A Travellerspoint blog

Singapore

Singapore

airports

sunny 29 °C

The last 24-36 hours are a blur, all spent either on the inside of a plane or airport. very pleased to be on this side of it and also very very pleased that we scheduled this break into the long haul home.

It was sad to say good bye to Nise and her family. Such an easy friendship, that will be just waiting to continue as if we never left - when we meet again. Jack drove us to Southampton to catch the bus to Heathrow. We diverted through Lyndhurst on the way. It is good that we had'n t seen it previously as I am confident that our wallets would be considerably lighter than they already are. Funny thing that Rosie tells me they will be staying here when they come over later in the year. It is also disconcerting that we were here with Mal, Nise etc when last here 4 years ago - I cant remember very much at all only the restaurant and church. Ross will enjoy the exclusive car saleyards of Ferrari, Maserati and Rolls Royce - why stop with a Jag?

Got to Heathrow early (2pm) and we had some admin things we wanted to get done and thought we could pre-empt it by arriving early. This was our first negative experience and failure of our trip really. When we got the bikes in Holland, one of the big pluses for us was that we could claim back the VAT at the border when leaving. Hans had gone to considerable trouble to get all the papers completed for us when we purchased the bikes. When we left France on the ferry we had tried to get the customs there to do the formalities but they were not interested and told us to get it done at Heathrow. So we took the option of going through all the security etc and then get onto the bikes. Despite taking photos of the bikes in the van, and reading on the internet etc it turns out that we didnt have the right form, they needed to physically see the bikes and left us feeling pretty annoyed as its a lot of money.

We needed to regroup after this and needless to say food and drink was the solution, so found a very nice Italian restaurant in which to sooth ourselves. A long wait till our 10pm flight. Flying to Dubai came and went quite fast - I think the sleeping pill may have assisted me with that ! We had an extremely fast and energetic stop over in Dubai as there was only half an hour between flights and by the time we landed the next flight was already loading. We were running flat out, going up and down lifts, travelators, trains it was insane and already 30 degrees heading for 40!!!.The flight was due to leave 9.15 was made it at 9.10 and even then we weren't the last. A long and tedious flight to Singapore. Packed in like sardines and we had to disturb a grumpy lady if we needed to get past to the toilet. Pleased that is over.

Our hotel is nice, have quite a few things we would like to do while here. Sals dad was born here and she has found the cathedral he was christened in. The view from our window is pretty and temperature and humidity expected to be high. The last hurrah before we hit winter in NZ!

Posted by Sallyj66 17:22 Archived in Singapore Comments (2)

Singapore

hop on/ hop off

sunny 29 °C

What a difference a day (or two) makes. We are now in humid heat and wilting.

Started the day with a huge breakfast, intended to sustain us for the entire day. First task to locate the bus stop. Getting directions from someone else proves to be a lottery, sometimes you win but mostly it is a waste of time.However we did meet some nice men at the security of the British Consul who were only too pleased to relieve their boredom and give us accurate directions. About 4 different coloured options of routes to take. We first headed down Orchard Road, i.e. 6km of retail nirvana, or if you are Sal -hell. Trouble is most of the shops are the exorbitantly high end brands such as Gucci, Hermes, Cartier and so on, so right out of my league anyway. Does make the decision quite clear about whether to even put yourself in 'harm's 'way.
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So while I salivated we passed on by and headed straight for Little India. Such a contrast to crowded hustle and bustle. An Australian woman heard our accents and effusive in her praise of a Cultural Exhibition at the Indian Heritage Centre and for today it was free!! So we needed no further encouragement. I loved it, the fabrics are to die for, so rich and fantastic colours, Sal less enthusiastic. Wandered about the shops and then rejoined the bus. Sal had a goal and that was to visit the Church where her Father was christened when he was a baby in Singapore. It was fortunate that we saw it on our map and could get off the bus relatively close to it. St Andrews Cathedral is very close to the Arts Centre - both imposing buildings. A game of cricket was being played on the green beside it. The mix of the 4 main cultures appears to be an easy acceptance of each. We entered the Church and felt a reverence and connection being there.
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There are parts of Singapore that remind me of the bling of Dubai. When we drove around Suntec City it is impressive and feels intimidating at the same time. Drove round to Marina Bay and saw the casino building for the first time. if ever there was a building that makes a statement about money then this is it. We are going on a night tour tonight and this is part of the trip, promises to be impressive. We disembarked here and went into a Mall, it was cool and found a place for a fruit juice as needed rehydration. Walked over a DNA looking helix bridge, beside a floating arena (where bands were practising) towards the city again. We also were keen to have a ginseng at Raffles-Family story attached to this. I warned Sal as we approached the hotel that she needed to brace herself about the price, famous last words.
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Renovations are being one to this grand old lady of Singapore of days -gone -by, so it took some time to find a place to get the famous cocktail. We had to wait to get a seat and then poor old Sal-$72 Singapore dollars for 2 drinks!! Doesn't matter how much you complain, if you want the drink then that's the cost, obviously everyone still pays despite grumbling. It is a nice drink and we had fun joining other patrons in our mutual complaints.
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There is a swimming pool at this hotel and we seriously needed that by days end. So ended the day swimming and then walked over to the adjoining Mall for an evening meal of Thai food. Today it is the Botanical Gardens then the night show.

