The most commonly heard question over the last 4 months, “are you all ready then?” The commonly heard response, “not really.”
I always knew that what would be, would be and the rest would sort itself out.
And after the longest raft of leaving parties/goodbyes/drinks in living memory, my liver was just about ready on departure day, even if my head quite wasn’t.
And here we are, at the end of my first day on Australian soil as a resident. Feels very surreal to say it like that, out loud, but I suppose that’s what I now am. Arriving here on my one way ticket (granted, a very comfortable business class one way ticket) it takes some getting used to the fact I’m here to stay.
So, you will see, if you are paying attention, that it is now Saturday and I left home on Wednesday. That’s because I had a great 2 nights in Singapore. I snoozed, dozed, nodded and maybe even slept a little on the way there, arriving in the Lion city early on Thursday.
I have been to Singapore a few times before and it’s a city I really enjoy due to it’s contrast of being a modern city that is a little rough around the edges.
You have all the bars, clubs and restaurants gleaming on Clarke Quay, yet on the neighbouring edges you have Chinatown and Little India, adding a little Asian authenticity and grubbiness.
One example of the modernity of the city is the “Singapore Flyer”, the world’s largest observation wheel, dwarfing the London Eye by some 40 meters. I took my first visit on this, enjoying views as close as the Formula1 track that circles it’s base, to vistas as far as the outer edges of the island.
A highlight for me of any visit to Singapore is the cuisine, and particularly the high quality north and south Indian food. Down on Boat Quay there are a few favourites of mine, most recently enjoying a very simple dish of chicken fresh from the Tandoor oven, served just with a garlic naan.
Such pleasure in ripping chunks of naan bread off, wrapping around a piece of succulent, tender, Tandoori chicken and washing down with an ice cold Tiger beer. And all at prices that don’t break the bank.
Day 2 had me doing a sightseeing trip of the city, with the obligatory visit to Raffles hotel, named after Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore. First time visitors should go to the Long Bar and try the legendary Singapore Sling cocktail. I say first time visitors as it’s not a drink that you could afford to have on every visit to the Lion city.
The evening was wrapped up in a Balinese restaurant where I had Nasi Goreng, a dish I had quite forgotten how divine it is. I first sampled it whilst backpacking through Bali, it became a staple of my diet, not solely as a result of the taste, but the price suited my backpacker budget also.
With the stopover done, it was now time to pack the bags again and head off for one last plane journey, to Australia, the place I first visited in 1994 and kept returning to. There was something that just drew me back. Was it the alluring smell of the ubiquitous eucalyptus leaves? Was it the wet t-shirt competitions in Cairns? (come on, I was only 24). Or was it just a love of enjoying the great outdoors in an amazing climate?
And so, after a couple of years effort, permanent residency secured, it’s time to see if the country Down Under still has the same draw for me.
Till the next time.