March 19, 2012 – Singapore Day 2
One time, several years ago, while walking to the river in New Braunfels, our family passed an elderly man coming from the river with his tube over his shoulder, his street shoes and clothes soaked. He said “You gotta be tough to have fun!”. Truer words were never spoken. By the way – I used to say that he was 70 when I told the story, but now that I am over 70, I just say he was elderly. I would estimate that we walked over 8 miles today.
This morning we took off on a different route – rather than hiring a driver, we took the subway to a location where we could catch a “hop on hop off” bus. These buses allow you to do a complete circuit of the city getting off where you choose and then hopping back on and continuing the circuit. As was the case in Hong Kong, the subway was easy, fast, cheap & clean – an attraction is itself.
We caught our double decker bus in front of Raffles Hotel which is named after the founder of Singapore, Stanford Raffles and is famous as the place the Singapore Sling was invented – they still sell them – for $26.00.
The first stop on our hop a bus was the Singapore Flyer – the giant ferris wheel which is touted as providing the best view of Singapore. A portion of the Singapore Formula 1 circuit can be seen curling around the Singapore Flyer.
Here are some shots from our ride around the city on the double decker bus.
The Russian Embassy
The US Embassy
After one complete circuit on the bus, we took off on foot to go the top of The Marina Sands Hotel, which looked to be deceptively close, but proved to be quite a hike.
It is impressive when viewed from below….
And affords spectacular views from the top…..
The grandstands for the start/finish of the Formula 1 Race.
Descending from the hotel, we walked back across the river to the downtown area looking for the post office. We discovered that the post office on the map had been closed so we continued the search. A friendly businessman on his way back to work had us follow him for a few blocks, and when he headed to work, he aimed us at the post office. After post card duty, we found an American oasis in the same building as the post office – A Burger King. A whopper and diet Coke never tasted better!
Refreshed by lunch, we walked to the river to find the closest hop a bus stop and after some wandering around due to construction, we found it and rejoined our bus for a while. We rode to the Chinatown area and got off the bus for some shopping and sightseeing.
Incense burner in front of a Chinese Temple.
After shopping for a while, we rejoined the hop a bus for a short ride to a second shopping area. These shopping areas have been common to all of the big cities since Sydney – they are large “flea market” type of markets, sometimes under roof, sometimes not – but never with air conditioning! They are stuffed with jewelry, tee shirts, clothes, silks, and souvenirs of all kinds and they are always packed with buyers and aggressive sellers.
After some shopping, Sally & I caught a cab back to the ship, while the group continued on to one more stop. After dinner, we turned in, but set our alarms to catch the sail away at 11:00pm, since the cities are often lit up at night.
While the picture isn’t very good, I did take this shot of a most unusual yacht as we were leaving. I looked it up on-line and discovered it is the 13th largest yacht in the world (390 feet) and was built for a Russian entrepreneur. It is called “A”. Notice the unusual “upside down” bow construction.