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Singapore, Day 14, Friday

Written on: Friday July 20th, 2007

A journal entry from: Elective

We arrived in Singapore late Friday afternoon, after another 5 hour journey. Getting across the border went smoothly, and I could feel my excitement building as we drove over the bridge to the island. First impressions were that of a very modern city, overflowing with life, and plenty of things to do. I wasn't mistaken!

After disembarking from the coach, we took our bags to our shoulders for the penultimate time (thank God!) and made our way to the road to flag down a taxi. The hotel we were staying at, The Royal Peacock, was in Chinatown, and seemed very pleasant. We quickly got our room keys, and left as soon as possible for the MRT (Mass Rapid Transit) to make the most of our first day. By this point it was already late afternoon, so we were rushing!

We managed to use the MRT system with ease, as it's far more organised than in the UK, and got on a train to Raffles Place for a boat tour that we had read about in our Intrepid information pack. The train station was right at the jetty, so we paid up for our tickets, and waited for the boat to arrive. It began to rain at this point, so we took shelter, and then quickly jumped onto the boat when it pulled up at the dock. It was only a brief shower though, and we didn't really get wet, which was a very pleasant change!

The boat tour took us for a half hour journey around an area which wasn't really made clear to us, but we passed the Fullerton Hotel, travelled underneath Cavanagh bridge, and then round in a circuit to see the Merlion and an arts and drama building that had taken on a very strange shape! It was interesting, and a nice way to see some of the many sights of Singapore.

We got off at Clarke Quay, under the recommendation of the driver, and had a wander around. Clarke Quay is full of multicoloured buildings - pastel pinks, blues, bright yellows etc. It seemed to be a lively place, as we passed plenty of bars, and stumbled across the Ministry of Sound nightclub, and the Kandi bar which is run by Hed Kandi, surprisingly enough. We also found an amazing dessert shop called La Nectarie, which did the most delicious dark chocolate raspberry gateau I've ever tasted! Sophie had an equally tasty apple crumble, and we became the eye of the storm, calm as the crowd around us surged about the busy streets.

We took the MRT back to the hotel at around 5pm, as we had a long night planned ahead of us. We met for dinner at 7, for our last group meal together, which Hannah had arranged at a Chinese along the Boat Quay. The Quay was absolutely beautiful at night, everything lit up and reflected in the gently rippling water. Once again, photos can not do this justice, but we did manage to get a couple of cracking photographs that could almost make postcard standards, if I say so myself!

We prolonged the goodbyes by heading over to Clarke Quay for some drinks with a few people from the group (mainly the ones we'd been hanging out with for the whole two weeks), but it was still sad saying goodbye to Hannah, as she'd been absolutely fantastic and bloody hilarious! We couldn't persuade her to come though, as she had work to do the following morning, which was a shame. Our first watering hole was The Highlander pub, where live music was playing for our enjoyment. Drinks weren't cheap, but neither did they cost the Earth so we were happy. At around 11pm, we decided that our next move should be to the club, so we made our way around the corner and got in the queue, which was surprisingly short.

The Ministry of Sound club was an assault on the senses. Not too expensive by all accounts, it cost us 24 Singapore dollars entrance fee, which included 2 free drinks (vodka plus mixer or bottle of beer). The main room was a bass-loaded, smoke-filled, hardcore house fan's dream. The music reverberated through our bodies with force, and we had to retreat upstairs to sit down and have our long-awaited drinks (the queues for drinks were a different matter to the entry queue!). There were several other rooms that we discovered along the way, and we briefly checked them all out before collapsing down into seats at the top of the main room. A couple of the rooms seemed pleasant from the outside, but opening the door allowed a thick cloud of smoke to billow out, and we realised that these were for smokers, and for us to give a miss. Aside from the main room, with it's revolving dancefloor, and free glowsticks (always good fun), we found another dance hall, complete with swirl designs all over the walls, hanging chairs, and illuminated chequered dancefloor, that was playing golden oldies like Prince, Madonna, and various other artists. We were enjoying the music, but felt extremely old when the others (all under 19) kept asking, "What's this song? We don't know this!", while we happily sang every song word-perfect! We retired at half one, leaving the youngsters (ha!) to party the night away for a while longer.  

We got back into bed at 2am, after filling ourselves with bottles of water to combat the imminent hangovers, and slept soundly until the next morning's alarm woke us up.