Singapore was not really planned. In fact it was but later, it should be our final destination. The first idea was to fly to Bangkok. When we booked our flight tickets, we made a small mistake. We booked a flight from Taipei to Bangkok with a change in Singapore but we missed to booked our luggage for the second flight (we did not see the small arrow !). After, it was very expensive to add two pieces of luggage of 40 kg. We finally decided to stop in Singapore! No problem, we are flexible!
The night in the plane was short. We assembled our bicycles inside the airport. What a good idea! It was incredibly hot outside, 35°C! When we blew up our tyres, surprise! First puncture of the trip (if we forget the puncture of our inflatable mattress).
Here, people drive on the left side. To leave the airport, there was only the highway and it was forbidden. We took it on few kilometres. The city is not bicycle friendly. There is no bicycle path, numerous signs forbid parking of bikes but there is no bicycle park. Fighting your way through the cars and buses is not easy.
Our first step was at Raman and Jan’s home, a indian-chinese Warmshower couple. They were 69 years old. We spent with them 5 very pleasant days. With Raman, great cyclist (210 000 km) we talked about travelling and we visited the island by bicycle. With Jan we went to the malls and we tasted several dishes and sweets she liked.
In Singapore, Chinese, Malaysian and Indian people are living. These three ethnic groups constitute the current Singapore. So we were lucky to remind the Chinese food, discover the Indian cooking and have a foretaste of the Malaysian food! The three ethnic groups don’t mix together. Each has its own quarter in the city. There are also many business centers with impressive skyscrapers. Sometimes, it seemed we were in a architecture magazine. We were surprised to like some of them.
This year, the Singapore Republic celebrates its 50 years old. It owes a lot to a man Lee Kuan Yew, regarded as the father of the modern Singapore. After its Independence from the British empire in 1963, the island joined briefly the Malaysian federation but was moved away after political troubles. At the head of a small island without drinking water, Lee Kuan Yew made everything to attract the foreign investors. For example, he set the air conditioning everywhere. Today, from the road, we can feel the cold air exiting from the malls.
The economy of Singapore is based on high technology industries, trading with its huge harbour and especially on finance.
We spent the rest of our stay in the Romain’s house, a brass band friend of Gabriel, but as he was on business trip, his wife Marie welcomed us. This week was a rest for us. We almost never went out. We enjoyed the swimming pool, we enjoyed some cheese and saucisson with a good bottle of red wine and we devoured the books of their library. A real happiness! Inevitably, after we fell sick. Too much relaxation!
The last day, we joined Jeff, a cyclist met in Tajikistan to take the road toward Malaysia. We left Singapore on the 8th of November.