Thurs March 17th

I woke this morning feeling lousy. I had not slept much and had coughed constantly through the night. I had hoped to make it out to the Zoo today and to Raffles hotel and to Orchard Road, the main shopping area. It shows how bad it was when I looked at the clock and it was only 7am. Perhaps my body clock was a bit screwed up as well. Anyway despite my illness I was starvging so I couldn't have been that bad. I went for breakfast which was one of those serve yourselves affairs. Plenty of food but only luke warm. I managed a bit then decided to go back to bed and try and get a bit more kip but the constant coughing and streaming nose prevented any decent rest.

I decided to try and organise myself and update my website as I had neglected it of late. I had treated myself to a new laptop, or should I say notebook. It's one of those tablet-style jobbies which only weighs 1and a half kgs and has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The room has free Broadband internet access so there wasn't a better time to do it. However the brain was a bit fuzzy and so progress was slow. At lunchtime I decided I needed some fresh air and so I got a taxi outside the hotel and asked for Raffles Hotel. I thought I might as well have a Singapore Sling in true Hemingway style at the famous hotel, even if, as I had heard, it was £10 a shot. The traffic was fairly bad on the way there and when we got there I suddenly felt I couldn't manage a beer even, never mind a gin based cocktail and so I told the driver to carry on to Orchard Road. It's a good job the taxis are dirt cheap out here, and plentiful, although there are plenty of people taking advantage of them.

And so onto Orchard Road. A busy throng of people, some wandering aimlessly about, getting in the way, on a hot sweaty day. Did I really want to be here? After half an hour wandering I decided I wanted some respite from the humidity and an opticians caught my eye (pardon the pun). A free 3 minute eye test and glasses ready in 6 hours, all for £50. Well I know that my left eye is about as useful as a chocolate fireguard and that I struggle to see long distances so I thought I would give it a go. Sure enough the test was done, the prescription noted and I was told to call back the next day for the glasses. So quick and efficient. Singapore at its best.

Enough was enough after that. Too crowded, too humid, too tired. My bed was calling. Back to the hotel where I tried in vain to get some kip. I had even called into a chemist and got some cough medicine and throat lozenges to try and ease my symptoms.

Early evening and I was hungry. Can't be anything too seriously wrong with me then. I had heard about Clarke Quay so I got a taxi there. It was a busy little place full of bars and reataurants. The restaurants were those that were more suited for couples so I avoided those. I called in at a bar and was amazed to be charged a fiver for a small beer. Moving swiftly on I saw my eatery. Hooters. Well known for its good food!!! So I tucked into Buffalo prawns and a glass of beer (yet again a rip off). Having finished that off and having had a good look at the surroundings I decided to venture to Orchard Road again, this time to experience the nightlife. What a mistake. It took a while to flag down a taxi and then I got dropped off at Orchard Towers, 4 floors of bars I had been told. Well there were certainly plenty of bars, but also plenty of hookers as well, and also gangs of locals just hanging about. I haven't felt so intimidated in a long while. I caught the escalators to the top floor hoping it might improve but it seemed to get worse. Girls flashing their bras at you offering "goods for sale". I wonder if I could have got my money back if I hadn't been happy with the goods! I briefly thought I should have had my camera to capture the local life but then again I probably would have been relieved of it by the friendly natives. It must have been bad because I didn't even venture into a bar. In between avoiding the hookers, the gangs and loads of drunken irish celebrating Paddys day I managed to make my way to a taxi rank. Again a long wait before I could eventually head back to the hotel.