Singapore, Singapore; February 25-26, 2010
Feb 25, 2010
|Two days in Singapore! The end of segment 2 and the start of segment 3 that finishes in Hong Kong in March. Photos & journal entry to follow soon as we sail to Manila, Philippines & Shanghai, China. Thank you for your interest & continued support.
Day 1 Singapore: Again, the "twin sisters" follow us to Singapore & is evident in the morning haze seen in the photos of the skyline & water approach to Singapore Cruise Terminal. We started the day a little late with a lot of people leaving the segment & the usual chaos of disembarkation and immigration into a foreign country. Our tour is to be the Singapore Orchid Gardens, City sights & the Raffles Hotel afternoon Tea & snack.
Ellie & Debbie suffered greatly on the Orchid tour because of the walking, steps & the heat and humidity. They went in the park only a short way & receded to the cool of the gift shop while I went around & photographed the beauty, color & splendor of the orchids. I hope too many photos of orchids does not bore but I have to include them because some people do enjoy the amazing colors, striations and structure.
1 & 1/2 hrs in the Orchid park was enough for most of the guests & we were all ready to get into the cool of the bus & a ride around the city, looking at sites of notoriety of Singapore and then on to the most notable site: Raffles Hotel. Raffles is most notable because of its history of being a bar/hotel on the then beach of Singapore in the colonial days and being bought for a "song" by Sir Thomas Stanford Raffles, who later became one of the most notable individuals in British Colonial development, Indochina and Singapore.
Our afternoon Tea & snack was enjoyed by all the guests, except me. We were not told gentlemen & women had to wear closed shoes and covered legs & shoulders-it was printed somewhere & usually a jacket or leg coverings are offered to those who do not come prepared but none was offered to me, probably because of the numbers of people that previously had not also planned for this-so, I sat in the courtyard garden for about an hour while Ellie, Debbie & the other guests enjoyed a "short" afternoon snack buffet, cookies & cakes and English Tea. They said it was just lovely. I did not miss anything because 2 yrs ago we had the same buffet & afternoon Tea and it IS a welcomed, pampered retreat from the heat & humidity.
Then, back to the buses & to the ship for our appointed time: 16:30 (4:30 pm) and for us to prepare for our 2nd tour that Ellie & Debbie had arraigned: a tour of Singapore river by "Bumboat," "Trishaw" (Trishaw-a combination of tricycle & rickshaw-& being a personalized bicycle and side car vehicle) ride to Raffles hotel & optional sampling of the famous "Singapore Sling" in Raffles infamous "Long Bar." All the above was a welcomed & enjoyable way to see more of Singapore that we had been missing, before.
The Bumboat ride was interesting to see the restaurants, history, financial towering buildings & gathering people along the Quay of the Singapore river, that eventually winds its way to the sea. We enjoyed seeing all the new construction that was started and to completed in the next few years and wondered if we would ever be coming back to witness the transformation. Finally dark had fallen & we mounted the sidecars of almost 20 Trishaws & a half hour ride to Raffles Hotel. We all went to the Long Bar & most of us sampled the "Singapore Sling," at S$29.00 (Singapore dollars= 1.4 S$ to US $)-almost $26.50 for a drink!
We ended our tour in the weeeee hours of the evening (about 21:30-very late for us!), ordered room service, ate our food & crashed into deep slumber until the next waking sunlight of Day #2 in Singapore.
Singapore, Day #2: Ellie & Debbie had arraigned an early morning tour that was basically a repeat of the same (or similar) tour that we had done the day before, except that it included A Chinese temple & a Muslim Mosque and more highlights of "old" colonial buildings & sites of Singapore. The two of them were exhausted from the "double touring" of the prior day and decided to not venture far from the ship, since we were leaving by the early afternoon. The tour started with a wonderful ancient Chinese Temple and then to the Muslim Mosque that was closing, so, we only got to visit for about 15 mins with about as many mins to take pictures outside of the building & its onion shaped domes & spires. After a quick stop to a public park, near the Mosque & our awaiting buses, we were then off to visit the Bumboats to see the Quay again in the morning sunlight.
This time, the temperature was beginning to mount but the humidity was relatively moderate, so the tour was as delightful today, in a different light as it was yesterday in the twilight of the day. There were not as many people, except tourists, as the evening is the time of day Singaporians visit the Quay, after work, on their way home.
By this time (around 11:30 am) we were all getting hot & needed a rest, so the visit to Raffles Long Bar was delightfully welcomed, especially when we found out our tour included a complimentary Singapore Sling! This time there was some Gin in the drink! I think last night drink was for tourist & the bar needed more revenues (Singapore, excessively taxes, alcohol to keep people from drinking too much-as if that stops the tourists!) and these drinks were made by the bar manager.
In the Long Bar, dry roasted peanuts are offered at each table and the patrons are encouraged to throw the hulls on the floor like some national steakhouse chains or bars in the southern States of the US, so a drink & lots of peanuts later we got on our buses to return to the ship & cast off for our next port of call: Brunei.
"Our World, Our Way, No Regrets!"