles Hotel and Night Safari

By the time we had got ourselves organised and ready to go out it was 1.30.We had a bit of toast from the hotel and then set off to find Raffles Hotel. This famous colonial style hotel is a Singapore institution and I’m very excited about going there today. I have read many books that mention Raffles and the history of it really appeals to me.

The hotel was built in 1887 and originally opened as a 10 roomed bungalow. Over the years further rooms and bars were added including the famous Long bar and Bar and Billiards room. It is said that when the Japanese captured Singapore in 1942 they encountered the guests of Raffles having “one last waltz”. Despite being used as a camp for prisoners of war Raffles survived and in 1989 closed for 3 years for restoration and refurbishment.

We walked from the train station up to the hotel itself, my immediate impression is that it isn’t what I expected. Dwarfed by huge sky scrapers, my vision of the hotel surrounded by jungle vanishes but still it is immediately recognisable from photographs I have seen.
It really is more of a legend than anything else and was once called “a symbol of all the fables of the exotic east”.

As you look at the hotel, to the left is the newest addition to the building, the Raffles Arcade. This contains over 70 over priced shops but despite myself I couldn’t resist buying a few souvenirs and came away clutching a poster that I have no idea how we will get home in one piece and a brass key ring
After a quick look around the hotel lobby we head for The Long Bar. The Singapore Sling was invented here and no matter how expensive and touristy, there’s no way I’m not having one. The basic ingredients are gin, pineapple juice, lime juice and cherry liqueur, topped with a morello cherry and a slice of pineapple- yum. The kids had non alcoholic Slings and Simon went for a gin and tonic. Its my step mum Paulines birthday today and we have a toast to her. Happy Birthday Pauline!

The Long Bar is excellent with dark wood and rattan furniture. There are bowls of monkey nuts on the tables and you are expected to throw the shells on the floor. With its graceful sweeping ceiling fans and sparrows flying around, we all loved it.
This gorgeous old hotel has got so many stories attached to it and for me these tales of jungle adventurers, tigers being shot in the Bar and Billiards room and previous famous guests completely made it and we had a great time.

Simon then went off to the train station to book our onwards train tickets; we have planned to leave Singapore for Malaysia on Saturday night taking a train directly to Kuala Lumpur.

In the evening we set off for the Night Safari, originally we wanted to visit this attraction and Singapore Zoo but time and money constraints mean that we have chosen to give the zoo a miss.
The Night Safari has consistently been voted Singapore’s top tourist attraction so we have got high expectations and we’re not disappointed.
We arrive and make our way to the animal show first, the animals involved include otters. owls and a huge snake amongst other creatures. The show is informative and really good fun and the kids love it.

Next we board the tram; this 45 minute ride takes us through the foothills of the Himalayas, sub Saharan Africa and the tropical rain forest. The tram is almost silent and for the most of the ride its almost completely pitch black. Of course it’s still over 30 degrees and as there has been torrential rain today everywhere is wet. We pass lions, tigers, elephant, deer, giant guinea pigs, tapir and buffalo amongst many other animals. They appear so close you could almost touch them and there are no signs of fences, the animals seem to be unaware of us passing so close and ignore us. The low level lighting allows us to view the animals in a more natural looking environment than any zoo I have been to and it’s a really good experience.

Lastly we decide to complete one of the night walks, it is now 11.30pm and we are starting to feel a bit tired. We choose The Forest Giants walk and make our way in the darkness along a narrow path, through the massive trees of the rain forest. There isn’t anyone else on the walk and apart from the noises of the jungle it is completely silent.

This is actually natural rain forest and I spend half the time convinced some horrible spider is about to jump on me. Nothing I could have imagined could have prepared me for what we actually saw though. We came to a door on the path and when we went through realised that the canopies of the tree are enclosed in a fine mesh.

