Wednesday, 10 June 2009

The First Singapore Evening, 2008

From Heathrow to Changi; from relative squalor to a 21st-century airport. I exchanged my unspent Barcelona euros to Singapore dollars commission-free, my luggage appeared in time and I could have caught a train downtown. I opted for a taxi instead: I was knackered and certainly didn't fancy struggling my suitcase through rain over the final leg to the hotel.

Not for the last time on the trip, I wondered at the complexity of my driver’s route to my destination. Did he know of one-way restrictions, diversions or bottlenecks that weren't obvious from a map? The tour certainly gave him time to spout off about his Europe experiences and to drive me past the prostitutes.

“Chinese,” he explained.

OK, my hotel was in the red-light district. I seem to have an unfailing instinct for that but he didn't have to go on about it. Geylang was also a fine eating area and I was ravenous, so, studiously avoiding eye-contact with any female, I checked out restaurants, finally to settle on the one closest to the hotel. The odd rain-burst made that seem wise.

Then off to a proper bed for the first time in thirty hours.

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