An added advantage of having children, who choose to work and live overseas (although sometimes there’s no choice if you’re an electro-chemist working in renewable energy) is that there’s always free accommodation when we travel to visit them. For this reason, we’ve been able to afford trips to Europe as well as New Zealand and, now, Singapore.

In fact, we’re currently staying with number 1 chronological son (number 2 chronological son, being the analyst-programmer as well as my personal tech support, advised against using family names or photos in blogs) and enjoying all that Singapore has to offer and, like most Singaporeans, we’re doing it all on driverless trains.

In Singapore, owning and driving a car requires a COE (certificate of entitlement) which generally costs more than the car. It’s a good way to limit the number and quality of cars on the road because, let’s face it, no one wants to pay thousands of dollars for a COE to drive a lemon.

Singapore is quite regimented, with fines for everything from sipping water or taking Durians (stinky fruit that smells like vomit) on the train to dropping lolly wrappers in the street. In fact, there’s a local joke that Singapore is a ‘fine’ city. But you can walk the streets safely at any time of night and it’s definitely very clean. Apart from the airport guards, the locals are friendly and, on the surface at least, everyone seems to get on with everyone else.

So far we’ve checked out Raffles (home of Singapore Slings), China Town, Sentosa Island, Little India, the riverside bars as well as the Gardens by the Bay (the super trees are spectacular at night), sampled lots of local fare plus we’ve become quite adept at using the rail system on our own while ‘the children’ are at work.

There’s also a pool at the Condo and we seem to be the only ones using it. Obviously the locals are quite accustomed to the humidity.

We’ve also spent an incredible weekend in Indonesia on Batam Island, which is just a ferry trip away – thanks to a very generous son, who paid for the accommodation as a birthday present for Nigel. So, overall, we’ve been well and truly spoilt.

Tomorrow morning, after 12 days’ holiday, we fly back to the outback with its welcoming dry and dusty heat. Who knew we’d miss it??


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