21 August, Singapore – ‘All Over The Place – Asia, part 2’
Got woken up at 3.30am yesterday by two long, room shaking blasts from a fog horn. Apparently some of the crew thought it was a tsunami warning and jumped out of bed, but I assumed (correctly it turned out) that it was the ferry picking up lots of Komodo dragon loving tourists. Then the call to prayer from next door’s mosque kicked in, so none of us were in danger of oversleeping and missing our 6am car rides to the airport.
Once we’d flown back to Bali our head fixer Andy came to say goodbye to us at the airport with his kids, and we had to wave goodbye to our other fixer Ana and Naomi too. What a bonkers 7 years we’ve had working together. There can’t be many TV presenting duos who’ve had to wear as many silly costumes and do as much stupid stuff as us.
After a bit of waiting around and the usual hoo ha dealing with all the excess baggage our kit creates we boarded our Singapore Airlines flight to Singapore and were there in just over 2 and a half hours. I was quite dazzled by the size of the airport when we arrived, considering the country is only half the size of London. Once we’d crawled our way through immigration we were met by our Singaporean fixer Gary, and pretty soon I was paddling round in our hotel pool catching up with our next co-presenter – Cel Spellman. Like Naomi he’s been with us since series 2, so it’s always nice to see his face and hear how well he’s been getting on with his acting in ‘Cold Feet’ and his Radio 1 DJing.
Nowhere takes very long to get to in Singapore, so it didn’t take long driving through the meticulously manicured streets to reach Haw Par Villa this morning. Built by the creators of ‘Tiger Balm’ in the 20s it’s a crazy theme park of statues depicting ancient Chinese legends. Crabs with women’s heads, men trapped in snail shells, it’s all going on. We had a song to sing about the place in the style of ‘The Macarena’, and we worked up quite a sweat dancing around the place in the tropical heat. Managed to plough through it pretty fast, which was good as we had another item to film in the afternoon, on how to make Singapore carrot cake.
Turns out it isn’t cake, and it doesn’t have carrots in it. Our chef Poon, working from his tiny stall in Newton Hawker Food Centre, showed us how to make white and black “carrot cake” (so called because they call radishes carrots here). It’s basically a sort of omelette, and he did a good job of not being phased by me dressed as a shouting French food critic, even when I pinched his cheek in an affectionate manner. Anyway, if you find yourself in Singapore, get your self come carrot cake. It’s quite nice.