Monday, February 11, 2013

Day 37 - Singapore

The Reflections Towers as seen from our balcony
Singapore is a beautiful, modern city.  We spent a lovely day visiting the highlights in a tour called "Spirit of Singapore."   Our tour was scheduled to begin at 9AM, but we had to wait for all the people who were getting off the ship here before we could go out, so it left  little late.  That wasn't a problem. It was planned as a 4 1/2 hr tour and we didn't have to be on board again until 8:30PM at the latest.

Once on the bus we drove to the  observation point on top of Mount Faber to get a panoramic view of the city.  It's a good thing the road up & down is one way, because the road was packed with tourist buses.  Our bus let us off by the top, but we then had to search a little to find where it was able to park.

From there we drove to the famous Raffles Hotel. This is the oldest hotel in Singapore and the place where the Singapore Sling was invented.  Only hotel guests and patrons of the restaurant or bar can actually go inside.  We were told that in order to "experience" a Singapore Sling in the place of it's invention, you would have to pay $26 for one drink.

Sultan's Mosque

Our next stop was ar the Sultan's Mosque in the Arab sector.  Singapore was originally divided into sections by ethnic group and some of these artificial boundaries are still loosely maintained.  There is an English, a Malaysian, a Chinese, and an Arab section, surrounding the business district.

Restored Shophouses in Chinatown

One of the unique architectural forms you will still see in Singapore is the Shophouse.   This was designed so that a shop owner could live above his store.  The 2nd floor also was designed with a 5 foot overhang, so shoppers could walk down the street and stay out of the rain and sun.

From there we visited Chinatown and the "Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Museum" We arrived in Singapore on the second day of the Chinese New Year, so today was a holiday in Singapore.  Many of the shops were closed but there were many people worshiping at the temple.  There were many alcoves along the walls, each containing a different large Buddha statue surrounded by many small ones.  In the center was a large altar.  Devotees were walking around the temple with small bowls filled with what appeared to be dimes, although I do not know

We made a short photo stop at the Merlion statue/fountain next.  This is the symbol of Singapore.  From this site I was also able to get a photo of one of Singapore's many unique buildings. This is actually 3 towers with a structure shaped like a long boat connecting them at the top.  I have been told there is even an infinity pool on that top level.  Can you imagine swimming in that, overlooking the city from that height?

I am having trouble uploading that photo. The Internet has been spotty since we left Singapore.  I wil try to include the rest in tomorrow's post.

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