30.10.2007 - 31.10.2007 30 °C
Well the guide books do warn you about it, but you never can be fully prepared for the sheer guttral uprising that is the Singapore snort...
After a collective 20+ hrs of travelling (excluding waiting time in airport lounges) from Durban to JHB to Sydney to Singapore(dont ask) we arrived in Singapore at our prebooked hostel around midnight and were shown to our 30 bed dorm room for the night, confirming all fears that it was not a typo on the emailed confirmation booking slip. The good news was the dorm wasn't fulled to capacity. Unfortunately though you just could not avoid the sea of red steel bunk beds crowded into the small room.
To say that I was in a bad mood was an understatement! We weaved our way inbetween the beds, the streetlight outside lighting up our pathway to what we had picked out as our spot for the night ... 2 bunk beds tucked away in the far corner. They seemed to be the most inconspicuous choices furthest away from the action.
What we hadn't banked on was "Ol Rusty Toenails" - a local Singaporean who was in the bed next to me and who on closer inspection possessed the foulest, longest toenails known to mankind. These were sticking up out of the end of his sheets, about 1 m from my head. The other plus was the outside street light that was beaming like a spotlight aimed directly at my head. I would've closed the curtains but that would've meant straddling "Ol Rusty" so that was a no- go zone!
Just when we thought nothing else could go wrong Good Ol Rusty let out an almighty guttural snort that came from the depths of his bowels and sounded like someone had set off a chainsaw next to me. It left us with all kind of images as to what was actually brought up... and then swallowed again to repeat throughout the night.
What we didn't know then was this was the infamous "Singapore Snort" we were privelaged to be experiencing first hand with our 28 other roomies! Apparently this is perfectly acceptable, spitting on the other hand is totally off sides, so they just sluk it back down and wait till it wants to come back up again!
Alright - enough about that now... Once we got over the rage and lack of sleep, grumpiness etc. and moved out of our lovely 30 bed dorm we actually ended up enjoying Singapore. We ambled through chinatown and little india, strolled along the flash bars and restaurants lining the riverside waterfront (a tourist and expat haven), ate all kinds of interesting things like frog legs porridge, black pepper crab, breyani, dimsum, the chinese equivalent of biltong, chinese tea and of course all washed down with plenty of Tiger beer.
We also managed to find a classic pro gay karaoke bar in the midst of Chinatown called "The Cow and Coolie" which just had to be frequented. As we opened the door we were hit with the screams of some local Singaporean he/she wailing out a classic 80's love song - we duely settled down and ordered a jug of beer and just watched in amazement all the while struggling not to fall into fits of laughter.
It ended up being quite a trip, experiencing new and weird cultures - everything you want from your travels really, but at the same time we were keen to hit some serious beaches and without further ado caught a ferry to the nearest island in Indonesia - Bintan...