For the first time this trip I just checked myself into a backpacker’s dorm.
Yuck. I’ve gotten spoiled 😛
Despite being exactly twice as expensive as my huge private double with a balcony in Melaka, I suddenly have no privacy at all, no security, and the hassle of hitting my head on the ceiling while getting up from my 2nd-level bunk. Plus, the way the hostel described itself online was unbelievably misleading. They claimed to have 4 rooms of 6 beds each, but the reality is more like one gigantic room with cubicle half-walls dividing it into partitions. A 24-bed dorm should not be misrepresented as a 6-bed. That’s not cool.
So despite my excitement at arriving in a brand new country, I decided that one of the first things I should do was look for another place to stay. And although I may’ve failed to locate a reasonable private room, I did secure a bed at The Inn Crowd, a WAY nicer hostel just one block away. All I have to do is wait it out here until Sunday when the spot becomes available.
Whatever, I’m not in Singapore to work anyway so I guess the 24-person room shouldn’t matter too much – and a big dorm environment would surely provide a quick way to make some friends for my only weekend in town. It’s something I’d been counting on…and luckily, I wasn’t disappointed.
My companion for Friday night out ended up being a cool guy named Oliver, a TV producer from Kuala Lumpur who was here interviewing for work and a former student in Singapore who knew the city well. He suggested we head out for a drink in Clarke Quay, Singapore’s premier nightlife destination.
My initial reactions:
1) Good lord is that area awesome! Overflowing with people, easily as bustling as Lan Kwai Fong in Hong Kong, and very upper class. The bars and even streets are as posh as can be, everyone clearly dressed to impress. In fact, the area was literally overflowing with affluent model-caliber people out strutting their stuff. It could not have felt more different from Malaysia 😛
2) Good lord is Clarke Quay EXPENSIVE! OK, I know you’ve heard me say this before…but honestly, drinks here are quite literally the most overpriced I’ve seen ANYWHERE in the world. Easily double that in New York, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, even Oslo. Cocktails going for $50USD or more are not at all uncommon, a beer in the convenience store is about on par with a mid-range bar in LA, and a bottle of the even crappiest supermarket vodka is about the same as Red Label in a Bangkok nightclub.
I can see that partying in Singapore would be fantastic…but only for the wealthy (or financially careless :P)
Anyway, the night did offer a pleasant first-look at a totally new side of SouthEast Asia; Oliver wasn’t much of a clubber, but after nearly a month of isolation it was very nice to do a bit of casual socializing. We strolled around, grabbed a bite to eat, and connected with a group of locals at The Clinic – an incredibly wacky bar themed like a hospital, where the chairs are wheelchairs and the cocktails come in syringes and IV drips.
Eventually Oliver headed home while I hung around until 4, staying with the new crew from The Clinic before finally dragging my feet home and passing out.
Night 1 in Singapore: success…kinda 🙂
Note: These posts are behind realtime; the above took place on Friday, February 18th.