Hated it. I was in the city doing some last-minute Christmas shopping and trying to pick up some currency for a trip to Singapore after Christmas.
I remember now why I prefer to do everything on the Internet. I walked around for an hour waiting for the bank to open, and when it did, I found myself in line behind this guy who took about 45 minutes to complete some super-complicated hi-finance Forex transaction for like a hundred and fifty bucks. ￼
At one point, I grew so frustrated I left that bank and walked to another bank, only to discover it wasn’t a real bank branch but a commercial office. Why not just go to a money changer, you ask? Hmm. Why not, indeed? Possibly the migraine I had by this point short-circuited my rationality.
Allow me to introduce you to the concept of Idée fixe.
So, I walked back to the original bank, and after an hour or so, I got to the counter only to find they wouldn’t let me PayWave. No hard plastic? No sweet, sweet dinero for you, my friend.
I went from that failure to the Crumpler store, hoping to buy myself some new carry-on luggage instead of stinking up the cabin with my gym bag. But Crumpler was closed until 11 am.
Popped into another place to get Jane’s Christmas present. Naturally, they did not have it.
Finally, I had to self-medicate with this Italian ricotta cake and a cup of tea at Strauss. I suppose that’s something I couldn’t do on the internet.
You know that they have credit cards, the internet and ATMs in Singapore, right?
I can't remember the last time I took foreign cash with me on board an aeroplane, back to its country of origin. The last two trips I never did bother acquiring hard currency at all: all local exchanges took place with plastic or phone. Previously I'd just grab some cash at the first ATM I came to, but that hasn't been necessary for years.
That is a very fine looking tea and cake though. Need some afternoon tea, now.
I am finding more and more the real world more and more disappointing
I highly recommend Wise for managing currencies and transactions while travelling. It worked particularly well in Singapore, with the best conversion rates, most minimal transaction fees (including ATMs) I’ve ever experienced. Depending on your plans, give Pulau Ubin a go. The area around the ferry terminal to get there at Changi Village is also a great little area - a green leafy alternative to Singapore’s urban areas, but still with some awesome hawker stalls, restaurants and a great brewpub/beer garden.
While I do sometimes go into the office, which is on Edward St near Central, I find myself sourcing lunch from one of the places on Wickham or Astor Terrace or else go sit in the cafeteria in the Metropole. So seeing something like that ricotta cake at Strauss is inspiring. Of course I'd have to walk down the hill, and then back up it again.