Surprising Horizons

The Joy of Travel. The Realities of New Experiences.

Month: November 2016

England v Germany Old Bloke Football Match


And so it was, on the 12th night of November in the year of our lord, two armies summoned forth the power of Tiger Balm and vigorous muscle rubbing to face each other on the battle field that is Singapore National Stadium.

Mightier men have shown their unbridled enthusiasm and prowess on Singapore National Stadium’s hallowed turf than these aged stalwarths of the 90s football scene but none can question their bravery or track record as they suffered the humidity and absolute silence and emptiness of a very tiny crowd indeed. It was the equivalent of one man and his dog.

Hark, is that Heskey taking a tumble like the donkey of old? Tis, tis.
Behold, is that James fumbling an easy dribbler? Indeed.


Click for video.

Alright. Ok. Let’s drop the reverie here. This was never going to be a normal event. A 55,000 seater stadium holding a masters football event? Whose amazing idea was that? I’ve seen reports that 10,000 people were there?! Drop a zero yo…they were giving away tickets in stores in the run up to this.

The game? It ended up 4-2. There were goals. There were tackles. The atmosphere sucked. The music was overbearingly loud and played every time there was a goal kick or throw in or free kick!! What is this?!  Baseball?! The PA announcer was woeful.

The English team was way way younger than the Alte deutsche Männer.

The fact that the biggest name, Paul Scholes, pulled out before the game says it all. The ticket I bought was $45 or so. I could have bought…something else…
They should have played smaller team indoor footy in the adjoining indoor stadium. Would have suited better.


Here’s who was in each team:

England Masters: David James, Luke Young, Steve Howey, Des Walker, Michael Gray, Darius Vassell, Carlton Palmer, Darren Anderton, Steve McManaman, Teddy Sheringham, Emile Heskey

Substitutes: Paul Parker, Lee Hendrie, Danny Murphy, Michael Thomas

Germany Masters: Perry Brautigam, Marko Rehmer, Guido Buchwald, Jens Nowotny, Jorg Albertz, Dietmar Hamann, Carsten Ramelow, Lothar Matthaus, Mario Basler, Oliver Neuville, Alexander Zickler

Substitutes: Fredi Bobic, Karl-Heinz Riedle, Jorg Heinrich, Patrick Owomoyela

Staycation: Marina Bay Sands


After spending two nights in relative solitude at Sofitel Sentosa Resort and Spa we targeted Marina Bay Sands for the next hit on our life savings and senses. Marina Bay Sands is always busy. 24/7.

The day before while basking by the pool at the Sofitel I got an SMS from MBS asking for time of arrival etc. etc. “to expedite check in”. No worries. Off I sent the SMS with a cheeky upgrade request.

Arriving by taxi to MBS at Tower 1 you are faced with a permanent Pokemon Go gathering. Seems that there is some good stuff in the lobby to be caught. While I waited in the queue to check in a staff member came up to me and asked for my details. Ok. So I said them again. And off he walks. No reason given. No advantages apparent. Worse was to come. Room wasn’t ready. SO WHAT WERE THE SMS AND ALSO THE DUDE IN THE SUIT ASKING FOR MY INFO FOR?!
Ok, I know check-in around the world is 3pm but it was around 12:30 we were there and the MBS has plenty of rooms to spare.

To cut a boring long story short, we went back at 3pm and got an upgrade to a suite with access to the Club55 lounge for drinks and nibbles from 7-9pm. Which was nice.


Spacious suite

The suite was big and fine. We were greeted by window washers trying their best to wash the windows without peering in at the pseudo-rich peeps in the la-de-dah suite. The room smelled of stale smoke like a lounge bar in the 80s. I double checked the “No Smoking” sign on the wall again just in case I had imagined it. There was some sort of stain on the sliding door. I didn’t smell it to find out.


Comfy bed


Sit. Watch TV. If you want.


The stain.


Spacious balcony to go with the spacious suite.

The infinity pool is a must visit. You zap your card to gain access. The left side was the quietest, if you ever go and if you’ve read this far. The feeling of falling off the edge of the world slowly dissipates as you get near the edge and realise there are many platforms underneath you as you peer over.


