We took the subway to Chinatown.
I had to buy a ticket
The subways are amazing here. There are 3 main subway lines (and 4 light rail systems) that cover most of the country. A network of buses makes up the rest. Most people here do not have cars, and it's a fun place for a pedestrian (that is if you don't mind the heat and humidity).
The things you can get fined for in the subway
Note that technically, while the durian is banned on the subway, you're not fined if you bring one on.
The old parts of Singapore are a maze of tiny alleys and sidewalks, reminding me of Bombay.
Narrow alleys in Chinatown
That's one steam boat I'd have liked to have taken
Wonder what that shop sells?
My colleague had a lot of shopping to do, so I just wandered around. After all the shopping, we went over to the Raffles hotel. Of course, I walk in as if I'm a guest there (the room rates at The Raffles start at $800/night) and try to find the bar. And fail. We finally give up and go ask the concierge, who promptly whips out a map and draws directions to the Long Bar. Oh yeah, it's that sort of place. You need a map to get to the bar.
The inside of the hotel is just amazing. Redolent of the colonial era, with high ceilings, white-washed walls, rattan chairs... it was a little surreal.
Interior of the Raffles hotel
I guess they didn't want people to turn around and leave...
Back in the day, this was all the air circulation you got
The bar was also full of tourists, taking pictures of the waiters in their dhotis:
Now, I could wear that!
And the litter on the floor, since it turns out that in colonial times, the uppity locals just swept the crumbs from the tables on the floor. That tradition seems to have continued, although I wonder what happens when there's a large influx of tourists. Does the floor get ankle deep in peanut shells?
Apparently, litter is good
We finally got our drinks - the whole point of going to the Raffles in the first place:
The Singapore Sling
The skies then opened up and let loose with a torrential downpour, putting paid to my plans of walking back. I let my colleague convince me to take a taxi back to the hotel.
Yes, Durian is a delicacy