Wednesday 21st March (including Tuesday 20th)
So big a day in fact it was almost 48 hours long!
As you saw from my temporary post, our first encounter with jet lag has been as disorientating for us as it is for everyone but, no matter, Singapore is worth it. Even as we drove from the airport through the early morning twilight we could see the city was impressive.
We dropped the luggage off at the hotel and set off to explore… hang the jet lag!
Just outside our hotel was the Singapore River and we hopped on a water taxi for a trip down the Singapore River to Marina Bay. The city was stunning. It was photos all the way, much to the amusement of an expat who was the only other person on the boat and commuting to work. What a commute!
That set the tone for the rest of the morning. As we walked around the Bay it was one photograph of a ‘wow factor’ view after another. Marina Bay is now cut off from the sea by a barrage and is used as a freshwater reservoir. At the same time land has been reclaimed and built on. As land prices in Singapore are so high, the only way to build is up and up they have built!
We got off the boat at Merlion Park (the Merlion is the symbol of Singapore and gave the city its original name singha purra.) and walked around to the foot of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel, had a quick shufty at the Gardens by the bay and then across the Helix Bridge and back up the river towards the Hotel. By now it was hot. Not sunny, but hot. Gosh it was hot, hot and steamy. It was a bit of a shock to the system going from sub-zero to the high thirties in less than 24 hours. Not that we were complaining mind you, if Wendy was a little grumpy, it was because she was thirsty and tired, not hot.
Even though she was thirsty and tired (not too hot!) Wendy wouldn’t let her standards slip. As we searched for somewhere to buy a drink, it couldn’t just be anywhere that sold drinks; it had to have the right ‘ambience’. Ambience is a concept that Wendy values highly and one that she pursues with vigour, be it the right combination of lighting at home, the right arrangement of garden furniture or the right picnic spot. She has even been known to apply the principle to parking spaces in car parks. Though we were as parched as a camel that had missed the oasis, we passed cafes and bars, one after another, until we found the perfect place a Singaporean café right on the river at Boat Quay, part of the city that still retains its 19th century charm. Iced Tea never tasted so good.
Refreshed, it was back to the hotel to see if our room is ready. We hadn’t realised that the water taxis only run in the morning and in the evenings as they are mainly for commuters so we had to walk. By now, Wendy was desperate for a kip, and rightly so. Despite it being midday, our heads were telling us it was really four o’clock in the morning and well past our bed times.
We got back to our Hotel earlier than we expected and our room wasn’t ready, so we had a bite to eat in the bar. Wendy had a leaf salad as she said she wasn’t hungry.
Once in our room we went out like lights only to be rudely awakened an hour or so later by the room phone. It was our taxi company seeing if we wanted to avail ourselves of any of their tours! Actually we did – ‘we are going to the zoo tomorrow, zoo tomorrow, zoo tomorrow;’ not to stay all day, but to have breakfast with the orang-utans. Singapore Zoo is one of Tripadvisor’s top five zoos in the world.
In the evening it was back on the water taxi to the Esplanade in the setting sun to climb to the top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel to watch the city light up from their Skypark. It was spellbinding watching the city spread out below us as the night grew darker and the lights became brighter. We were lucky that a light festival, running this month, enhanced this even more by lasers and installations.
I wanted to go and see the trees in the Garden by the Bay but Wendy was hungry (it was that paltry lunch she had) fortunately she had a little snack in her bag to keep her going, a piece of cake from the plane.
We strolled past the light sculptures, back to Boat Bay to the café we found this morning for a smashing meal with the lights of the city twinkling off the river.
Let’s hope we can get a decent night’s sleep? We should do. I have just checked my phone and we have walked 18 kilometres today – a really big day.
It’s an early start tomorrow as; “We are going to the zoo tomorrow, zoo tomorrow, zoo …”