View from the infinity pool


Night life in the infinity pool.


Looking down on Singapore

Anyway, we won’t go back unless they read this and want to make it up to me as they messed us around with check-in and even though we got the upgrade (I believe they do this with every first visitor) the suite had seen many cigarettes-a-smokin’ and I still can’t forget about that stain….

Staycation: Sofitel Resort and Spa


Sometimes even taking a one hour flight from Singapore can be too much energy to recharge the batteries. So you spend as much money as you would with flights and hotel and you spend a few nights in a hotel right here in Singapore. The hotel options on Sentosa are not cheap.

We decided to spend two nights at the Sofitel Sentosa Resort and Spa on Sentosa Island. Sentosa Island is like Alcatraz Island but with a theme park, hotels and a casino. Sometimes people try to escape after a bad night at the casino.

The Down-Low on the Sofitel
The Sofitel is quite a relaxing hotel. There’s not too much noise and chaos from tourists. It seems like it’s an airport stop-over half way house and is filled with weary middle aged travelers in need of some non-airplane existence for a while.


Bed was large and comfortable. As was the room.


TV remote was weird.


Room had bath and shower.

There are peacocks. If you don’t like peacocks wandering around your sun lounger then go somewhere else. I’ll take peacocks over monkeys any day. The peacocks were not aggressive and went about their business but they do call out every now and then ruining the 0 dB atmosphere.

When I booked the room I somehow bought one which included 2 hours of free booze from 7-9pm and free soft drinks all day from Le Bar (everything has “Le” in front of it). It’s because of Le French. The drinks were welcomed and the service was prompt.


Pool was quiet and relaxing.

We lounged by the pool for the majority of our time there. We walked into the main area of Sentosa is (Starbucks, Din Tai Fung, Universal Studios) and it takes about 25 minutes. The hotel has a shuttle but we like to walk.

Food…oh food. We were disappointed with both dinners.


The Garden. With Peacock.

Dinner numéro un. The Garden. No “Le” here. Maybe it’s not good enough for that…
It’s a few minutes walk from the main hotel building, across the road, and housed in their spa complex. It’s open all day and we arrived around 5pm. There was a peacock waiting for us. Passed the peacock in to an empty dining room. One waitress folding napkins. Refuses to talk to us, ushers another waitress into proceedings.
Me: “Hello, are you actually open?”
Her: “Yes, we are very busy as we have a party outside”
Me: “Ok…”
Me: “Can we have a table?”
Her: “Sure!”
It went downhill from there. I ordered the chicken breast from the dinner menu and got a chicken wrap from the lunch menu. Our vegetarian ordered the Grilled Vegetables and Tofu Tian. She got a microwavable vegetable lasagne thing. Disappointed!


The “very busy” empty dining room.


Now what I ordered. Wasn’t even good.



We drank their wine, got the check, bid adieu to the peacock, and left. No à bientôt to them!

Dinner numéro deux. Kwee Zeen. Get it?

We opted for something from the de-light menu expecting a tasty but low in calories extravaganza. I probably got the most boring chicken breast (I like chicken) I have ever had the displeasure of eating. This chicken collected stamps, took note of train numbers, and read technical manuals for enjoyment during its sad pathetic life. And if he didn’t the chef is le jerk and did the poor chicken a terrible dis-service. Dull. Dull. Dull.


I’ve never experienced eating a dinner and just wishing it was over so I could find something else to tackle my taste buds.

The vegetarian option “Portobello and Vegetables” was just that. Barely.
Both our tongues registered very little taste experiences in the 30 minutes we were there. I had to stick a fork in my tongue just to make sure it hadn’t cut off all blood circulation in protest.


Tiny portion. Bunch of mushrooms under a few sprigs of arugula.

Now I will say, both nights we had to get some bar food at Le Bar to keep us going and the sushi and satay were good. Merci. Mercy.

Anyway. Le verdict?

Sofitel Resort as a whole? Relaxing. Refreshing.
The dinners at Sofitel Resort? Dull. Pointless.

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