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Friday, August 28, 2015

World's Most Expensive City

Singapore, deemed "worlds most expensive city" was a two day stop over for us before we headed on to complete our Southeast Asia travels in Vietnam. While on the surface everything IS expensive here, ie fancy restaurants, top notch hotels, and shows galore, when you look a little closer there is so much to do and see that even the most budget minded backpacker can enjoy this city in its finest. After doing some research, Brandon and I chose the neighborhood of Little India to stay in, cheap, loaded with Indian food, and close enough to the city center that we could walk. We stayed in our first hostel of the trip and had more fun than anticipated.

Roti Canai, one of our favorite Indian dishes 
After an extremely stressful flight from Indonesia to Singapore (see asterisk below*), Brandon and I took the subway that dropped us a half kilometer from our hostel, with directions provided by our accommodation we walked only 5 minutes and found The InnCrowd. Being a little weary of staying in a dorm with 8 others, we knew it would be a good experience (and it was all we wanted to afford). We threw our bags in the storage room spoke with the hostel staff about services they offer and were informed that they had a free tour of the city at 6 pm that evening. We signed up and set off to explore Little India and eat as much roti as we could before arriving back at the hostel for our tour, scooter tour apparently. Being extremely active, a scooter was NOT something that has ever been in my back pocket of things I'm good at. I've never even ridden one and we were going to be scooting for 15 kilometers, thats roughly 10 miles!

For the next 5 hours we toured the city taking in the sights, the light shows and water shows, an amazing art museum, and eating the famous Singapore chicken rice. The tour was (and I don't say this lightly) one of the best things we've done in our 5 months of traveling. Our guide was fantastic, the city is beautiful, and the scooters were awesome. Brandon and I couldn't stop laughing the entire time. We arrived home completely exhausted, and slept straight through the night without any bother from our dorm mates.

Light show at Gardens By The Bay
The next day was filled with more exploring and researching our upcoming trip to Vietnam. With only two nights in Singapore we wanted to do it right so we looked up the best happy hours and decided to go with a wine bar that advertised all you could drink house wine for ladies from 7-10pm for S$20. That sounded like a good enough deal, and we would just pay per glass for Brandon. As we arrive at exactly at 6:59, we ask about their happy hour and we were told to go upstairs. Hoping that this would work out, we walk upstairs to a deserted room with loads of tables. The waitress brings us a menu and informs us the happy hours is free wine for ladies between 7-10 pm and men S$20 all you can drink from 7-9pm. Wait, what?! Did she just say FREE? As you can probably already guess, we were super stoked, we had essentially 3 hours of drinking for S$20 total. 5 or 6 or more glasses of wine later, happy hour was over. We happily pay and decide that Karaoke being HUGE in Asia was next on our agenda. We do a quick google search and walk to the nearest karaoke bar. We give it our best go with as many songs as we can come up with, John Denver, Eminem, Starland Vocal band. Until it's few hours later, and we decided it was time to make our way back as we had an early flight to catch. We stop by the only open Indian restaurant for a late night roti, make a new friend...

And that was our two days in Singapore.

*If you remember from last year there was a flight that went down in the Java Sea. The evening before our flight I checked the most recent news, and saw that there was a new flight the day before that had crashed. The plane was flying out of Indonesia and the article also notated that numerous airports in Indonesia are in the top 10% of most dangerous airports due to safety oversights. Of course, I continued for the next 5 hours to research this while laying in bed next to my sleeping husband. Knowing very well I would be flying from Denpasar to Singapore only 8...7...6 hours later. Upon further research I learned that the flight last year that went missing was flying the same route as us... and you guessed it, the same airline. Good 'ol budget airline Air Asia. I was terrified. After finally putting down my phone I tossed and turned the rest of the night getting no sleep, wondering if this could be it. I remember texting my mom the exact flight details as nonchalantly as possible, just in case.... you know. I still don't know if she thought that to be strange or not.

Come boarding time, and I am a wreck, I explain to Brandon how I got trapped in the downward spiral of researching on the internet. I went from airline safety, to crashes, to deaths and so on, and he looked at me wide eyed, not exactly knowing what to do or how to control me. We're now on the plane and I get prepared, or as much as I can for my inevitable fate. I make a few more texts, and kiss Brandon and tears pour down my face. Looking back I can understand that I may have been going a little overboard, especially for someone who has been on over 20 flights in the past 6 months, but I lost it.

Fast forward 40 minutes into our flight, we safely make it past the prior crash location (as I was tracking this on my phone) and after another hour or so we were safely on the ground, and the only thing bruised was my ego from my (slight) breakdown. As a side note I have flown Air Asia since then...

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