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Happy New Year!

For me, New Year’s Day is usually spent just relaxing and enjoying the last day of the holiday period before the regular weekly routine begins again. However, today was different.

It began with breakfast in our hotel at 8am, which was quite western for the most part, allowing everyone to help themselves to eggs, bacon, toast, waffles, beans and all the rest, as well as a more French style with various types of cheese, ham and bread. For Mel and I though, it was a greasy fry-up!

At 8.30am, we left the hotel in a tour bus for a half-day tour of the city. It included stops at various places, including the Westernised area of the city, China Town, Little India, a factory which makes pictures out of semi-precious stones and the National Orchid Garden. For me, the Buddhist Temple in China Town and the Orchid Garden were the most interesting places, but I don’t have time to go into detail for the reasons why.

We returned to our hotel around 1-2pm and found ourselves quite tired. The 80-90% humidity and 25 degrees heat probably took its toll on us (plus the fact I never slept the night before).

After our doze, we waited in the lobby of our hotel to picked up once again by a coach, this time taking us to the Night Safari at Singapore Zoo. We were told by a local it’s not to be missed. It was very good, but if I was to choose between a daytime or a night visit, I’d go for daytime. Having said that, it is a unique experience, especially when coupled with the zoo’s ‘openess’ idea where none of the animals are caged, but are separated with dry and wet moats, except for some cats like the tigers, servals, etc, which are kept behind glass.

We have some nice memories, but most of the photographs turned out quite useless because there was little or no light and no flash is permitted. I tried my best, using a high ISO, large aperture, and slow shutter speed, but it wasn’t enough. It was too dark to autofocus, but it was also too dark to focus manually because you could hardly see what you wanted to focus on.

Some highlights for us included the walk-in enclosure of Flying Foxes, the Barking Deer, the Leopards, Malayan Tiger and a few others.

We arrived back at our hotel around 11pm, but rather than go in we went for a walk up Orchard Road as it seemed to be buzzing with life. It could very well be called Oxford Street, as all the designer labels and high street brands found in the UK are represented. Topshop, Zara, Maxx, Mango, Gucci, Valentino, Prada, etc, etc, along with the usual McDonalds, Burger King and Starbucks (and yes, we stopped in for a mocha)!

Tomorrow is our last day in Singapore, and hopefully it will be as enjoyable as today!