Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Singapore on Foot

We had a plan when we got up this morning. First up the Asian Civilizations Museum, then Raffles Hotel for a Singapore Sling and a Shirley Temple and finally a trip to the orchid gardens for some peace and tranquility on our last day here in Singapore.

So we set off, on foot, I with my camera and map, my mom with a scratchy throat but a good attitude. It was a bit of a walk, I mean farther than we would walk anywhere at home, but sometimes it seems like a long walk is a whole hell of a lot easier than figuring out the public transportation system. And so we went.

I saw a lot of cool buildings and colors on the way...

We finally got to where our map said the Asian Civilizations Museum was, in fact, theoretically it was right by the Singapore Art Museum and the National Singapore Museum and that seemed to make sense. But alas it was no where to be found. Our whole time here I have attributed my navigational skills to an infallible map that ultimately, and apparently, led us astray. It was okay though. It was hot as hell (what else is new?) and we were ready to sit down for a drink. As we made our way towards Raffles Hotel it started POURING rain. Like major downpour that would have California freeways STOPPED.

And then about 75 seconds later the rain stopped and we kept walking.

Raffles Hotel opened in 1887 and is named after Singapore's "founder" Sir Stamford Raffles. It's colonial style and Asian-British charm draws in tourists from all over the world. Almost everyone visits the Long Bar where the Singapore Sling was invented - there are peanut shells all over the ground, but the wood and vintage details make the ambiance perfect. As it turns out the hotel has a ton of interesting history (which you can read here, if you like.)

After our drinks we thought we'd head to the gardens, but alas the public transportation issue sort of appeared again. Yes, we could see the stop names on the subway map, but we couldn't really be sure if they were anywhere near where we wanted to go and add in a bus transfer somewhere and you've pretty much lost us. We both figured we didn't care enough about the gardens to shlep all the way over there, so instead we did a little shopping and kept on walking.

I read online that Singapore has the world's largest Ferris Wheel. Actually we saw it when we drove in from the airport and it's huge. Although "ferris wheel" is apparently too puerile a word for this thing and so they call it "The Singapore Flyer - the World's largest OBSERVATION WHEEL." Anyway. I really wanted to get a few photos of this thing, so I tried to steer us towards it.

On the way we found ourselves on the marina which had TONS of construction going on. I counted well over fifty cranes all along the bay's shoreline. I knew from our cab ride from the airport that one thing under construction was a new and fancy casino:

After a few moments of doubt and agreeing that we were both totally drained from the heat and all of the walking, we saw the Singapore Flyer peering over the treeline and we headed over there. I had no intention of going on it. Seriously, I just wanted one sweet photo. Please people, that is just too high and too scary.

But my mom said that dammit if we were walking all the way over there we were going to get on it whether I liked it or not.

I didn't like it. But I agreed. And I also paid for the tickets so that I wouldn't feel bad for staring at my feet the entire time. Come on! It's like 42 stories high! You can see Indonesia and Malaysia from the top!

I looked at the floor for a good portion of the time. Palms sweating, audio guide attached to my ear for distractionary purposes. My mom, bless her brave soul wandered about the cabin and took some photos for me. I took some too, but when I looked out the windows, I made sure to look any way BUT DOWN.

All in all I would say that I'm mostly happy that I went on the Singapore Flyer so that I could A. Blog about it, B. Brag about it and C. Never fucking do it again!!

We grabbed a cab back to Little India and decided to have a late lunch/early dinner. We hit up the same place we ate at yesterday, because hey, why mess with a good thing? It was delicious again.

Anyway. I've loved Singapore. I think one of the best parts about this trip is that every city we have visited has been vastly different from the one before - even if they were in the same country. Singapore has been no exception, in fact if anything, Singapore seems to be many different cities all packed into one.

Tomorrow it is back to Seoul for my brother's wedding, which I'm looking forward to. And then back home again.


Oh Asia. What a whirlwind it's been.