Posted by Sallyj66 19:50 Archived in Singapore Comments (2)

Singapore

what a finale

semi-overcast 29 °C

Slept in till 10am and were late for breakfast. The time difference has affected me more than I realised. We wanted to spend some quiet time at the Botanical Gardens, so got onto the hop on/ hop off bus again and made our way just down the road.

They are just beautiful, in fact we spent the rest of the day there. It was about 99% humidity, clammy hot. As the day went on it became busier and busier. Being a Sunday there were large numbers of families out enjoying this huge green area in the middle of the city. We heard a funny booming sound and located a little, toothless old man making the sound with his hands and mouth. He also had a huge camera bout the size of his arm. So we made contact, he was such a gorgeous man. Every Sunday at 8.30 he comes here to do his exercise, then at 11am he comes to this spot and photographs the Singapore National bird-the sunbird. He showed us his photos from last week, obviously a brilliant photographer and patient . A mother and little girl walked past and he showed her the picture-so sweet.
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We went to the national frangipani collection, not the best time of year to see them.really. The bonsai was very special, all under lock and key at night. The highlight was undoubtedly the orchid collection. I had been told that it was exceptional but until you see it you dont really appreciate its beauty.We are interested in the number of people who take selfies of themselves here. They preen and pose, then take a photo of themselves in front of, e.g. the orchids. Surely they know what they look like, and then the picture is all taken up with them and no flower. So we did need to wait to get photo opportunities without people in them.
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When we got back onto the bus, we got off on Orchard Rd so had some beer and calamari for lunch, then back to the hotel for a swim. We were picked up 6.15 sharp to join another busload for our night time tour last night. One thing is for certain here, if they say 6.15, you'd better be here then, or they just go without you. Our tour leader was unique, a woman with crazy accent and bossy. But she did manage to herd us through very big crowds at a very fast pace, so well done for that. Our first stop was Gardens by the Bay. it is just brilliant. The 'stars' are 12 super trees, man made structures the are 16 stories high with a walkway suspended around them. At 7.45 on the dot there is a light and sound show in the trees. Huge crowds gather to watch this, either sitting or lying on the ground for best vantage points. Goes on for 15 minutes and it totally dramatic.
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From there we were herded onto a bus and taken to the Marina on the Sands building -the one we had seen yesterday on our tour around the city. The idea here was to go all the way up in the lift to the top for a night time view of the city. That is 56 floors up. I had no intention of doing that at all. But maybe the light show shifted some neural cells or something, but I went up, saw the city, did it and pleased that I did. The last leg of the night was a 20minute electric boat ride around the harbour to see the night lights, that was lovely too.
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So we went out with a bang! Another long haul home to cold and to see our little dog again and family and friends. A huge adventure draws to a close.

Posted by Sallyj66 17:41 Archived in Singapore Comments (2)

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