Welcome to Singapore with a Singapore Sling!

Trip Start Mar 25, 2011
Trip End Dec 01, 2011

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Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Today I am awake at 6am... and although this seems to be my regular waking up time.. I sort out my photos before making myself go back to sleep.  

When I wake its 10am and I'm woken by the sound of rain, and yes its raining in Singapore... something I haven't felt or seen for a while. After a quick shower... its where to head for breakfast... its free and you have the choice of three restaurants... the first is just like the Indonesian breakfast... noodles and rice.. my stomach isn't ready for that at this time of the morning... the second is a walk away and breakfast finishes at 11am so I haven't enough time... so its the third option McDonald's..... cant believe I'm even saying that... but I am offered a sausage and egg Mcmuffin...  I tell the lady that I'm a veggie and she asks if I would just like the egg and cheese... me being fussy decline the egg... and so she asks if I would like cheese and veggies... so I say yes.... what she means is cheese and lettuce.... makes an interesting breakfast if not strange one.

I then catch the free shuttle bus to the train station... there are a number of locals waiting, one large group all females bar one... as the bus arrives I allow the group to get on before me (they were there first!)...but the man insists I go and says Ladies first... the second time in two days I have heard this....

I make my way to the station, the train system known as MRT (Mass Rapid Transport) is an impressive and slick network system...the fares are reasonable and its a frequent service...  the electronic guide in the carriages tells you where you are.. the whole journey is lit illuminated in green and flashes red when approaching the station before switching off... you can not get lost here!!  The carriages themselves are so clean and tidy helped by the rules and regulations... no eating or drinking $500 fine, no flammable liquids $500 fine and no smoking $1000 fine...

I arrive firstly at Orchard Road which is synonymous with shopping and refered to as the "Fifth Avenue, Regent Street and Champ Elysees.  Orchard Road is named after the nutmeg orchards that used to line it in the 1830s, one of them coincidentally belonging to a Mr Orchard. Large trees still shade the road, providing a modicum of relief from the heat. Fortunately, Orchard Road has an extensive network of underpasses that connect many of the malls providing even more shelter from the blistering equatorial heat and, on occasion, rain... which I've seen... although not heavy more tropical... the heat does not lessen!
OMG this is shopping heaven... so many malls and so many familiar shops... the first I spot is good ol Marks and Sparks... there are loads more... although the shops are familiar it doesn't feel like London... if any comparison maybe New York... you have so many shops, normal and designer like Prada, Gucci, Armani and so on... you could spend days here with so many different malls.  One of my first stops is Strip and Brow... yep its time for some threading and this was just amazing... you sit in a reclined sit with blanket and they have a white light so they can see everything.... unfortunately so do I!!!! The services here are just amazing..... I didn't know you could so much with eyebrows!! 15 minutes later I'm all finished and red and am asked if I drink!!!  Maybe its time to cut back!!!  Oh well I continue exploring... the rain has come again as has the thunder.... it doesn't last too long and I window shop while looking for luggage number 4 to no avail... I stop at M&S on my way and have to buy my favourite ready meal and some bourbons!!!

I then take the train to Raffles city which is a large complex located in the civic district within the downtown core and from here take the walk by the historic Singapore river passing the government buildings and the Asian civilizations museum where I stop and visit.

The Asian Civilizations Museum is an institution which forms a part of the three museum's of the National Museum of Singapore. It is one of the pioneering museums in the region to specialise in pan-Asian cultures and civilisations. The museum specialises in the material history of  China, Southeast Asia, South Asia and West Asia, from which the diverse ethnic groups of Singapore trace their ancestry. It is currently exhibiting The Terracotta Warriors and the first emperor and his legacy.

The terracotta army buried near the tomb of the First Emperor of China is perhaps the most important archaeological discovery of our time. Unearthed in 1974 outside Xi’an, the thousands of pottery soldiers and horses are striking works of art that tell us a great deal about early China.This exhibition features one hundred artefacts from Shaanxi province in China. Besides terracotta figures, the display contains important bronzes and jades from the Qin state before the time of the First Emperor, Shi Huangdi. The Han dynasty inherited the legacy of unified China, and charming terracotta figures from this later period show how the First Emperor’s tomb influenced later burials.The exhibition highlights new interpretations and poses questions about what we really know of the remarkable terracotta army. Recent excavations have revealed a variety of objects, including painted warriors, acrobats meant to entertain the emperor, chariots and life-like birds. This is the first exhibition of the actual terracotta warriors to be held in Singapore, as well as the first presentation in Southeast Asia.

I join the tour guide and walk around while being told all this historic information... its quite an exhibition and well worth a look.

I carry on with my exploring the atmosphere around this area is electric with so many people putting together stalls etc... and then I realise its going to be home to the Singapore Formula 1 Grand Prix in just a few days... already its a good atmosphere... and it hasn't even started!!!

I then make my way to the famous Raffles Hotel which is a colonial-style hotel and one of the world's most famous hotels. Opened in 1899, it was named after Singapore's founder Sir Stamford Raffles.  The hotel houses a tropical garden courtyard, museum and Victorian-style theatre.  Raffles Hotel has a shopping arcade housing boutique brands such as Louis Vuitton and Tiffany!!

It is also the place to enjoy a Singapore Sling and have fun eating the complimentary peanuts where patrons dispose of the shells onto the floor... strange but true... and feels so bad!

The Singapore Sling is a cocktail that was developed sometime before 1915 by Ngiam Tong Boon, a bartender working at the Long Bar in Raffles Hotel. The original recipe used gin, cherry herring, benedictine and fresh pineapple juice.I meet Paul who lives in Kuala Lumper and is with his cousin and wife who are on honeymoon... ah bless them... Paul gives me some tips of both KL and Singapore...

I walk through Esplanade Park a historic park.  Built in 1943, the Esplanade Park is one of the oldest in Singapore. The park was redeveloped in 1991. Many historical landmarks are located at the Esplanade Park, which include the Queen Elizabeth Walk, the former Indian National Army Monument site, The Cenotaph (completed in 1922), the Tan Kim Seng Fountain (moved here in 1925), and the Lim Bo Seng Memorial (which was unveiled in 1954).

Back to the hostel and I have my M&S meal (lovely!!!) and take up refuge in the lounge... I was going to watch one of my many DVDs but decide on one of the hostels... the box.. hmmmm a strange film....  

Oh well time to catch up on some sleep....  until tomorrow....

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