Singapore 4 – 7 November
After four months at anchor in Indonesia we were all looking forward to visiting Singapore and staying in a hotel. Also, you can buy anything in Singapore and we had some boat spares and a camera that we wanted to buy. We also managed to arrange a berth in the marina at Puteri so we could leave the boat without worrying about the weather.
|Little India at night|
We had agreed with the others that we would go to the chandlers the first day to buy all our spares and then go to the Sim City, a shopping mall devoted to selling electronic items.
As Catherine and I were walking along the street in the monsoon rains, we took cover in a restaurant where by chance so had the others. Just as well as none of us could actually find the chandlers where we had agreed to meet and it took a good hour of walking around before we figured out the address system in Singapore.
With some of the parts purchased we went off to Sim City, just to have a look at the cameras. Sim City was huge with all five floors selling every piece of electronic equipment you could imagine. Such a shock after Indonesia where buying bread is a challenge.
Catherine and I had both agreed we would not buy it that day but just to do the research. Needless to say that we bought a camera in the second shop we went into but at least that meant no more looking.
|Artificiall trees seen during the day|
We took the metro to the Marina Bay Gardens and met up with the others in the evening. Each night they put on a light show to music and it is a big tourist draw. The show was spectacular with big artificial trees in the centre lit up with multi coloured lights that changed with the music – more in keeping with Las Vegas than SE Asia. It was very well done. We all had dinner in the Hawker Centre in the park where you can buy Chinese and Indian food from a variety of stalls, all freshly cooked to order.
The next day we all went our separate ways. Catherine and I were going to do a walking tour of the city but not before I had travelled across town to buy some spares for our outboard where amazingly they had the right parts for our 16 year old engine. Finding the place was a challenge but it was a good two hours well spent – otherwise we would be replacing the engine.
We met for a coffee in the centre of town where there are 27 huge shopping malls just along one street. We are not shoppers so we quickly left there and set for our walking tour.
|Marina Bay Sands Hotel with a boat on top|
The mix of old colonial building and stunning modern designs is very well done – one of the more attractive cities we have been to for a long time. We found a restaurant overlooking the river and while we had lunch we watched the dragon boat races where 750 competitors from around the world had gathered – including a team from the UK. The event was over two days so we only saw a few of the races but it made for a lively atmosphere.
|International Dragon boat races|
|Dirnks at Raffles|
That night we met up with the others at Raffles Hotel, famous for inventing the Singapore Sling. The prices are a shock but it is a very nice place to have a drink and most of us opted for the “on tap” menu – basically a fixed price for drinks for a two hour period and they keep filling up your glass when empty. Catherine did not fancy the “on tap” menu ordered a martini. Dazzled with a huge array of gins (excpet the one she actually wanted), Catherine selected one after discussion with the waiter. It turned out to be their most expensive which we found out when we came to pay the bill. It cost more than my entire drinks bill for the evening!
|Infinity Pool at the top of the hotel|
|Drinks at Marina Bay Sands Hotel|
We spent the next day in the art gallery in the morning followed by a trip up to the bar on Marina Bay Sands Hotel – the 27th floor which is on the ship that straddles the three towers of the hotel. It is one of those must do tourist things and gave us a good view of the city. It was a very relaxing place to have a drink before we set off to meet the others at the jazz concert in the botanical gardens. It was a shame we did not have more time to explore the gardens since they looked wonderful. We sat and enjoyed the music in perfect weather listening to a very good band.
|Concert in the park|
Jazz at the Blue Elephant
Catherine and I wanted to go and eat in a restaurant in town while the others opted for a Hawkers market. We had loosely discussed meeting at a Blue Elephant jazz bar in the evening but had no idea where it was. After dinner we strolled along the river for about an hour on our way back to the metro when we spotted Gary and Bev in a bar – the Blue Elephant jazz bar. It was an open mic night so anyone could get up and sing or take over an instrument from the band.
The first guitarist who joined the group played a joint lead with the band’s other guitarist and they were so good together we guessed that must have practised together. But apparently not according to the band’s singer – people just come up and play. There are some talented people about.
A twelve year got up and started tuning up and the guitar looked too big for him. We did wonder why his parents let him out at midnight on a Sunday and were about to leave just as he started playing and we sat down again – captivated. He was alternating lead between himself and the other lead guitarist and filling in as rhythm in between – so confident for one so young (and talented). We stayed until the evening descended into Karaoke at which point the drunks had taken over. We had missed the last metro back to the hotel and took a taxi with Gary and Bev.
Back to Malaysia
The final day we I had to go and buy the new anchor. We had lost confidence in our existing anchor opting for one of the new designs which will reset even if they are pulled out – something that was very attractive after our previous experience. I had found a shop that had the anchor we wanted (I tried in Malaysia before we left but to no avail) and had to get a taxi back to the hotel – carrying a 27kg anchor on the metro was not going to work. Even the taxi driver was not happy about putting the anchor in his taxi when he felt the weight of it. We spent the rest of the morning idling our time away before getting the taxi back to the bus station in Malaysia and then a short taxi ride back to our boat, still safely tied up in the marina.
Now we could start thinking about our sail up the Malaysian coast towards Thailand.