Welcome to a new series on UrbanDuniya where I recount my first international trip, way back in 2004! In fact it was exactly ten years ago tonight that I crossed the line into no-mans-land at Sydney Airport and with it began my love affair with travel in the Middle East and Asia. Over the next ten weeks I’ll be posting my email diary entries from that first trip, edited only ever-so-slightly for public viewing!! I began my trip in Singapore…
I slept on the Gulf Air flight nearly the whole way to Singapore, until we made a bumpy landing at Changi Airport in the early hours of Wednesday. Arriving at the airport I took the first taxi I could, and ended up paying about S$35 for what turned out to be a luxury taxi. Ripped off, perhaps, but it was nice to be offered champagne on the way to the city! Wiser for that experience, I dumped my belonging at the Madras Hotel in Little India (lovingly booked by my parents) at 5am and went out for the day. I walked through the Singapore Botanic Gardens to wake up, then had breakfast at a small cafe on the shoppers’ haven, Orchard Road. Singapore was amazing – high tech and glitzy, clean, organised and fun. The rest of the day was spent walking around the city, catching some great shots of the city skyline. In the afternoon I headed to Raffles Hotel, then followed it up with a totally street-scene curry and rice at a small eatery in Little India. I ate with thousands of others who were out celebrating the Hindu festival of Deepavali.
On my second day in Singapore I headed to Sentosa Island, an island resort connected by bridge to Singapore. There I swam in the South China Sea and had my photo taken at what claimed to be the southernmost point of the Asian continent (although, in hindsight, probably wasn’t; consider that Sentosa Island is an island off another island, Singapore; if we’re counting islands as part of the continent, then Indonesia would be further south). Tired, that night I had an easy food court dinner at the world’s largest fountain at Suntec City, just out of the main centre.
After a two long, full days, it was back to the airport for my next destination, Iran. Tune in next week when I catch up with my first week in the Middle East, in the city that calls itself “half the world”.