A real surprise ... Geylang, Singapore. Photo: Alamy
Without Sheena, I'd probably be at Raffles Hotel right now, slapping another $26 on the bar for an uninspiring Singapore sling. I'd probably then consider a few conservative dining options, tossing up between the German theme pub and the Hainanese chicken place, before drinking yet another bank-busting sling.
And then I'd go to bed.
But things have panned out a little differently. I'm about to eat frog porridge - chilli-fried legs in congee - washed down with a Tiger beer on ice. Then Sheena and I are off in search of the best clay-pot rice in the world. And later, if I'm feeling up to it, the two of us are going to walk past a couple of brothels.
This doesn't feel like Singapore. But Sheena, self-proclaimed "Queen of the Jungle" and unofficial tour guide for the night, is out to show me a thing or two about her city.
See, Singapore is famous for many things - safety, cleanliness, a really big airport - but edgy nightlife isn't one of them. There might be plenty of fancy bars where you can spend a lot of money in the company of fellow expats, but it isn't the kind of place you would expect to find a red-light district to rival Amsterdam's.
Yet here we are on a Friday night in the suburb of Geylang and the place is pumping. Traffic is at a standstill, a sea of taxis flash red "hired" lights, scooters zip in and out, and pedestrians cut jagged paths through the mess.
There's barely room to walk on the pavement, with the shops' wares spilling out, the plastic tables from restaurants and the sheer volume of people trying to get from one place to another in the muggy evening heat. Sheena doesn't seem fazed, though.
"Just up here," she assures me, motioning up the packed street that's lined with karaoke joints and restaurants, footpath bars and cafes.
It seems fitting that Singapore's seediest locale would have some ridiculously good food. There aren't many red-light districts in the world that have more restaurants than sleazy clubs but these guys take their eating seriously.
It's a good start to the tour, although Sheena is not an officially licensed Singaporean guide. She is officially Singaporean though, which is good enough for me. She's also a complete stranger. And a queen of the jungle.
I met her through Twitter after sending out a plea for company a few days before turning up, hoping to be shown a different side of the city to the chewing gum-free pavements and airconditioned mega-malls. When a reply came from someone called "Sheena, Queen of the Jungle", I figured this idea was going places (turns out she crowned herself queen in honour of a television show of the same name).
We arranged to meet on a Friday night in Geylang, where my new friend said she would shock me. Yeah, I thought, I bet Singapore will shock me. Maybe there'll be a scrap of paper on the ground, or a beer on sale for less than $10.
But Geylang is a real surprise, and you need a local to appreciate it.
Without one, you would never find the best frog porridge in the world, at a place called Lion City, where they serve a thick rice soup studded with little legs. Sheena perches on a plastic stool and digs in, chewing the meat off the bones then dropping the scraps on the table. "This is how we do it here," she shrugs.
Next stop is He Ping for the world's best clay-pot rice. It's another dodgy little pavement joint, down an alley I would have walked past a hundred times without exploring. We take a seat and Sheena laughs when half the other diners suddenly leap out of their chairs, yelling and running through the streets.
"They're saying, 'Scram!"' she says. "There must be a traffic policeman around here - everyone parks illegally, so they have to move their cars."
Good local knowledge. Once our rice has been devoured we switch to fried tofu, before it's finally time for the evening's seedy main event. Running perpendicular to that packed main street in Geylang are small alleys called "lorongs". The odd-numbered lorongs are usually full of restaurants, while even-numbered ones are reserved for establishments of ill repute.
"You can have a look," Sheena says, stopping outside one of the many buildings with a red light out the front, "but they won't want a girl to go in there, so I'll stay outside."
It seems rude to leave my host out on the pavement, so I decline. After all, I've already experienced something new in Singapore: a little sleaze, and no slings.