Arrived in Singapore…Oh my, this city is over the top!…

We’d expected the Vietnam Embassy to be guarded and much larger. As often is the case, many embassies are converted larger homes.

It’s spotlessly clean, low in crime, meticulously managed and literally filled with unusual shops, restaurants, boutiques and hotels that literally take one’s breath away. Although we’re not city people, it’s impossible for us not to be totally entranced by this magical place.

Upon entering the iron gates we walked this driveway to the Vietnam Embassy receiving fast efficient service.

Our flight was relatively uneventful from Denpasar, Bali to Singapore’s highly rated Changi Airport. We flew on one of the cheapest airlines on the planet, Jetstar, with a good safety record, but without even a glass of tap water included.

There were no pillows, no blankets, no movies, nor a nut or a cracker available for a cranky traveler. The seats are a little tight, but were leather and more comfortable with more legroom than on most US airlines

Desk area in our upgraded hotel room at the Scarlet Singapore, a boutique hotel, affordably priced. This is now cluttered with all of our extension cords and plugins. We’ll post final expenses on our last day.

In any case, our plane arrived safely without incident and once again, we were grateful for a good overall flight to another foreign land. Once off the plane, we quickly made our way through immigration, customs and baggage pickup.

The bed and bedding are extremely comfortable.

In no less than 20 minutes from touching down, we were in the taxi queue again without a wait.  Within a half hour we arrived at our hotel, The Scarlet Singapore, a Paris influenced boutique hotel, quite similar to the boutique hotel in Paris in 2014 where we spent two weeks.

We’d read that hotel rooms in general are small in Singapore. Once we checked in we asked to see the room we’d booked before having our bags moved. It was as tiny as a balcony cabin on a cruise ship. 

The French style furnishings in our upgraded room are typically in boutique hotels. 

I asked for an upgrade which we rarely do.  We can manage a tiny room on a ship, but the first hotel room we inspected was simply too small at 174 square feet, 16 square meters. For an additional US $344, SGD 435, we were upgraded to the sweetest Parisian hotel room one could imagine, roomy and with every possible amenity including free WiFi and free minibar.

The flat screen TV has multiple English speaking channels. It’s good to be able to watch world news.

After a good night’s sleep, we grabbed an 8:20 am taxi to the Vietnam Embassy to begin the process of acquiring the three needed visas while in Singapore including Thailand and Indonesia (for the upcoming second stay in two months).

I can’t wait to use the tub when we have a little more time in the morning. Few vacation homes have bathtubs.

Getting the timing to work is tricky when each embassy requires to keep our passports for a few days. The process is only applicable on weekdays. We’re here only until next Tuesday, not leaving us enough time to accomplish all three.

Instead we decided to apply for Vietnam (double entry) and Thailand which are most imminent.  We can apply for Indonesia while in Hanoi for five days starting next week. 

There’s also a spacious shower as well as fluffy robes.

The taxi ride was 30 minutes from our downtown location and surprisingly the traffic wasn’t as busy as we’d expected at rush hour. Arriving at the embassy a few minutes early allowed us to be first in line with our documents. 

We opted to pay the SGD 660, US $489 fees for both visas in order to be able to collect our passports and visas first thing tomorrow morning when we’ll be on our way back once again. From there, we’ll head to the Thai embassy to start the next process. If it goes as smoothly as it did this morning, we’ll be very grateful.

The room has adequate lighting and ample amenities.

Last night, we wandered the safe streets of Chinatown to scout for a restaurant. We found a cozy gourmet spot with a Michelin star rating. Tom’s full lobster tail risotto was delicious, but my 4 ounce, .11 kg slab of boney, Barramundi on a bed of greens was mediocre and certainly not enough for an entire meal. 

The complementary mini bar, restocked daily have everything we need. There’s even a bottle of Pelligrino in the fridge, my favorite bottled water. It’s safe to drink tap water in Singapore.

On the return walk to the hotel we stopped at a Seven Eleven to purchase raw nuts to fill in the blanks for me during our stay. In both Paris and London, nuts were a lifesaver for me when many of the items served in restaurants aren’t sufficient as a filling meal. 

After perusing menus of dozens of restaurants, we have a plan to try many anyway and see how they’ll accommodate my diet. Steamed or sautéed veggies, chicken, pork, fish and seafood will certainly work in any case. I’m not concerned it will work out well. More on that as time progresses.

Tom’s lobster risotto from Cato Restaurant last night.  He said it was delicious containing an entire large lobster tail draped across the top under a pile of pungent Parmesan cheese.

This city is conducive to lots of walking which we’re sure will be our primary means of checking out this amazing location. As for major sightseeing, we’re holding off until we get at least tomorrow’s embassy visit accomplished. But, we already have dozens of city photos we’re looking forward to sharing.

We’ll be back with more tomorrow, again a late posting after we return from the two embassies.  In a few hours we’ll be taking off on foot once again to explore this eclectic and fascinating city.

Photo from one year ago today, June 29, 2015:

A pretty restaurant on a corner on the Esplanade in Palm Cove, Australia.  or more photos, please click here.

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