October 10 and 11
We gor our passports back for Singapore and had to fill out the arrival and departure cards. If you have never been here (we spent 3 days several years ago), you may not know how strict their laws are. Here is an example from our arrival card:
Our Singapore adventure started in an unexpected way. Norm broke a tooth yesterday so the doctor on board made contact with the Singapore port agent to make a dental appointment for him in Singapore. The tooth wasn’t hurting, but we didn’t want to be in a less developed place in case it started hurting then.
They made all of the arrangements, sent a car for us, and Norm had his tooth repaired! He said it was one of the best dental appointments he ever had. Very modern equipment and the bonus of the whole thing was that they had lightning fast internet and several apple computers in their waiting area. I updated my phone and only wished I had brought my ipad with me!
The dental office was near Chinatown, so we asked one of the staff members there for a recommendation for lunch. He recommended a restaurant on Mosque Street, Lee Kui, so we walked there and had all his recommendations for lunch, well, not the oyster omelet, but everything else! Blaise duck, prawn roll, noodles and yam paste for dessert. Norm had a Tiger beer and I had coconut water. We were stuffed!
We stopped at the Buddha tooth relic museum, where we saw the statue for our birth years, the year of the ox (Norm) and the year of the tiger (me).
We ended up walking 10 miles today and did a short hop-on hop-off bus trip, then went to the spectacular Marina Sands Hotel where we went to the sky deck. It was hazy but still lots to see.
They do not allow these durian fruits on the subway, here’s a sign specific to that. They say that the durian smells like limburger cheese. We didn’t smell or taste any!
Last time we were in Singapore, the Gardens by the Bay were just being developed so it was such fun to see them complete. Right now there is a Chrysanthamum display and it is spectacular. There are two cooled conservatories, the flower dome and the cloud forest. Both are really wonderful, and there are acres of other things outside to explore.
We walked back to the subway station and got back to the ship for a refreshing shower and dinner in the terrace. I actually had ice cream for dinner since I was still full from lunch. Norm had a couple of pieces of fresh sushi and ice cream!
Time for a phone call to dad (we are now 12 hours ahead and since we were here overnight, it was a good time for a call), and text messaging with Adam, both were wonderful.
Singapore is an independent and soverign democratic nation that is an island, and is surrounded by 50 small islands. Supposedly a Prince from Palembang was on a hunting trip when he caught sight of an animal he had never seen before – a lion. Now people think he must have been drinking because there never were any liions here. However, the legend goes that because he took it to be a good sign, he founded a city where the animal had been spotted, naming it “The Lion City” or Singapura, from the Sanscrit words “simha” – Lion, and “pura” – city.
Everything is in English here and the shops rival any city. You see all of the famous ones that are in New York and there is every type of food imaginable. One of the things to do is to visit the hawker stands, kind of street food, but inspected and under roof in a kind of “food mall”. Delicious! The food is typical of the multicultural population, a mixture of Chinese, Malay and Indian, which can make it seem like you are hopping from one country to another, in the food and in the scenery.
Curiously, both yesterday and today, the walkway into the cruise terminal had the moving walkway shut down “due to increased traffic”. Wouldn’t you think that’s when they would want it ON? And you can see there are really no crowds, we were the only people walking there this morning.
Singapore lacks much of the personality of some Southeast Asian cities, but it does have a lot of places that are really wonderful. Today we decided to explore from the on the hop on hop off bus, so we took the subway to the start. Great morning of sightseeing.
There is also a large mall attached to the cruise ship terminal. Before getting back on the ship, we bought a large extra suitcase for $29 Singapore dollars (about $20.75 US). We will need it for the extra stuff we are buying along the way!