Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Singapore

This was our first taste of Singapore as we made our way into the harbor.  CIVILIZATION!!!  After four days at sea and two days in the jungle playing with monkeys, this girl was ready for some damn concrete, good food and even better wine.  Plus the Rose's and the Buker's were over summer camp and group activities.  About the third day on the boat, I had sent a desperate 911 email to my cousin, the travel agent, and asked her to PLEASE book us a private car, driver and tour guide to meet us at the port in Singapore.  Done and done.


Even though it was cloudy and rainy, we had the driver take us around and give us an overview of the city.  It was a holiday (muslim/hindu??) so traffic was light and not a lot of people out.  It was also only about 9:00am so there's that.



The first obvious notion about Singapore is the fabulous juxtaposition of the old and new.  You're driving along looking at an old historic building and then BAM…70 story glass and steel sky scraper!  It's weird, but it works.


Once the rain cleared out, the guide took us on a short boat tour on the Singapore River.









Colorful old buildings…….




modern sculptures….

A brilliant piece of work by Chong Fah Cheong (born 1946), this sculpture depicts scenes of early days of Singapore. Singapore River was once the lifeline of our country in the past, when the first migrant communities settled around here. It was not an uncommon sight to see naked boys swinging from trees beside the river and jumping into the water with gusto.  The boys learned how to avoid the muddy depths and the dangers of bumboats crossing the river, and had no fear of the polluted waters that were sometimes filled with garbage. When the Clean Rivers project was launched in 1983, families, hawkers and bumboats were removed from this area, and the innocent laughter of the swimming boys were heard no more.

This huge plump bird is the work of Colombian figurative artist Fernando Botero (born 1932) in 1990. It is sponsored by United Overseas Bank Limited (UOB) and stands by the side of the Singapore River. Botero displays his unique style in most of his works where the figurines are proportionally exaggerated and fat.  The bird symbolises peace, serenity, joy of living and optimism, and with all these qualities, Singapore will continue to grow and prosper.


then, all of the sudden, this!!











THAT is the famous Marina Bay Sands…..hotel, casino, shopping, restaurants, EVERYTHING!



We had made a reservation at the restaurant in the bow of the boat….Ku De Ta so seeing this made us a tad excited for dinner!




Next stop was China Town…..which seems like a huge tourist trap to me, but since 75% of the city is Chinese,  I'm sure it's more than that!



I bought everyone back home one of these….










Oh, oh, oh….a moment of silence for these, please.  The guide insisted she buy us this local treat.  Everybody but me was skeptical, but I had heard her say "pork and maple syrup", so I was like, HELL YES!!




Holy fat pants, I could have eaten 10 of them.  Bacon coated in maple syrup and slowly baked.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME??



I almost vomited it up when I saw these…..snakes in jars….pickled or some shit.  PEOPLE WERE BUYING THEM.







Last stop of the day was our hotel….the iconic Raffles.  Fabulous, stunning, perfect, and every other glowing adjective available.  If I every go back to Singapore (doubtful), this is where I'd stay.




Raffles is home to the Long Bar and the Singapore Sling.  And yes, I may have had a few.  











After an afternoon nap (there may have been some Billicart-Salmon Rose at lunch and possibly a bottle of wine)….we headed to dinner.




As I said, Ku de ta sits at the bow of the boat and has amazing views of the city.  If you don't have a reservation at the restaurant, you can pay to go to the top and take pics from the viewing platform, because you're not getting anywhere near this bar without a res.  Lots of security.































Our last day (we only had about 36 hours in the city) we opted to tour the Botanic Gardens.  This is not something I would ordinarily enjoy, but I have to say, it's beautiful.  The orchid is Singapore's national flower and they are certainly on display.  Enjoy….















my personal favorite













We had time for one last dinner before a 2:00am flight out and chose Jaan which was located on the 70th floor (another stunning view) in Swissotel the Stamford right next door to Raffles.  Jaan is a small 40 seat restaurant which was described as "one of the best, if not the best" restaurants in Singapore.  Yes, please.  We went early to grab a drink (shocking) and were met with this…..

this is actually Equinox, a much larger restaurant next to Jaan





Yup….that's the Marina Bay Sands…..






Dinner was all that was promised and more, plus we were entertained with a beautiful sunset…..












Perfect ending to a fabulous trip……….























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