Another terrible night’s sleep, only napping for a couple of hours once again. Danny fared better but he didn’t get enough either. We gave up at 5:30 a.m., although I did manage another two hours after breakfast. We didn't leave the hostel until midday.
The weather was gloomy and overcast, with showers on and off all day. Thankfully it wasn’t too humid - I hadn't missed that part of Asia. We walked a little around the CBD and along the water, noting how much busier the city was today compared to last night. It was the first city we had come across where people in business suits outnumbered those not in suits.
For lunch we headed to a hawker centre, with every type of Asian cuisine imaginable under one roof (i.e. food heaven). Seats weren’t easy to come by; people were minding them with whatever they could find, including packets of tissues and their own shoes.
After lunch we walked back to the marina and along the river, past numerous empty, touristy restaurants. Danny tried durian-flavoured ice cream, which he said tasted like rotten fish. That didn't tempt me to have a go. We then split up so Danny could check out Chinatown while I continued my journey along the water. I walked through the Colonial district, a collection of charming, old-fashoined buildings mixed in with strange-looking modern ones. There was also a former cricket club building with a cricket pitch behind it, but now it seemed it was used mainly for soccer.
I then took a walk through Fort Canning park, which was beautiful and completely different from European parks. I had only been in there for ten minutes when a local man came over and started chatting to me. He guided me around, pointing out various places of interest. At first I went along with it as he was honestly interesting and showed me sights I never would have seen on my own. Then he started reading my palms, trying to balance my mind and heart with some sort of Buddhist ritual and wanted to give me a Thai massage. That was my cue to get out of there as quickly as I could, using plenty of excuses containing the words "my husband". I basically ran all the way back to the hostel. The man was probably harmless but I wasn't prepared to stick around to find out.
For dinner we both hit Chinatown, which was busy preparing for Chinese New Year celebrations. It was slow going moving through the crowds, but the atmosphere was energising. We glimpsed a couple of temples, structures we hadn’t seen in almost a year, and they were a welcome change from the thousands of churches we had visited in Europe. We followed the locals and ate from street stalls, ordering meals that were prepared directly in front of us and tasted amazing. After our gourmet dining experience we were in the mood for a couple of drinks, but we soon found that alcohol prices were ridiculously expensive. Cocktails were around $18, a pint of Guinness $14. We gave up and bought some slightly cheaper but still overpriced drinks from 7-Eleven and drank them in our room. Classy.