Winter Travels – Singapore (Day 4)

My last full day in Singapore and I had, I’m ashamed to say, a ‘Brexit moment’, whereby I ignored expert advice and did what I wanted regardless of the results. I decided it was going to be a ‘mop up’ day, dealing with anything I’d missed or not done yet. I’d read that climbing to the highest point in Singapore was something that was pretty good to do, like getting to the end of a section of the Great Wall – you can say you’ve done it!

The highest point in Singapore is a hill called Bukit Timah. It looked manageable, given I’m not an avid climber, nor particularly fit. Arriving at the park in which the hill is located, I approached the information desk and asked for a map. The man there told me there was no map he could give me – I had to take a photo on my phone of the information board which had a map on it – and that I should take the moderate route up to the top, and come back down the direct, easy route.

I thanked him, and then, as if I was one of the British government’s Brexit negotiating team, I decided to disregard this advice, from someone who knew what he was talking about, and take the easy route to the top.  Like Brexit, this was, it turned out, a bad decision, because although more direct, the easy route involved climbing a near vertical path, whereas the moderate route took a detour and involved some stairs, which were spread out, making it easier to climb. The moderate route joined the main route a little further along. Well, climbing up the vertical path damn near killed me. I took many breaks, drank nearly two bottles of water, but eventually, and with my life probably having been significantly shortened, I made it to the top.

After a very long rest, I went back down the main route, which was a lot easier. On my way up, and again back down, I passed an unusual sight – a man walking backwards up (and down) the hill, with a branch from a tree, balanced on his head. I don’t know the purpose of that, and thought it difficult to get a photo. He seemed to be having less trouble than me, so perhaps I should have walked backwards when climbing to the top, although this probably would have actually killed me. On reaching the bottom, I’d already decided where to have my lunch. In one of the shopping malls in the city, I’d seen a ‘DC Comics Superhero Café’. This was where I was going to eat and thought that after the climb, I deserved a hero’s lunch! But it was approaching noon when I arrived at the mall, and I was a little concerned that perhaps it would be busy, and I’d have to wait.

As it turned out, it was not busy. In fact, I was the only person in there to begin with. I had a very nice burger and one of the best milkshakes I’ve had in a long time, and then went to the top of the boat hotel, to the roof, to take some pictures.

I should say that as well as my holiday itinerary, and my guidebook, I’d also forgotten to get a memory card for my camera. By this time, it was getting full, and so I found a camera store in the mall, and bought one. In the photos above, there is a Ferris wheel, though I never saw it going around. Also, next to it, is part of (I think) the Singapore grand prix track. I think they race some of it on the normal roads, but some bits are specially built for the race.

After taking in the view of the city, from the roof of the hotel, I went to visit the National Gallery of Singapore, which is in the old city hall and supreme court buildings (which were next to each other, and have been joined together). This was quite interesting, although some parts were more interesting than others (there was an exhibition on traditional Chinese art, for instance, which I’m not that bothered about).

On leaving, there was a little rain in the air. I went to the food court nearby my hotel again for food, and then went back to the hotel to pack.

I really enjoyed Singapore. Yes, it was hot, and somewhat expensive, but I enjoyed the activities I did and adventures I had, even if they were not always perfectly executed or performed. I didn’t bother with some recommendations in the guidebook, such as Chinatown (I figured, living in China, there was probably nothing that I would be surprised by there; every day is Chinatown here). It was time, however, to leave and move to the next country, and next adventure – to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

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