At first we can’t see anything but slowly become aware that there is slight movement in the trees around us and there are big black shapes attached to the branches.
A foot away from our faces we finally make out the bodies of resting giant fruit bats. Oh my god they are massive and despite us trying to quietly creep away we must have disturbed them because suddenly with no warning one took off and swooped across our heads so close we had to duck.

I have never seen anything like these and they are truly amazing and creepy.

We catch a taxi back to the hotel, it now gone midnight and we are all tired it has been a really good day and we’ve had a great time.


Today I have completely fallen in love with Singapore. We set the clock and got up slowly, poor Simon is now ill so I have given him antibiotics and some of the medicine from the Dr. By 10am he is feeling well enough to go out and we catch the MRT train to The Quays.

The harbour is surrounded by bars and restaurants, sky scrapers and The Asian Civilisations Museum. As we missed breakfast our first stop is for food and drink and we have pizza, not exactly a nutritious and wholesome breakfast but hey.

We walk round to the museum; we had originally planned to visit a number of museums in Singapore but have had to choose just one now and I’m so glad we chose this one.
We wanted somewhere that would explain some of Singapore’s history to the kids and there are 6 different galleries based on culture.

The first gallery gives an interesting account of the evolution of Singapore’s waterways and explains how Sir Thomas Raffles “discovered” Singapore in 1819. The kids enjoyed listening to the audio’s and I waded through some of the written information to give them a bit more concise explanation of Raffles. They were slightly more interested in the fact that he was also one of the founders of London Zoo and had a pet bear that used to dine with him on champagne and mangos.

We wandered through the remaining galleries and took loads of photos; many of the exhibits were beautiful and we saw prehistoric bronzes, ancient Qur’ ans, tribal textiles, Chinese deities and many other artefacts.

Lastly we visited an exhibition of ancient Chinese masks. These masks were discovered in 1986 buried in 2 pits in the province of Sichuan. The large masks were both stunning in design and mystical looking and we all really enjoyed seeing them. It seems amazing that the masks are nearly 3500 years old and despite being deliberately burnt and broken before burial have managed to survive.

We walked from the museum to see the Fountain of Wealth, this is the world’s largest fountain and it took us nearly half an hour in blistering heat to get there. I guess it would have been worth it, had it been switched on.

We did however pass the Merlion on the way, according to a fable this creature came out of the sea and we learnt that Singa means lion and Pura means city hence the Merlion is a city emblem.

Next stop was a shopping mall; the choice of stuff is mind blowing with a massive array of gadgets, clothes and jewellery. We had a 10 dollar haircut each in a ” Toyko 10 minute hair booth” which must be the cheapest haircut I have had since about 1976.

Lastly we caught the MRT to the Lavender Food Centre, the choice of dishes is vast, but we play it fairly safe ordering chicken satay, rice, steamed vegetables and honey roasted pork. Looking around we could have chosen turtle/frog soup, fish head porridge or pig organs in gravy. After the last few days of upset tummies we decided to give all that a miss though.

Its 11pm and I’m knackered we have walked miles today and want to get up early tomorrow to make the most of the day. Just watched American Idol, sadly for Simon Cowell due to travelling I’m unavailable for auditions again this year. What a loss for everyone but I just can’t do it all.

Hard Rock Cafe

As planned we got up at 8.30am. Every morning our first question to Ali has revolved around his guts and this morning was no exception. As he is still dashing off to the loo at least twice an hour we set of to find a chemist in the hope that we can buy some antibiotics over the counter. No such luck though and the pharmacist points us in the general direction of a Dr.

Eventually having wandered around a backstreet Chinese shopping area we find the Dr and are shown through. He is very kind and questions Ali carefully; he listens to his chest, feels his abdomen and informs us he will treat him for simple traveller’s diarrhoea with the instructions to seek further medical advice and treatment for more complicated infections if it doesn’t resolve with a few days.

