We made it through the gauntlet of flights and timezones with very little drama, albeit very little sleep. Tuesday night was a blur of election celebrations -- people, the state of Virginia went BLUE for the first time in over four decades, can you gimme hallelujiah? -- and last-minute packing and prep. We had to leave at the butt-crack of dawn for our 7am flight on Wednesday, so you can imagine how much fun that was. But we managed to make it on our flight to Chicago, connecting flight to Hong Kong, and layover to Singapore, with nary a hiccup. We even lucked out and sat behind a deadheading flight attendant who kept passing us surreptitious snacks from the depths of the plane's galley. And in a bizarre twist, seated in front of us on the airport shuttle to our hostel in Singapore was a guy named Joel from Arlington, who'd just taken the same series of flights and would be in Southeast Asia for the exact same amount of time as us. If we see him on the flight back I'll have to buy him a drink.
Got in late on Thursday night, checked into Fern Loft Backpackers on East Coast Road, and tried to get some sleep. Unfortunately we only booked one night, and they're full tonight, but David the owner is an extremely friendly and helpful guy and got us a spot at their other location downtown. We grabbed some lunch at a nearby Vietnamese place, and had a lovely conversation with manager Priscilla over a delicious claypot meal. If you're ever in Singapore, definitely seek this place out! Details below. Unfortunately we didn't take the camera with us (blame the jetlag!) so there are no pics of this delightful woman, but she was great fun to chat with. And the food was deeeeeeelish! Not just because it was our first real meal in about three days, either.
David gave us a ride over to Fern Loft River Valley, where they checked us into another nice room and booked our bus ride to Malacca tomorrow. We had some vague notion of wandering around town, but opted for a nap instead. And now, if we can rouse ourselves, it's out for some more of Singapore's legendary chow! We had a brief debate earlier about whether or not there really is any "Singapore" cuisine, but it seems as though the endless choices of Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, Vietnamese, and other Asian fare *is* the native nosh. Multiculturalism is what it's all about in this incredibly neat and orderly town. It's a nice unchallenging place to land and shake off the jetlag for a bit.
Fern Loft Backpacker Hostel, East Coast Road
693A East Coast Road, Singapore 459058
tel: +65 6449 9066
* near the airport and lots of restaurants
* friendly staff, especially the owner
* reasonably-priced, by Singapore standards ($40 for a private room/$14 per dorm bed)
* free internet/wifi, and there's a pub downstairs so it's a pretty social place
723 East Coast Road, Singapore 459071
Tel: 6444 5546
delicious Vietnamese food, extensive menu (with pictures!); and be sure to seek out Priscilla, the gregarious manager who loves to make everyone feel at home
Fern Loft River Valley
301 River Valley Road, Singapore
* walking distance to Clarke Quay and not far from Orchard Road
* same friendly staff
* a bit pricier than the other location, but roomier and sunnier
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