October 29, 2013 – Singapore – Day 2
Up and away early. We have to be back on ship by 1:00pm. For a 3:00 pm sailing – this two hour loss of shore time was caused by the Singaporean immigration officials, whom I suppose want to make sure we all leave. We head back to the Singapore Flyer, and jump on as soon as it opens. Each “car” on the Ferris wheel is air conditioned with benches or tables and chairs – the Flyer can be rented out for private parties and meals. Each car can have its own butler – appetizers on round 1, entrees on loop 2, and dessert on loop 3.
As you can probably imagine the views from the Flyer are spectacular – particularly as you reach the top and descend down the side which faces the Marina Bay complex.
You may remember the shots I took from the top of the Marina Bay Sands last year – these shots of the Hotel and complex from the Flyer are even more spectacular in my opinion. The 2800 room hotel, with three towers topped by the “surfboard” shaped platform with a pool and restaurant is on the left, with the shopping mall in the center, the soccer field at the Formula One Grand Prix track on the right and the city of Singapore presenting a stunning backdrop.
The aforementioned Formula One track is right below the Singapore Flyer.
I got to stand on a real Formula One race course.
After the Flyer ride, we caught a cab to Bugis Market – which turned out to be not quite open, so we walked a few blocks to Arab Street where Sally had heard there were silk shops. Singapore, because of its very diverse population, has a very active Chinatown, a Hindu area, and an Arabian area – all of these are conclaves of homes, shops, places of worship and restaurants, not just tourist attractions. Arab Street contained blocks and blocks of small shops selling fabrics.
Silk shops near Arab Street.
A mosque around the corner from Arab Street.
After prowling through a dozen or so shops, Sally found some really nice silk at a good price – I guess it is a good price – $10 per meter, so she loaded up on silk. I didn’t even know we needed any. After consulting our trusty Hop A Bus map, we located a stop a few blocks from us and walked over and caught the bus. We figured we would have time for one circuit before we had to be back.
Shots from the Hop A Bus.
Raffles Hotel – named after the founder of Singapore, Sir Stanford Raffles – also the home of the famous Singapore Sling, which can be purchased here for a mere $30.
In the foreground, a monument to the diversity of Singapore – known locally as the “Chopsticks”. It represents the four cultures living here, that is, Chinese, Arabs, Indian, and Malaysian.
This is Sentosa Island across the bay – it contains beaches, an amusement park, and aquarium and one of Singapore’s two casinos – the other one being in the Marina Bay Sands.
Back to the ship and goodbye to Singapore – far too quickly.