March 13th, 2006:
On my last day in Singapore I went shopping in Singapore on the main shopping road in the city, Orchard Road. Now, when I'm shopping by myself, I try to play the following game to keep myself amused: (it doesn't take much to keep me amused :)
1. Goto a shopping center with a high rise car park so that you don't have to walk far (its more efficient than walking across a long flat car park). Also, the car park has to give you a 15 minute grace period for finding a free spot before you have to start paying.
2. Do your shopping.
3. Get back to your car BEFORE the original 15 minute grace period has expired... :)
As you can see, when shopping by myself, I don't hang around. However, as I didn't have a car with me, I thought I'd try a different game: good ol' "What's the most expensive thing I can find?". The search began at the Ngee Ann City shopping center, winner of Singapore's Best Shopping Experience Award 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004... and there it ended minutes after starting when I became dazzled by the sparkling rocks of Cartier. Now, you know that a shop is serious when there is a bouncer at the door. I was going to go in, but the disparaging look he gave my backpacker appearance spoke volumes about the likelihood of me being left in: I made do with the window displays instead. A bracelet could be bought for the pocket change amount of approx. 12,000 Euro while a nice looking diamond encrusted ring for approx. 70,000 Euro was the eventual winner.
The fact that I managed to keep going for another three hours (easily a personal best for shopping endurance), and still only saw a fraction of the place, indicates how much there is to see and do. A girl, or a more normal person :), could easily soak up a day or two wandering around.
A similar street in Europe would be the Champs-Elise in Paris, so which is better? Well, the Champs-Elise wins purely because of the Mercedes shop with the Formula One car hanging on the wall, but I'd imagine your credit card company would prefer you to go to Orchard Road as there are shops for every price bracket there with more variety on offer also.