Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix 2011

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

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Today I plan to do a four hour tour of Marina Bay. I leave the resort at 10am this morning and up back here at eight in the evening!! Work then one out...

Once upon a time (are you sitting comfortably?)  The Singapore river spilled into the Singapore strait, Marina Bay began life as reclaimed land back in the 1970's.  Back then bumboats and Chinese junks were often seen anchored in the bay's calm waters.  The vast expansion of open land in the area made it a centre of recreation.  The Marina Bay of today began to take shape in the early 2000's with the opening of the Fullerton Hotel in 2001, the unveiling of Esplanade, theaters on the Bay in 2002 and the relocation of the national icon The Merlion, to Merlion Park the same year. In the last five years the area has seen a comprehensive transformation which includes playing host to the formula one night race held every September.  It was also the site of the opening and closing ceremonies of the youth Olympic games in 2010.

I start my tour at the famous Fullerton heritage, a series of restored buildings that are home to a variety of nightlife and dining venues.  The Fullerton hotel and waterboat house are Art Deco masterpieces that have been restored and stand among the newest of developments.

I then visit the mascot of Singapore....The Merlion which is a mythical creature with the head of a lion and the body of a fish, (didn't see that in the zoo!)  The fish body represents Singapore's origin as a fishing village when it was called Temasek, which means "sea town" in Javanese. The lion head represents Singapore's original name Singapure meaning "lion city" or "kota singa".

Its then on to visit St Andrews Cathedral, designed by George Drumgoole Coleman, the original Saint Andrew's Church was built from 1835 to 1836. The second Church of Saint Andrew was designed by John Turnbull Thomson and built in circa 1842. Rumours of unhappy spirits and damage caused by two lightning strikes in 1845 and 1849 resulted in its closure in 1852 and subsequent demolition in 1855. Indian convict labour was used to built the new church and to cut costs, as it was for many buildings of the day. The Right Reverend Daniel Wilson, Lord Bishop of Calcutta, laid the fountain stone on 4 March 1856, and the first service was held on 1 October 1861.

This is Singapore's largest cathedral. In 1942, shortly before the fall of Singapore to the  Japanese, the cathedral served as an emergency hospital and was gazetted as a national monument on 6 July 1973. 

Due to the F1 the Esplanade area and others are sectioned off... I'll come back to this later.... onwards to the the largest fountain... the Fountain of Wealth... should of brought my bikini!!! This fountain is huge and at the base are many restaurants and bars where I decide its a good time to refuel!

The fountain is listed by the Guinness Book of Records 1998 as the largest fountain in the world and it just so happens to be located in one of Singapore's largest shopping malls (can you see where I'm going with this?!!)  I've said it before but... this city is shopping heaven... for me its a case of being with an air conditioned environment... honest!!! Not the shopping bags I have...!!

During certain periods of the day, the fountain is turned off and visitors are invited to walk around a mini fountain at the centre of the fountain's base for good luck. At night, the fountain is the setting for laser performances, as well as "live" song and laser message dedications between 8pm to 9pm daily.... so here's waiting for my luck to increase!!!

The fountain is made of silicon bronze, and consists of a circular ring with a circumference of 66 metres supported on four large slanted columns. A truly amazing fountain!

I had planned or intended to walk to the float and other attractions... however.... the F1 which started yesterday and is on for 3 days has claimed the city... where I thought there was a racing track... there isn't... its based on the normal roads and very cleverly has been blocked from every entry from prying eyes (those without a ticket!), make shift walls boarded high and there is NO chance of seeing any of the qualifying rounds or the race... not that I'm into the F1... I really wouldn't know a racing driver if he was stood before me!  Anyway most of the city is not accessible and despite walking for hours.. more than the original 4.. I find myself at the Ritz hotel... hmmmm this is nice... one of the doormen asks me if I'm OK... I ask him the way to my next attraction and he tells me its closed because of the race and then shows me the race itinerary... apparently all the drivers are staying at this hotel...of course only the best will do!!  I ask if he has seen them and he says yes... I also tell him that the city is clever in ensuring the public cannot see any of the race.. this must of taken hours to do... the road blocks... the closure of attractions... the whole city is alive and electric!  He does than inform me if I go through the hotel and round the corner follow the path... I would be able to see part of the track... although not a perfect view... ahhh bless him... I can hear the cars.... OMG how loud?  I did get to see for just a very short few seconds numerous cars racing by that are racing for the qualifying rounds??? But I'm no expert!!!  The atmosphere is great and although I'm not a follower of racing... I think it must be fantastic to be on the other side of these barriers!!

Having decided that no matter what I had wanted to see today was just not going to happen it was an open shopping invitation.... and can you believe it I brought a couple of tops from a shop found back in the UK!!! All these shops and I find something in a familiar one!

I think until the Grand Prix finishes tomorrow.. there really isn't any point in venturing to any particular place as it will be a pain or a long long detour.... am thinking of a lazy day by the pool!

And to compliment my long long day... its has to be a should, neck and back massage... (what can I say.. my bags are heavy!) And no that are not as good as Balinese!!! I'll have to wait until Thailand!

I eventually get back to the resort at about 8pm and meet Robin and Melinda travelling separately from Australia.... Melinda is just finishing her travels having spent most of her time in Germany (she is a WWII enthusiast) and Robin whom has had here passport since 2003 and is only now using it... we all end up having dinner and a few drinks and next time I look at my watch its midnight... a long day!

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