Singapore – Harborfront , VivoCity shopping plaza , Sentosa Island
Summary : Steve visits probably the largest shopping complex ever then takes a cable car to a crazy island to ride a segway
The day began at 9am ,we left the hotel and went straight for the MRT (what they call the metro system here) , $1.30 and a few stops and line changes later we were at ‘Harborfront’ , the location of one of the largest shopping plaza’s in Singapore , so big they called it VivoCity and this place really is absolutely giant – walking from one side to the other could easily take about 10 minutes and its got somewhat of a honeycomb layout to it , and its attached to ‘Harborfront center’ , another shopping plaza.
We began by going upstairs to the top floor to look at the prices for the monorail to Sentosa Island (sort of like a pay as you go theme park if you will) and then (of course) to eat.
The food court was huge , as to be expected from a giant shopping mall. It was really nicely decorated , in an old china sort of style and with all of the stalls looking like they were put together with whatever materials they could get their hands on.
It was sort of a brunch sorta deal and majority of the stalls were still setting up – I decided on ‘Chau Kway Teiu’ or something like that , essentially HoFun noodles fried in some sauce with some clams and veg. I approached the shopkeeper , whom i soon found out spoke pretty much no english whatsoever and only spoke mandarin.
“Chau kway teiu please” (in cantonese)
which was quickly responded to by “kwei teiu nmmmaaahhh?!”
I panicked and said yes.
Fuck! i thought to myself. Generally speaking , most dishes you order here with an exotic name are already spicy to begin with , when they ask if you want Chilli’s it is more like they’re asking “do you want EXTRA chillis on top of your dish we fried in chilli oil and garnished with chilli seeds?”
The guy then started exploding and shouting all sorts of stuff at me and holding up random leaf boats he had by the counter. I didn’t have a clue what he was on about , my mum cut in from behind and asked for medium for me (she was in the middle of ordering at the stall next to me apparently).
From here we went to enquire about the tickets to sentosa island , $60 for package A – whatever that was , we decided to get there first and then decide (you pay to travel there by monorail/cable car and then all the attractions can be paid for there)
We headed for the cable car station , which it turned out was through the mall and then through the other mall and then outside past some office buildings and up to the 15th floor.
And then off to the island we went , by glass bottomed cable car :X
Vertigo was not the word when the cable car floated out of the 15th floor of that office building and one could see all the way down through the floor to the people walking around.
Once on the island and after having a little walk around and such , i encouraged the parents to go onto the ‘Luge and skyride’ , essentially a half go-kart half toboggan thing which rolls down a hill and then you get a ski-lift back up to the top. It was awesome fun , they go surprisingly fast downhill – ignoring the huge BRAKE NOW signs and doing racing lines round the hill’s hairpin turns was great fun too.
The chairlift took us all the way back up, which was apparently quite a ways because it took what seemed like forever (it may have seemed longer because the sun was making sweat drip off my nose)
We took a break in one of the nearby cafes to cool off , air-con is a true blessing in countries like these. A decision to head to the ‘Underwater adventure’ thing – we hopped on one of the many free shuttle buses after being pointed in the right direction by an old worker woman sweeping up rubbish (probably in her 80’s or so). The underwater adventure was sort of like sea world , with many of the same creatures and such – however here they seemed to like to promote touching , with open top pools with fish , rays and small sharks to ‘pet’.
Even one of the tall fish tanks had a hole in the side which essentially allowed you to stick your hand in at a downward angle to touch the fish.
The finale of the exhibit was a overhead glass tunnel thing with a moving floor which slowly pushes you along whilst fish swim overhead/around you
Another shuttle bus and 20 minutes later and we had arrived at one of the island’s beaches , it stretched into the distance and was bordered by trees – much like one of those pictures you might see in a holiday magazine. The sun was blazing still but had calmed down a bit since earlier and was now probably around 33 degrees – the heat seemed more bareable on the beach though since it gave me the chance to take my shirt off.
We stuck around to watch a dolphin show , which was okay i guess but to be honest once you’ve seen the shows at Seaworld Orlando a few dolphins diving out of the water is kind of ordinary.
A bus took us back to the monorail entrance where we was going to head back to VivoCity when i spotted a banner with Jackie Chan riding a segway with his trademark teethy grin.
Now im a pretty happy guy on holiday but i cant really top Jackie chan’s teethy grin.
The offer was $10 (£5 or so?) for ‘training’ and a ride round the course – on a segway.
Ive always wanted to try riding a segway , it doesent seem to make any sense – how does it balance like that? how do you go faster? how do you turn? The money was worth it if only just to figure out how to control it.
Fair wait for in the queue and then we got our Segway ‘training’
“okay , stand.” he gestured at the segway he was holding upright
I stood on the segway
“lean forward is go forward , you try.”
I leant forwards and nearly shat myself when the 2 wheeled thing jolted forwards with all the grace of the incredible hulk trying to do figure skating.
“okay. lean backward is stop , you try.”
I leant forwards to start moving then leant back to try and stop – human nature practically forces the body to panic when you lean back and the thing you’re standing on starts to lean back with you, the segway jolted to a stop , i leant forwards to stop myself from falling back , it started moving again , i leant back to try and stop it again and it stopped… then started reversing at an alarming speed.
“lean to steer ok.” – i tried , it worked!
“ok you practice then go round the track ok” , the assistant had clearly had enough.
A few rounds in the practice area and i was off on the course , at some point i managed to grasp the concept pretty well and started speeding up – getting overconfident i started trying to do slalom along the dirt track – segway does not appreciate slalom – I crashed into a tree.
A little later down the track whilst doing donuts round some randomly placed black stones on the grass (trying to get the most of my $10) the segway starts making a loud siren noise – the light on the machine was flashing red… what the hell did i do?!
I jump off the segway for a few seconds and the siren stops.. i let go of the handle expecting it to self right itself and all that – it flopped to the floor. uh oh. i think i just broke a segway by being too awesome for it.
An assistant appeared out of nowhere and was like “ah this one out of batteries i think sorry lah wait i get another ok?” and dashed off.
The guy came back with another segway and i polished off the rest of the track , the finish area was in sight… when the old guy in front whom I had already passed once on the way somehow managed to crash into a tree , i tried to evade around him – he reversed and into my way.
Brakes are not the segway’s strong point , i crashed again – at pretty high speed too.
(see old guy behind the tree? he’s about to get crashed the fuck into.)
Took the monorail back to vivocity where we had dinner , I got to try a Deer meat dumpling , it tasted like pork and beef put together and was really soft – thats one more off my list of animals to eat. Dinner was hofun in soup with crispy chicken and some Rice with chicken and chinese sausage cooked in a claypot with watermelon juice for a drink.
Thats pretty much it for today , we walked around the plaza some more and looked at the crazy shops (there was a National geographic shop which had a box in where you’d pay $1 and you can go in and the box is at -4 degrees celcius and has a giant fun to give a chill factor of around -12 degrees or so – my brother had a go but i didnt really fancy it). Also an electronics shop which had lots of consoles and stuff laid out , held a PS3 controller for the first time – really light and L2/R2 are really weird.
Got a taxi home to the hotel and spent the last hour or so writing this.
We’re checking out tomorrow and then going to the airport to catch a plane to Langkawi i believe so this is pretty much it for Singapore coverage…