Singapore is all about two things - visiting friends and breaking up our journey. The last time we called in we stayed with friends and promptly became quite ill, apparently with food poisoning. Kaye spend the entire time in bed or being ill (except for a quick visit to a doctor) and Geoff passed out for the only time in his life- we really weren't a lot of fun!

Our friends wisely refrained from housing us this time, but they picked us up ant the airport and we had dinner together before they dropped us off at the hotel we'd booked through the net.

Zenobia was another triumph of net hype disguising reality - it was by far the worst hotel of the entire trip. However, since we were only staying two nights and it was situated in Little India, where we wanted to be, we stayed. Had we any idea of how bad it would be we would never have stayed there - it was as bad as the old hippy hotels of our youth.

With two days to fritter away in Singapore we walked down to Arab street to browse the material shops, then down to the riverfront, where there was a cluster of department shops. It just re-enforced that shopping isn't our favourite way to spend time. The weather was changing, so we scurried back to Arab Street, arriving just as the a storm hit. Lightning flashed and thunder cracked the sky open for the most magnificent downpour. Torrents of water flowed through the streets. We gave up, found a restaurant and had lunch out on the steaming pavement, under a dripping awning.

The stormed cleared as quickly as it had struck, and we spent the rest of the day wandering around Little India. We have quite a nostalgic love of old Singapore, with its somewhat run-down buildings and bustling eating places in the basements of apartment buildings, so we found the local multi-booth eating place and had a real classic Singapore meal, made up from dishes purchased from several stalls.

With our flight due to leave in the evening, we spent the next day at the zoo. I'm not fond of zoos, but Singapore zoo is one of the island's treasures - it is a great place to wander around, with lots of gardens and a quite peaceful atmosphere.

Luckily we decided to go out to the airport a bit early. We took the MRT out there, then had to catch the internal train to the terminal. We were in the correct place, but our flight was nowhere on the departure board. The information desk had no explanation, but directed us to Qantas, who very rapidly processed us through, telling us we had twenty minutes to get through emigration and to the other end of the building to board - the flight time had been put forward by two hours but the plane was running late, which is the only reason we had any hope of getting on. Yes, they had our contact details; no, we hadn't had any notification. Why the flight wasn't on the board was anybody's guess.

We raced through the emigration procedures and the terminal, made it into the boarding lounge, which was one of those enclosed ones that lock you in, then sat and waited. And waited..... no loo, no access to duty-free, bored. The flight was further delayed. Finally we took off, only about half-an-hour earlier that we were originally scheduled, for a late-night arrival in Perth.


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