Singapore is the last stop on our journey and somewhere we were all looking forward to. Anyone that has spent weeks in SE Asia and beyond will know exactly what I mean when I say that we needed some normality, cleanliness and, well, its actually quite nice being able to brush our teeth using tap water. But beyond a teeth groom Singapore is also one of the most advanced and modern cities/countries in the world yet it somehow retains its colonial charm and, after you have been a few times and seen beneath its sterility it offers up a real gateway to a multitude of Asian cultures borne from generations of immigration from all over the continent and world. With immigrants making up some 25% of the current population Singapore is a hot bed of amazing food and intertwined beliefs and people and whilst it is an Islamic country it is innately tolerant of all beliefs. Though pockets of society do exist in the form of China town and Little India. Both of which are incidentally the best and cheapest places to grab a bite to eat, to kick back with locals and to sip on a cold tiger whilst the humidity is kept at bay by ancient relic style desk fans clinging to a crusty ceiling.
We have been to Singapore a great number of times, perhaps twenty or so times in fact and so it was with a greased like ease that we slipped right into the tiny nation with an effortless bus straight from Malaysia via a quick passport stamp in Kotaraya II and then again in Woodlands.
Our time in Singapore was geared towards winding down, relaxing and trying to brush off the past eight weeks of travel whilst keeping with us a fond reminder of everything we love about SE Asia.
The first day was spent around marina bay which is one of the most expensive addresses in the world, far beyond our reach we decided to chill out on the lawn by the harbour and I figured some kind of climax was building. Turns out we had stumbled across the Singapore Kite festival (I was surprised that adults have kite festivals too) and so we made kites and tried to help fill a sky over crowded with some of the most bizarre looking contraptions ever. Jacks kite flew the highest and I reminded myself just what a fail I am at flying kites. Whilst the kids defied gravity I sank back into the grass and watched some opera singer bellowing out tunes Karaoke style and with a bloke who clearly never went through puberty.
The second day was rained off completely as thunderstorms and huge forks of lightening stole the show as they ripped across the black sky reminding us of the ferocity of nature. We observed from a distance.
Our third day in Singapore was a visit to the fabulous zoo, a place which I called in 2010 the best zoo in the world. And, still racking up the countless awards it continues to push the boundaries with its tropical rainforest setting, no enclosures and animals roaming freely around the grounds. Just a tenner entrance we spent some eight hours touching, feeling, escaping and enjoying the best man made safari in the world. I don’t want to under exaggerate the place, it really is a must do in Singapore and if you do nothing else, you must visit the zoo. Monkeys swing around freely, lizards, parrots, and every other half harmless animal you can imagine has complete and free reign. I got punched by a lima, Charlie accosted by butterflies (oo er sailor) and Jack scared everything off whilst Abi was scared of everything. The highlight of the day was seeing (just feet away) the stunning white tiger of which sadly, there are none left in the wild.
Home to some 2800 animals the zoo is a world leader in its field and real bench mark for quality. Chester Zoo (the best in the UK) is an embarrassing effort in comparison and the fact it charges so much more pisses me off to the point I might buy some new trainers.
The fourth day in Singapore was rained off again and we had planned to spunk a dollar paying into the best water park in the country. I am being absolutely serious, kids are like a dollar (fifty pence) and adults twice that. Instead we ended up watching Kick Ass 2 at the cinema and then having a little retail therapy.
And so though the end of the trip has been somewhat cumbersome and tired, the dream had to end somewhere and Singapore was where that dream ended. And in Singapore it rained.
So how do I wrap this up? Well, first of all I would like to thank the kids for everything, though this year has been easier than usual there has still been a good deal of times where we have had to push through exhaustion, whether it be from early flights, long days or searing humidity and heat. The little legs of the kids have walked hundreds of miles and achieved things I doubted were possible. But the biggest thanks from me, to them, all of them, is to thank them for the laughter. We have laughed so hard this holiday I have ended up in coughing fits (since Ive had a cough since Hong Kong) It really has been a real comedy fest of tumbleweed driven jokes and slap stick efforts. And that for me has reinforced the resilience I proclaim so loudly of my kids. There is a real trust from them in me, that every decision I make is the best one, that every step I take is in the right direction, and that every idea I have is the potential root of a grand dream.
To Gemma for believing in me, to Toby for his heart warming smiles and to Bekkie for continuing her altruistic ways in regards to her kids. To those that worked in the background such as June (thank you so much for everything x), Ralph and John and to everyone that has sent emails of encouragement and support along the way. To Terri for convincing me I had Bali wrong, and to everyone we met along the way who pointed us in the right direction and helped us out. We could not have done this without your help, support and we are eternally grateful x
And so that is that, big changes are coming in the next few months to www.thesummerholidayofalifetime.com and also to tinytrekkers.co.uk so keep an eye out for developments. But for now I wrap up the summer with a smile, a thanks, an exhausting breath and an itch to do it all again. This summer has been the easiest of all, but it has also been one of the most rewarding. Bonds have been created, strengthened and reiterated.
I think back across the amazing memories we have shared, and then look now at Charlie showing the kids a magic trick which is so obvious I cannot fathom the confused look on Abi’s face. Jack does a sly laugh in some poker face attempt at letting Abi know he has figured it out and I remember I know the most amazing magic trick!
Got to go…
Thanks for reading x