Only previously stopping in Singapore at the airport (Changi) as a connection point to further afield destinations, at last I have the chance to spend a week in this Sovereign State.
I am looking forward to be able to take some time to have a good look around, working, socialising and visiting the many tourist attractions. I am curious to know what makes this place so special and a beating heart of Asia.
Apprehensively I board the plane, knowing that when it is time to get off, I will be on the equator and be greeted with 30-degree heat and 100% humidity. I am not prepared for this and my mind wanders ahead to the how I will manage to run the local Parkrun on Saturday morning.
Upon arrival, I make my way down town in a taxi to The Stanford Hotel. A high-rise block right in the middle of the city. The views from my 63rd floor room give a birds eye opportunity to survey my surroundings and determine where I want to go.
I take a walk outside and am immediately drenched in sweat. The only option is to take a beer in a local bar. I stumble across the Raffles Hotel, it looks like it belongs to another place in another era. Not a blade of grass out of place and well-groomed gardens surrounding a stunning building. Next time I will stay in this place.
Onwards to a bar, the beer brought to the table in an ice cold bulbous container and left for you to dispense until all gone. It tasted so good. Something quite special to quench my thirst in this hot steamy city. The plan was not to overdo it, as in the morning I would be running the Singapore Parkrun.
A few more beers followed, I soon found out that there were many bars at the top of the high rise hotels. As night fell the views over the lit up city were stunning and the sense of party time had begun. Everyone is dressed well and seems to be enjoying themselves in a very controlled manner.
Saturday morning arrived and I jumped into a taxi and headed east to the park. I saw the familiar banner signalling the starting point of the Singapore Parkrun. It was early in the morning and the moon was still high in the sky as around 50 people lined up for the usual Saturday morning shuffle. The course was a straightforward out and back by the waterfront. I set off at my usual pace only to find the humid heat slow me down only one kilometre in. It was going to be tough. I focused my mind on the ships out at sea as well as the skyline of modern buildings. Two kilometres in and my kit was drenched, having nothing to lose, I dug deep and hung on until the finish. Another one to add to the ever-growing list of Parkruns.
I decide to jog back to the city, through the park with many more joggers and am greeted with a view of the Marina Bay Hotel. I stop and stare for a while, lost for words and taking pictures. I refocus and look down at the bay from the Marina East to see the Dragon Boat racers preparing to race, with the backdrop of the Singapore Flyer.
After a freshen up, am off to walk around. I am unsure as to where everyone is. The streets are deserted. Never mind, I stumble upon the Formula 1 street circuit with the bay and ArtScience museum in the background. This I soon realise is the Bay Area.
Night time involved more drinking in the roof top bars overlooking the city. There is certainly a cool vibe to this place.
Sunday arrives and I discover the national pastime of shopping. The malls are full of people and I also discover why there are no people out walking the streets. All the malls are connected with air conditioned subways.
I explore further by jogging and do a full lap of the bay area. The Esplanade, the Gardens by the Bay, Waterfront Promenade, The Merlion, and the Bay Hotel greet me on my 5 km non-stop sight-seeing run. This is something I continue to do day after day. I look on in amazement at the stunning architecture. With each turn of the corner I am greeted with tourists taking selfies of the many iconic buildings.
The week progresses and I start to work and socialise with real local people, I have the opportunity to try Chilli Crab which is a fabulous local dish, I am also introduced to the delicacy of the Dorian fruit. After three tastes, I warm to its subtlety and greeted with acceptance by the Singaporeans.
Great place to visit and hope to go back again.