Carol and I opted to use the hop-on, hop-off bus and bought a two-day ticket right at the marine terminal where we docked since we were to be in Singapore for three days. This terminal is a very modern, clean place filled with shops that sell almost anything. When you come off the ship you must go through customs. You could shop right at this marine terminal, turn around and board the ship again. Literally, all you ever wanted is for sale right there.
Naturally we did not do that but took a taxi to the first stop of the hop on/off bus near Chinatown. It rained buckets when we were in the cab. I noticed pedestrian traffic did not subside. Most buildings have overhangs so these covered walkways keep you dry in rain and shaded on hot days. This is a very convenient idea. I wish NYC or any metropolitan city had this set up. It would keep a lot of people clean and dry.
Singapore is well thought out. Singapore proper is an island. There are 50 other, smaller islands belonging to Singapore, but the main business occurs on the main island. Most of the smaller islands are very small and not useful, have no harbor facilities and serve mainly as storage areas for industry or, when pretty, as weekend get always. I visited the large island only.
We visited the 57th floor of the “Marina Bay Sands Hotel.” This is the newest icon representing Singapore. Three large tower buildings, side by side, with a ship-like super structure across all three buildings at the top. At one end, the bow of the “ship” protrudes, telelevers way out from the tower. This hanging over area is accessible to visitors and gives a unique vista. A “No-edge” swimming pool (Infinity Pool) was created for the very daring
|Infinity Pool Inside the Marina Bay Sands Hotel|
atop the roof. One has to be a hotel guest to visit the pool but Carol snuck in to take a picture. A bit scary to swim in the pool I think when the water's edge literally disappears over the horizon. We enjoyed a cappuccino in the coffee shop on top of this daring architectural marvel and watched others swim in the pool. This tower, this hotel is an impressive structure. No wonder the Marina Sands Hotel became synonymous with Singapore, the building that spells Singapore like the Eiffel Tower spells Paris.
|Looking Down on the Lobby of the |
Marina Bay Sands Hotel
|View From the Top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel|
There are a multitude of interesting places to visit when visiting Singapore. We choose to go back in time and visited the Raffles hotel next. This is the
home of the famous drink, the “Singapore Sling” first served in 1915. It was and is now, served in the Long Bar, a place that recalls old times, colonial times. The hotel is extremely expensive, yet an icon of Singapore too. The hotel has a dress code, sandals and halter tops are a no-no. Men need dress shirts, even a necktie for afternoon tea or dinner. The dress code for the Long Bar however, was a bit more relaxed. The tourists are needed to bring in the money and concessions need to be
|Doorman at the Raffles Hotel|
|Lush Gardens at the Raffles Hotel|
Singapore seems to have districts for the majority of their races. Chinese live in or near Chinatown. There is a section called little India and it looks, feels and smells
|Hindu Temple in Little India|
|Ganesh in Little India|
|Images in Little India|
Singapore is running out of land however. Every inch is built upon. Only 1% of the land is agrarian and even that is dwindling. Land has been reclaimed from the sea already, yet still there is not enough room.
The Gross National Income is about $US 42,000/year. Their major industries are electronics, shipbuilding and finance. For workers there is no unemployment insurance. Housing is subsidized, there are no slums. Close to 6 million people live in Singapore, of which 60% are Chinese and 20% from India.
On day two we visited little India and walked around a bit. Everyone was busy; people were preoccupied with their lives. Indian dialects were spoken but everyone also spoke English. The same was true with Chinatown, our other stop on day two. Stalls, small shops, large department stores were offering their wares. The places were humming with activity. People shopped, ate and looked prosperous. We looked
at the darkening sky at one point
and just caught a taxi again before it stared to rain slightly, then heavier.
|Chinatown in Singapore|
On day three we did not even leave the ship. When we woke up, the rain was coming down side ways. It poured. While the walkways in town are covered we did not feel like ducking the rain when crossing street intersections. We looked at other options for this rainy day, like a cable car ride that crosses the city, but decided not to go.
|Chinatown in Singapore|
|Getting Ready for Chinese New Year|