Self control is something many of us aspire to have. Whether it be the ability to say no to that dessert you really don’t need, resist against an an aggressive tailor insisting you come into his shop or finally, resist from exploiting a full service airlines’ minibar simply because it was “free”. In that last case, as we discovered last night and early this morning, self control would have been a desirable trait.
Stepping off the plane in Brisbane with a 4 hour wait until our flight to Singapore departed we wandered through the Duty Free Shop only to discover just how cheap duty free alcohol can be. With little else to do besides take advantage of this new found discovery we progressed to the departure lounge with a flask of bourbon each. What was intended to be a bit of fun and a nightcap for the plane ride ahead turned into somewhat more once we discovered what the true definition of a full service airline entailed.
The first round of beverage service began soon after departure at which point I asked what was available. My response after hearing the impressive list was a simple orange juice, to which the hostess offered one, and then a second bottle of vodka – nice vodka too (Grey Goose). It sounded like a challenge, and I was accepting it. From that point on the ‘request for service’ light was rarely off at one of the three chairs in our party as hostesses continued returning with freshly cut sandwiches and additional beverages.
Such service was a foreign concept to us and certainly nothing ever experienced on local ‘no frills’ carriers, resulting in effectively no sleep, full tummies and a hangover before we even landed our 12 hour stop over in Singapore. Hindsight as they say, is a wonderful thing.
Singapore itself offered a true understanding of multiculturalism. Simply looking around the train on the way into the city we were witness to a plethora of cultures and religions all happily coexisting, on the surface anyway. I am certainly not up to date with social issues in Singapore. With only a limited time in the city we decided to disembark the train at city hall, where we got lost and managed to (somehow) do a complete circle of a few city blocks without even knowing it. We actually managed to get right back to the same station, albeit through an alternative entrance. After that failed attempt we decided on catching a cab to Little India, which at $4 was about the same price as three train tickets for some late breakfast and exploration.
Little India was an interesting district which, in my opinion didn’t quite live up to the hype that I had read online and in guide books. Many of the shops were obviously tailored to a tourist crowd with a number of almost identical shops side by side with ‘3 for $10’ watches and other similar cheap fare. The smells from the herbs and spices of the markets and stalls was wonderful and we also managed to find a nice vegetarian place for breakfast. Having absolutely no idea what was on the menu the wait staff offered to give us a selection of dishes such as thin rice pancakes (I’d love to tell you what else we tried but I have no idea what it was). After then sitting and watching the crowds and traffic go by, admiring the order amongst the fast paced number of bikes, buses, scooters and motorbikes on the road, and the lack of visible law enforcement (which, after hearing stories of punishment for spitting gum on the pavement we expected to see police everywhere) we embarked on a trip to Chinatown.
Walking for a little while in what we hoped was the right direction, we got taken out of the world of Little India and were faced with a number of Chinese stalls, restaurants and gaming lounges – sounds like Chinatown, right? evidently not as we later discovered on the way back to the airport. Nevertheless it was a fun stopover and we now await boarding a flight at the massive multi-terminal Changi airport to Koh Samui, where our bodies will inevitably crash for many hours to recover.