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Singapore Archives

May 16, 2006

singapore sling sadness

for all of you considering one of the classic singapore experiences, namely having a singapore sling cocktail at the raffles hotel long bar, i wanted to share with you my own experience.

the hotel itself was beautiful, a classic restored colonial edifice. despite the tacky "drink specials" board outside written up in day-glo markers, i headed up to the long bar for my drink. inside, the bar itself was beautiful. elaborate palm fans made attempts at sending cooling breezes from the ceiling, the interior was dark and atmospheric, and it was generally a beautiful classic bar.

when i ordered my singapore sling, the immaculately attired bartender headed down to the other end of the bar to make my drink. that was when i saw the batch of other glasses ready, and then i saw this: the bartender poured a large pitcher of pre-prepared red mixture into a blender filled with ice, ran the blender briefly, then poured the resulting mixture into the glasses. i was then presented with one of the drinks, followed with a bill for about S$20 (around $12 USD). they didn't even bother to prepare the drinks individually!

if i'm paying those kind of prices (esp. in perspective of the usual cost of alcohol in singapore), i would normally expect the drink to be prepared from scratch when it's ordered. there seemed to be a slight medicinal tinge to the drink, and i wasn't too impressed by it overal. if you're looking for an alternative (and one that doesn't involve thousands of miles of travel from your home), i recommend the singapore sling at trader vic's much more highly than the singapore sling at the raffles' long bar.

the long bar is a world-class bar with a world-class reputation, so i'm hoping i just caught them on an off night. but after this, i'm definitely looknig forward to spending some time at the bangkok trader vic's in a few weeks!

May 17, 2006

welcome to singapore

i arrived in singapore on 4 hours of sleep after fighting my way through the holiday weekend travellers to get tickets on the overnight train from kuala lumpur down to singapore, and going through a customs/immigration exercise of sleep deprivation while trying to 'sleep' on the overnight train, clearly not something that was at the forethought of the people directing us to get up 3 times during the night for customs, immigration, and the many waits between the two.

when i mentioned to other travellers i met that i was planning to spend a few days in singapore, i heard a lot of comments along the lines of "it can all be seen in a day". never being any good at taking advice, i remained on my original 2-day plan for singapore, and had an excellent time.

i wish that i could say that i saw the new national library, the museums, and the major highlights on singapore. i did almost none of that, aside from a whirlwind evening tour of the city during my last night in town. instead, i convinced my roommate at the hostel that what he really wanted to do was come with me on to the tiger beer brewery, my favorite asian beer (and which happens to have originated singapore). 1.25 hours of public transit later, we were running to catch up with the tour group to hear every moment of tour amplified via a handheld megaphone.

luckily the tour ended not just with a photo opportunity with the Tiger Beer tiger, but also all the tiger beer we could drink for S$5 (around $2 USD) during 2 hours of loitering at the bar. ah, the classic brewery tour benefit! much more satisfactory than the heinkeken bewery tour in amsterdam, which is ironic given that they're both owned by the same company.

and then wham, a night of shopping (and a quick singapore sling cocktail at the raffles hotel), and off to sleep to get up early for the flight to bangkok.

the country of singapore and the people are both clearly prosperous, and it shows in the high quality of public services. while i heard a lot of noise about how there aren't as many "deals" in singapore as there are in the rest of SE asia, i found the prices overall to be quite low, and the quality of the goods being sold significantly higher than other places in SE asia. as a place to stock up on supplies (and take a well-deserved break) either before or after a trip to asia, i strongly recommend singapore.

ps. to maximize my geek-out time when doing the occasional bit of websurfing, i've finally done what most of my readers are going and signed up for bloglines to aggregate RSS feeds from the sites i like. great stuff!

About Singapore

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to gone living in the Singapore category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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