Friday, November 09, 2007

Day 30: Singapore, Part 1

The next day was Sunday and we had booked two tours - a Singapore City Tour in the morning, and a tour of Sentosa Island in the late afternoon and evening.

I find I have taken so many photos that I am going to spread them out over several posts.

Taking a tour has both positive points and drawbacks. The biggest positive was that we were picked up from our hotel and driven around in an air-conditioned bus. Given the heat and humidity, this was a lot less exhausting than walking combined with public transport, even though the distances weren't very far. Also, of course, a tour can fit a lot into a small space of time, compared to having to get from one place to another using public transport (even though the transport in Singapore seems to be very good and cheap). And then, there is a knowledgeable commentary.

The drawback was being hurried on everywhere. I found it stressful knowing that in each place, I couldn't get fully absorbed in the sights and sounds, because we had to be constantly aware of the time that we had to meet again to get back on the bus. We were told that if we were late, the bus would go on without us, and we would need to get a taxi to meet the bus at the next stop-off point. One family did put this to the test, and we found that in fact the bus would wait five minutes, but after that we went without them (and yes, they did manage to catch up in a taxi).

We were collected from the front of our hotel and taken to a central meeting point, where we all transferred to different buses for our different tours. The first stop for our tour was Little India:

where we explored an arcade with a wonderfully colourful range of shops:

The silk shop proprietor was a tailor, but also offered fabric by the yard. I considered going back later in our stay when I would have time to think about what I wanted to buy, but I never quite made it. The tour was just too rushed for leisurely buying. (I have cupboards full of fabric - I don't suppose I really need any more!)

A nearby apartment building decorated with laundry, Singapore style:

We drove past the Raffles hotel building, where it costs $6000 a night to stay in the top floor (Singapore dollars, which are similar in value to New Zealand dollars - it's a little less in US dollars, say about $4500).

Our next stop was near the waterfront, close to where Sir Stamford Raffles landed and established the modern city of Singapore - or should I say the colonial city of Singapore. Prior to that, there were inhabitants of course - it was a small fishing village.

There was a hockey game goind on at the "Padang". Behind the players is the City Hall, and the flying saucer like building is the Court House, according to my map. I felt very hot just watching the teams run around the field.

The concert hall roof is shaped like a "durian" - a fruit with a repulsive odour and a heavenly taste. The building is as iconic as the Sydney Opera House.

Quite a few locals were carrying umbrellas. I assume this was for shade from the sun rather than shelter from the rain - we were told it was approaching the monsoon season, but there was no rain during our stay.

1 comment:

chiefbiscuit said...

Beautiful photos - well done. Especially love the wee boy under the umbrella.