I’m not entirely happy with this advice as he has prescribed loperamide, some sort of kaolin mixture and something called gastrostop. Ali also has strict instructions not to eat for 6 hours and drink lots of water or flat 7 up. He also suggested we could try some Chinese crystal therapy but I told him I was a nurse at this point and he didn’t push the point as he could see I was starting to look sceptical. Still I guess taking this stuff won’t do any harm and agree to give it a go.

We were planning to get out and about today but as Ali feels awful and Simon has got bad belly ache we decide to go back to the hotel. Oh my god I am SO bored!
I’m sure Singapore has a lot to offer but we have done so little here and it’s costing us 56 quid a night. What a nightmare.

I drag the kids away from their PSP’s, Simon spent a nervous hour last night down grading Maisie’s new gadget. If this works it improves the PSP loads and he has already done Ali’s but it is a risky thing to do using illegal and unlicensed software and as it can completely kill the PSP we were relieved when it went smoothly.

Ali isn’t feeling up to school work so I tell them they have to listen and we talk about reproduction, the menstrual cycle, contraception and briefly sexually transmitted infections. Most of this is part of the curriculum and they are fairly interested although Ali tells me he’s not interested in learning about periods and it’s all horrible!

I play a bit of air guitar to entertain them and it works and cheers them all up. By 5pm we decide to go out for dinner but although there is the most amazing choice of restaurants we play it safe and go to The Hard Rock Cafe for burgers, ribs and pasta. We share a massive hot chocolate fudge brownie sundae and I manage to eat most of it.

An hour or so later and I am seriously regretting it, we walked back to Orchard Road as the malls stay open late and look around the designer stores. There are so many gorgeous shops including Armani, Louis Vuitton, D&G, Prada and Gucci etc.
Sadly it makes me feeling too tall, too fat and too skint and we leave empty handed with me cursing myself for being so greedy at dinner.

The young Singaporean women are the epitome of chic and style and with their lovely figures and beautiful faces I have decided I couldn’t live here after all as I couldn’t stand the pressure to look great all the time. It has made me long for high heels and my jeans and I feel a haircut wouldn’t go amiss either!

We stop off for a drink at a pavement cafe, it is so great to be sat outside in shorts and the tropical weather is definitely one of the best things about Singapore. The humidity is really exhausting but I think the year round high temperatures make up for it. I read that it never gets colder than 20 degrees here and as most in door places have air con its fine.

Its 9.30pm and we have just got back, I have started Ali on antibiotics and am hoping he will feel better tomorrow – fingers crossed- again!

Orchard Road

Our sleep pattern here has been terrible and we didn’t wake up until 11am today despite the alarm. What a waste of a morning. We wake the kids up and although Ali is feeling better in himself he’s still got an upset tummy. I’m feeling ok though and raring to get out of here.

The weather is much better today and hot with blue skies and some clouds. It’s still very humid though and I have noticed that everyone seems to carry umbrellas permanently, using them to alternately shelter from the sun and the rain.

We skip breakfast and catch the MRT train to Orchard Road. It is a mile and a half of shopping mall heaven and we decide to split up for a couple of hours. We stop at the juice place for fresh strawberry smoothies and then Maisie and I head for the clothes shops and Simon and Ali for the gadgets.

It’s a shopaholics dream; the malls are air conditioned, spacious and modern with loads of British and Asian shops. We head straight for Karen Millen and within 5 minutes we’re busy trying stuff on. Simon has given me all the money we have but I’m really conscious that we have to carry whatever we buy and in the end settle for a 30 dollar t shirt from Gap (not very exciting I know).

The time flies by and we meet around 4pm for some food. At the top of Wisma Atria (The Mall we are in) is a huge food area and after much debate we decide on sushi and sashimi. Ali and I are the real sushi fans but we all agreed it was fantastic. The sushi chef advised us and made the sashimi rolls there and then. Ali was a little apprehensive about the raw fish but is a real star with food. He will give anything a go and we were laughing when the sushi chef had to tell him to go easy on the wasabi. He was scarlet in the face at this point.

