It was like landing on another planet this morning when we arrived in Singapore from India. As the day went on I started to realise that we probably couldn’t have picked anywhere in the world to go that would be more of a contrast to life in India. The two really are chalk and cheese. And if India’s the chalk, it’s so, so nice to be surrounded in cheese!
It may sound stupid but the first thing I noticed was just how clean the toilets are here, for the past 3 weeks in India and then the 2 weeks prior in Sri Lanka, the public toilets have been places to avoid like the plague. But not in Singapore, spotlessly clean, with toilet paper and hand wash (I don’t ask for much!). It actually felt really weird leaving the toilet and not having some woman muttering at me whilst holding out a hand full of dirty rupee notes in the hope I would pay up.
The second thing to surprise me was the politeness of the staff and people in general. It was rare to even get a smile in India but here in Singapore people are welcoming, friendly and don’t approach you with ulterior motives. We were through immigration in record time and the airport conveniently has a metro stop within it. This metro is the cleanest, most efficient and easy to navigate I have seen in the world (so far), before we came here I thought Tokyo would be unbeatable but I was wrong. Nick and I sat there in disbelief en route to our hotel, it’s so surreal being surrounded by civilised, courteous and polite people after such a long time in India. It’s a great idea that India have their women’s only carriages on the metro but I have to say it’s far better when you’re in a place where women can co exist with men on a metro system without being in fear of them.
Unable to check into our hotel as we were too early, we decided to take a walk around the local area for a couple of hours. This is something we’ve missed over the past 3 weeks, it’s not really safe or enjoyable to ‘go for a walk’ in India. It’s too busy, loud and dirty. Not to mention you won’t get very far before someone tries to rip you off. So going for a walk in this immaculate, modern and civilised country (that doesn’t make you share the payments with wild animals) really was a breath of fresh air for us.
The streets are so calm and quiet and there’s not a single piece of trash in sight. As strange as it sounds we genuinely found it weird to see people driving cars. We have become so used seeing roads with a blend of tuk tuks, bikes, buffalo pulled carriages and the odd strolling cow or herd of pigs. The fact they were driving within their lanes and without the horn constantly pressed was equally as strange. I even walked up to a zebra crossing and was genuinely shocked when a car stopped to let me cross.
Once checked into our hotel we decided to take a nap. We’d flown here over night with a connecting flight (that we nearly missed!) so have had very little sleep. I also had no sleep the night before due to India’s Delhi Belly finally catching up with me so bed was very welcome. And what a bed it was, oh my god this this is the comfiest place to be in the world. We decided to splash out a bit on this hotel due to staying in some real holes in India and Sri Lanka. It was supposed to be around £1200 for the 5 nights but with some discounts and use of our hotels.com rewards we got it down to £350 🙂
It was £350 very well spent, it’s a close call with the Atlantis in Dubai if I had to pick the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed in. We literally ran around the room like kids in a sweetshop when we checked as we found all the little luxuries. Whilst the 55 inch TV, heaven-like bed, electric curtains and unlimited free gummy bears were exciting, it was amazing shower and clean bathroom I appreciated the most. Showering in hot water in India has been a rarity and I’ve really missed it!
After our nap it wasn’t long until Delly Belly had caught up with Nick. He woke up feeling ill and then spent the next 8 hours back and forth to the toilet with what must be the same thing I had last night. He was in a pretty bad way by the end of the night but did manage to get some sleep by about 9pm. It was at that point I started feeling rough again and I have a feeling we may both be stuck in this bed all day tomorrow. :(. I couldn’t pick a better bed to spend the day in though. Silver linings and all that 🙂