• 19 . 04 . 06
  • Continuing the theme of appreciating food, lunch today was at a fantastic Indian place called Samy’s. Five types of gorgeous and hot, genuine Indian curry, with fresh-squeezed lime juice to wash it down. Brilliantly, it was all served on banana leaves instead of plates, just like some miso dishes are served on leaves in Japan. […]

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Curries And Slings

Continuing the theme of appreciating food, lunch today was at a fantastic Indian place called Samy’s. Five types of gorgeous and hot, genuine Indian curry, with fresh-squeezed lime juice to wash it down. Brilliantly, it was all served on banana leaves instead of plates, just like some miso dishes are served on leaves in Japan. I could do with them when I go home – no more arguments about who does the dishes! The place itself is an open, whitewashed building with high-ceilings that looks like its from the colonial days and apparently used to be a gentleman’s club.

After lunch I wandered down to Orchard Road, which is the Singaporean equivalent of Oxford Road. It’s got a great atmosphere, with thousands of people milling about the hundreds of shopping malls and huge buildings. I spent a good few hours browsing around before capitulating and buying a T-shirt. I couldn’t not buy something and this one had “Nagasaki” written on it, so I thought it was appropriate.

Like all the others I’ve seen, Orchard Road is lined with high, over-arching tropical trees and plants, which gives the impression of being in the middle of the jungle, despite the six lanes of cars. If you imagine wandering through a natural, green cathedral you probably get an idea of the feeling of space you get when you’re walking down a road here. Like being indoors, but in a really huge atrium. Confined, but not. All of the footbridges are covered by vines and leaves, which really gives some of them the look of an abandoned ancient city. I’m loving the amount of space there is here and I’m sure I just stopped and stared a few times for no good reason other than to take in the feeling of openness. Another thing that struck me is just how multicultural Singapore is. England has a whole range of ethnic backgrounds and cultures, but they’re nowhere near as integrated as they seem to be here. It’s such a contrast to the homogenous nature of Japan, and nobody takes even a first glance at me, let alone a second, which is both a relief and also maybe slightly disappointing.

This evening was also a real treat, as I got to enjoy Singapore Slings in the Long Bar of Raffles Hotel, where the cocktail was created. Instead of fans, there were leaf-shaped paddles wafting back and forth automatically from the ceiling, mimicking the job that servants did in the past. Monkey nuts are at every table as snacks, and the bar is famous for actively encouraging patrons to throw the empty husks onto the floor. In a country where littering is a serious crime with big fines, it’s supposedly quite liberating. For me, it was just like my apartment! The hotel itself is massive, with something like 9 restaurants, multiple event halls and loads of shops. They even find somewhere to put the guests! Raffles is perhaps the most famous hotel in Singapore and is named for the so-called founder of modern Singapore, Sir Stamford Raffles. As you might imagine, the building itself is amazing and has retained the old colonial feel of its roots, with white painted walls and balustrades, beautiful fountains and lovely gardens. Tomorrow, assuming the weather holds, it’s off to Sentosa, a small island just off Singapore, for more exploring and some time at the beach.