We’ve certainly been enjoying the delights of Singapore in our first two weeks here, as well as getting all the legalities completed. It’s so efficient here – 45 mins to get our visa passes, a process that took a foot of paperwork and 10 hours in Bangalore, for a stamp in the passport. Here you get a card with your photo and fingerprint on it. It’s such a breath of fresh air. The bank also gave me a special bank card which gives me discounts and loyalty schemes across the city, proving useful when joining the library and receiving a $10.50 fee waiver.
So what has our exploring involved? Well, lots of malls. There are so many malls here! There are 103 malls in Singapore, that’s one for every 53,000 people living in Singapore.(2015 figures, so may be more now). There are six ‘main’ malls in Bangalore (and one of those is a building site). Zahra enjoyed the Candylicious store at Vivo City. A huge sweet store guaranteed to rot your teeth and send your children wild. Great world city is a smaller mall with a cinema which we have visited twice. The Aircon can be quite artic though so lesson learnt after freezing on the first trip and warm clothes and wraps donned for the second trip. We went up to Yishun mall so Zahra could familiarise herself with the MRT trip to school and bus depot. It’s a good job we did as that is also a big mall and not so easy to navigate initially. We’ve also been to NEX mall, nearest to our new home. This is a maze of a mall but worth exploring as we found the kids water park on the roof as well as the library (which we joined, for an annual fee of $42.50) and immediately borrowed 8 books. Zahra was impressed there was a whole comic section. I think she’ll be making good use of the library. There’s also a cinema in NEX and a Lego store, both of which will be well frequented by us.
I met an elderly Singaporean gentleman in the Lego store. A retired maths teacher. He chatted to me for quite a while whilst his grandchildren explored the store. He recognised my British accent and decided to tell me how he had received an offer from Liverpool University (engineering) in his youth but decided to study in Singapore (maths and physics) instead. He then became a teacher yet longed to be an engineer. I told him that his lasting impact on society as a maths teacher would be appreciated by everyone and there should be nothing to regret. He stood up and gave me a hug, which took me by surprise. I’m not sure of the social etiquette yet in Singapore so I didn’t know how to respond. I simply thanked him again for his contribution to society and said my goodbyes.
It’s not all been malls though. We have ventured further afield and completed a long walk around MacRitchie Reservoir with our news friends Patty and Mark and their children. For some unfit people it was quite an achievement and we were shuttered at the end of it. 3 years of a security driver has meant we have merely got in and out of a car and not walked anywhere. Here in Singapore we’re regularly and easily reaching between 5-10,000 steps a day. We’ll soon get fit again (after the initial excitement of trying all the new food has worn off!). It was a lovely walk and our goal is to be able to do the tree top trail too, when we’re a bit fitter.
Zahra and I also found the Philatelic Museum of Singapore. This was very interesting with the history of the post office and stamps from around the world. They even had some Penny Blacks for sale in there (super expensive). It was a good afternoon out. We walked passed the cathedral on the way but have yet to venture inside. It looked very impressive from the outside.
We also found Smiths Fish and Chip shop in Newton for some traditional British fayre. It was delicious; a real treat.
We’ve had a great time using the MRT and exploring. More to come still. What a great start to our time here in #SensationalSingapore!