Well Folks I have arrived in Singapore and it did not disappoint. As soon as I stepped off the plane I was engulfed by the warm tropical temperature that is my old friend. I have a real soft spot for the place, partially because it was the first place I had ever visited outside of Australia and also because it was the first place I had really visited completely on my own. Indeed as I made my way down the busy streets breathing in the thick tropical air perfumed by incense and lit by brightly colored lights I finally felt that wonderful feeling of freedom I once felt on my first visit.
The streets are packed with people and as the cab pulls up to my hotel I realise that this is a part of the city I had never seen before and it took a little while for the penny to drop but I soon came to the realisation that there were in fact prostitutes hanging around outside the hotel, even though they were only slightly less dressed than many girls you find hanging around Westfield Parramatta which doesn't really say much for my area.
I also noticed that the street had a number of different houses with very clearly marked numbers and what looked like waiting rooms out the front. So long story short I was staying in the middle of the red light district of Singapore and happened to be staying on brothel lane. My hotel ( I cant really complain too much as my travel agent paid for me to stay there) was ironically named the Fragrance hotel, each time I walked into my room it smelt as though someone had just farted. And I had a lovely view of the back of an apartment block – but at least I got free bottled water.
It was 29 degrees outside at about 9pm and I wandered the streets desperately hungry but oh so timid to walk in to somewhere – who knows I may have walked into the only brothel in town that looked just like a restaurant. I managed to find a place that was self serve, I decided on it simply because it was the only place that had a white person, albeit an older Australian man (I’m not racist but I just felt really out of place, there were men everywhere and they kept staring at me as I walked down the street) I managed to point to a few items on the menu and sat at a table by the side of the road and watched the traffic go past.
The next morning I embarked on a journey which involved me getting terribly lost as the red light district funnily enough isn’t included on the tourist map – wonder how all the dirty old men find out about it? I wonder if brothels have Facebook pages? I managed to find a nice little restaurant by the water after having walked for miles and had a tiger beer which tasted like heaven as soon as it hit my parched lips. I remember being told to try chilli crab so I thought I’d treat myself and order one, I am too ashamed to say how much money I spent on that crab, it must’ve been made out of pure gold for what they wanted for it. Don’t get me wrong it was delicious and I mauled it to pieces (thank goodness I was on my own because I made such a mess) I was lucky enough to have uninterrupted views of the water and a great pic of Marina bay sands while feasting (will include photo’s later as I am at an airport computer at the moment) Until an old German tourist obstructed my view with her bingo wings while trying to take a photo right in front of me, and only turned to say excuse me just as she was leaving. I sat there mortally embarrassed with crab all over my face.
After my meal all I wanted to do was sleep but I thought it would be best to keep walking and try to tire myself for the flight tonight – so I walked all the way to Marina bay sands which is a famous casino that has recently been built. My feet tired I headed back to the red light district and slumped down at an eatery with yet another huge bottle of tiger beer and Coca cola this time. Completely sunburnt by this stage I sat there minding my own business when this man sits down next to me and decides to start chatting to me. We talk awkwardly for a bit (his English is a bit broken but I manage to work out he’s Singaporean and an engineer) I was sitting there smiling and nodding and sipping my beer (slowly getting tipsy) but all I could think was ‘Please don’t abduct me strange man’ he was asking if I was married and was suggesting all this stuff I could do in the area and said he would take me to the beach. He was friendly enough but i managed to make an excuse to leave. He gave me his business card and as I walked off I imagined what would life be like If i said “Screw London I’m staying here with Phillip Tan!” and we can hang out drinking beer and I can smile and nod at everything he says even though I have no clue what he’s on about. Ahhh Singapore, next stop the middle east in transit before the big L! Looks like I’ll be arriving nice and red!