We have decided to buy Maisie a PSP, she has been coveting Alisters since we started the trip and Singapore seems as good a place as any to get it. Simon and Ali negotiate a price of 170 quid which includes a case and 4GB memory card. They tell me this is a bargain and as I know nothing else then I guess it must be.

The malls are all different and I want to go to The Hilton Shopping Gallery where all the designer stores are but Maisie starts complaining that she has got belly ache and is feeling sick so reluctantly we head back to our hotel.
We would like to return to Orchard Road before we leave for Malaysia but as we have managed to spend nearly 250 quid in 2 hours we’ll have to give that some thought.

We nip up the road for dinner, a busy and reasonably cheap food place and have dumpling/noodle soup and stir fried mixed vegetables. I feel like our diet has improved massively since leaving India despite the fact that we have eaten a fair bit of junk food and happily I reckon I have lost a few pounds- Hurray!
Its midnight now and I’m off to bed, we have a lot of catching up to do over the next few days and I’m setting both alarms to make sure our lazy arses are up by 8.30.

Sick Day

We set the alarm today for 9.30 and lay in bed listening to Chris Moyles on Radio 1 for half an hour. We have planned to visit several museums to day to learn more about Singapore’s history and I have been doing a bit of researching on the internet.

In 1819 Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles arrived here to make Singapore part of the British Empire. It then grew as a trade hub for South East Asia and the cultures of China, India and Malay Muslims all thrived here. In 1942 the Japanese invaded Singapore and ran the island brutally for the rest of World War II, infamously imprisoning foreigners in Changi prison.

These days Singapore is famous for two things, food and shopping. I read on a web forum that Orchard road compares with New York’s Fifth Avenue and I guess we will have to exercise some restraint there. We haven’t experienced a great deal that Singapore has to offer with regard to food yet. This is due to the fact that we haven’t been feeling too good and really haven’t been out and about much.

Poor Alister is really suffering with the shits; he has been up half the night and looks pale and ill this morning, with lots of belly ache. I feel so sorry for him and it’s so frustrating because we can’t go out anywhere at the moment. I have given him some Dioralyte and am considering starting him on some Ciprofloxacin antibiotics. These should only be given to adolescents with caution though as they can cause joint problems and I’m reluctant to start them too soon and decide for the moment to see how he goes for the rest of today.

We were hoping to cram lots in over the next few days as it is fairly expensive here and then move on to cheaper Malaysia but its is looking increasingly unlikely that we will be doing much today other than watching Singapore TV, which seems to be an endless round of reality shows, playing the PSP / Nintendo and surfing the net.

Simon decides to do some maths with Maisie who is extremely put out by the fact that she has to work “while Ali’s just lazing in bed”. She can be extremely kind but sometimes finds it hard to appreciate it when people are sick. As her ambition is to become a doctor I hope she learns a little more empathy for others before she is let loose on patients!

The weather is also crap; although it is very hot it has been raining solidly since we woke up. Watching the news it seems that these levels of rainfall are slightly unusual for this time of year and there has been flooding and subsequent landslides on other parts of the island. In all it’s hardly been a great start to our visit here.

Its 4.30pm, I have spent the afternoon studying, sleeping and even ironed our stuff. Some fella came to watch me and given our suspicions regarding the dubious nature of this place I wondered if he had a housework fetish or something!
Still I am so glad we are here and not still in India as it is so much nicer than the majority of places we stayed in while we were there and that’s really important whilst Ali is sick.

Spent the evening watching a film The Day After Tomorrow and then spoke to Shirley on Skype for a while. Although it didn’t make me homesick I really wished she was here, she knows Singapore well and I would love for us to go and have a glass of wine and a good gossip! Sometimes I guess you just need a bit of girl time!

Singapore Science Centre

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.


