We took a red-eye from Dubai to Singapore on Singapore Air, which is now my favourite airline. Even in economy, the flight was actually pleasant!
When we booked the flight, I was surprised at the selection of meals they had available – everything from specific allergies, to religious meals, to non-carb, and of course, vegetarain. The flight attendants were all very friendly (and have some pretty nice uniforms, too). And the seats were well-designed… there’s a cup-holder for your drink, a small mirror embedded in the tray table, and the entertainment system had a cool second-screen display on the remote. Considering it was an economy flight, this is the best food we’ve had, the largest pillows & blankets, and the most leg room. If you have the chance, I highly recommend flying them.
Singapore feels really easy to me. I know this is partially because I’ve been here before (unlike Dubai or Cape Town), but also because its so clean and safe, easy to get around, and everyone speaks English. I’m particularly impressed with the metro, which is very cheap and easy to use – we went across town for less than $1 and the driverless trains are always perfectly punctual. People even stand back and let others exit before getting on! So civilized!
We started our visit by staying near Orchard Road, which is the main shopping street. After Dubai, I didn’t really need any more mall time, but there were also lots of dance classes in the area, cinemas, restaurants, etc., plus easy access to many other parts of the city.
I jumped at the chance to go see Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (the latest Tim Burton film). The Chinese subtitles were only slightly distracting, and the large cinema had really nice reclining seats with headrests. I loved the film and would like to pay a visit to wherever Miss Peregrine shops. While Singapore is far from being a cheap city, we later relalized we paid less than $13 for the 2 tickets, so it was nice to learn that not everything is expensive here.
We met up with a former Apple colleague who lives in Singapore. It was great to see him and meet his wife. They took us for our first “hawker center” experience. Its basically a bunch of food stalls – kind of like if food trucks never moved – so you have access to all kinds of tasty food for very reasonable prices. Satay (aka “meat on a stick”) is very popular, plus there’s Indian, Japanese, Chinese, etc. And its all very affordable.
And then there was a stall which sold “cold desserts”, which sounded very appealing in the extremely muggy weather. This turned out to be shaved ice with all sorts of strange toppings, including corn, red beans, coconut milk, etc. After the third bite of indistinguishable gummy stuff, The German declared he’d had enough.
We followed it up with a drink at the sister bar to a place we loved in Cape Town. It was Friday night and everyone was out on the streets. Its so nice to be out late and not worry about which streets we walked down or how we were going to get home.
One of the highlights from my last visit to Singapore was the champagne brunch at the Grand Hyatt. More than a buffet, they have 7 different cooking stations where chefs are preparing sushi, malaysian cuisine, british-style roasts, eggs, oysters, etc. The cheese table was an impressive array of imported cheese and accompaniments, and I could go on for days about the desserts, which seemed to run the length of the dining room. And the best part? Every time you took 2 sips of your Perrier-Joeut champagne, they were there to top up your glass! We stayed for hours, then took tipsy selfies on the way back to pass out at the hotel.
Now we’ve moved into an incredible house in a residential part of the western side of the city. Some American expats that I found through Trusted Housesitters needed a dog and cat sitter for 10 days. We were pleased to discover that not only are the people and the animals very nice, but the house is a gorgeous modern home with a pool table, small swimming pool and blazingly fast wifi, plus its just a short walk to the metro.
I think this is going to work out just fine…