Another 2 days off, more things to update the world about.
On Monday I went to the Singapore Botanic Gardens which were lovely, but there’s not a lot I can write about them here because, due to time constraints and the fact that I was really hungry, I didn’t stay that long. The Gardens cover over 74 hectares of land, so even if I was there all day I doubt I would’ve seen all of it. I did however get enough of an impression to know that I really want to go back, if only to find the Swan Lake and to see more weird trees. The tropics have a lot of weird trees. I saw enough of the gardens, however, to confirm for me a suspicion I held over from the Marina Bay Gardens, that the Singaporeans really love their unnecessarily large statues.
The result of all my walking around on Monday was that my shoes gave up the ghost, and so yesterday I set out to try and find some more. After some brief online research I decided to set my course towards Bugis and its legendary shopping district Bugis Street. I wasn’t really sure what to expect but it pretty much blew my mind. Imagine trying to stuff Camden Market into House of Fraser and then put the whole lot on drugs and you’ve more or less got Bugis Street. It’s basically a three-storey covered market selling pretty much any fashion item you could want, and at reasonably low prices.
Bugis MRT station was built in the 1980s on the site of the legendary Bugis Street, famous for its hawker stalls, inebriated sailors and soldiers and ‘the sisterhood of transvestites’ who entertained them. All of that is now long gone, and in its place stands the modern day Bugis Street, its colourful past probably attributing somewhat to its lively atmosphere. Anyway, I digress slightly. The main reason for my visit to Bugis Street was to try and buy some new sandals but, it turns out, this was a surprisingly difficult task. It seems that my feet are freakishly large by Singaporean standards, and every time I found a pair I liked and asked if they had them in my size I received some perplexed and horrified stares, and a lot of head shaking. Despite the failure of my shopping trip I really enjoyed visiting Bugis Street, and wandering around under the colourful lights and randomly blaring music was a good way to waste an hour or two. Although I was less than impressed that the horror-show that is the song ‘All About That Bass’ has infiltrated this far into Asia.
After failing to find what I wanted at Bugis Street I decided to try my luck in Bugis Junction, the shopping centre opposite. I don’t think I was entirely prepared for how massive it was, and it took me a good 15 minutes to find my way out when I wanted to leave. There is something both comforting and disconcerting about finding so many English shops in the heart of Asia, and on my hunt I visited Dorothy Perkins, Topshop, Accessorize and New Look. With the rain pouring down outside it was almost like being back in Basingstoke! Even more disconcerting was the fact that, while wandering through Bugis Junction, I came upon a pop-up food shop selling produce from around the world. I was suddenly confronted with shelves and shelves of Dorset Cereals, Essential Waitrose products, Walkers Crisps, soda water and Scottish Shortbread. It’s a little sad to think that this is all we’re reduced to in the eyes of the world, they didn’t even have any tea and marmite.
The upshot of my day was that I didn’t find any shoes, but I discovered an amazing place to shop (even if I might never find anything in it I actually want) and I know exactly where to go next time I want a pair of New Look jeans.
Leah Out X