We took off from Chennai airport at 11.30pm on board a Singapore Airlines flight. Maisie was upset to find that her in flight entertainment screen wasn’t working. Neither was mine but I honestly couldn’t have cared less as I just listen to my MP3 player. Still I managed to look suitably disappointed when they came to apologise and what a bonus they gave us 100 US dollars as compensation!

The time literally flew by and by the time we had a drink, read a magazine and tried for a little sleep it was almost time to land. Maisie and I refused to eat the food on the basis that airline food is the food of the devil, but Ali and Simon ate it and don’t seem to have experienced any side effects so far.

The aeroplane started to prepare for landing, I was looking out of the window to check for “the thing on the wing” (Tales of the Unexpected early 1980′s) as I always do when flying and realised that we were flying into torrential rain. If airline food is the food of the devil then I reckon that planes are his transport. I don’t think I will ever accept that flying is anything other than a necessary evil to get you to the places that you want to see and as always I feel relieved when we bump down safely.

We complete our immigration cards and after clearing passport control collect our rucksacks. By now we’re all feeling completely shite, it is 3am India time and as Singapore is 8 hours ahead of the UK its 6am here. We make our way towards the taxis but stop off on the way for some caffeine and free internet.

The taxi driver tells us it has been raining for 5 days and although it is boiling hot it is very humid and overcast. My first impressions of Singapore are that it is a slightly futuristic looking place. The drive to our hotel is so smooth and almost silent with none of the racket of the roads of India. The high rises are very impressive and modern looking and everywhere is unbelievably clean.

We arrive at our hotel and the driver charges us 19 Singapore dollars. (Around 6 quid) and the exchange rate is about one pound to every three dollars.

The hotel is called The Madras Hotel and is in the area of Little India, we chose it mainly based on cost and despite the fact that it is at the budget end of the market in Singapore, it is one of the best places we have stayed in so far with clean rooms, hot water, telly, washing machine, tumble dryer and best of all free wi-fi connection. It’s great to be sat on the bed surfing the net and when it reaches 9am in the UK we phone home, talk to mum and use the webcam.

We had planned to go out and get some food but both the kids are completely exhausted and have been sick a few times. I’m not too worried about this, I think it is due to tiredness but we decide Simon will try for take out instead and by 5pm we are starving having not eaten all day.
He comes back with fresh steamed vegetables, sticky rice, a thai green curry and Peking duck and food never tasted so good!
We sit on the bed eating it with chop sticks and watch American Celebrity Fat Club, Celebrities on Ice and Beauty and the Geek on TV – for now anyway Singapore can wait.

Heading to Singapore

ts 9pm and we’re sat in one of the airport lounges. I guess one of the things we have realised is that if you don’t ask, you don’t get and although we were told initially we needed an invitation to the lounge and it wasn’t possible for us to go in there, Simon’s persistence paid off and we are now sat in comfort having eaten complimentary sandwiches and drinking gin and tonics – hurray !

We spent some of the day shopping, this morning I wanted to buy something as a souvenir from India but we bought a lot of things when we holidayed here and we ended up with 2 cushion covers. Not very exciting but hey.

We then made our way to the post office and sent some stuff home by airmail, the packing of the parcel was an art form in itself and we watched as our gear was firstly rammed into a very small box, stitched into a thick sheet and finally tied with string. Whether it will ever arrive I don’t know but it only cost us a tenner and was money well spent (I hope).

We got in a rickshaw and asked to be taken to the snake farm. It would have made a good day out, as there was a children’s park and wildlife park also in the vicinity but unfortunately we were really rushed and hardly spent anytime looking at the snakes, crocodiles and turtles. A shame really but still, although it was a quick visit it was interesting and informative and we all enjoyed ourselves there.

We had our last curry and rice dinner in the hotel restaurant and our taxi arrived on time at 6.45. Already I am thinking of what lies ahead in Singapore and feeling so excited about going there. All we can hope for is that we love it half as much as we have here and in that case we’ll have a wicked time.