Hi Everyone, We’re back at the boat after our quick trip to Singapore. It was a rush but a good trip. Ru
Singapore October 2009
Just a few photos from our very rushed trip to Singapore. We went Saturday morning and returned on Tuesday morning. Randal needed some boat parts and we both wanted to load up on books. We also wanted to see friends and that was the most rushed part of the trip: just enough time to say hello and good-bye. But we’ll see Marie-Louise and George again other places during our travels. Foolishly I left our contact info for Steve and Valerie on the boat and emailing didn’t work so we missed them, RATS!
We left Puteri Harbour at 9 am when the courtesy van took us to a nearby bus terminal where we could catch the Causeway bus to Singapore. Though Singapore is only over the river and down the road, it is a separate country so that meant exiting Malaysia and entering Singapore with all of the paperwork involved. The bus drops you at the Malaysia immigration building and you go through, get your exit paperwork done and then go back to the bus. We had forgotten to fill out the short exit form because we have been changing countries by boat for a while now and the paperwork for sea travel is different than by land travel. By the time we had filled in the short form we got caught in line behind a crowd from a tour bus. Our local bus didn’t wait so Randal and I had to take the next one coming through that would take us to Singapore. It came in about 20 minutes. Next we had to get off that bus and go through customs entering Singapore. Finally we caught a bus to take us to the Singapore MRT which would get us to Little India and the Broadway Hotel on Serangoon Rd. We have stayed there on previous visits and love the area. Our short trip had taken us the entire morning.
Little India was decorated for Deepavali. According to our Rally info sheet, the Hindu holiday of Deepavali was celebrated on October 17th and is the celebration of the triumph of good over evil. Called the Festival of Lights, it is always celebrated in the 7th month of the Hindu calendar. The streets of Little India were still full of the decorations.
Saturday we met Marie-Louise our cruising friend from the boat Dessert First for an early dinner at the Vivo City Mall. Marie-Louise has been “working” in Singapore as a volunteer consultant helping to develop the type of retirement facility for the elderly that she worked to establish in San Francisco for the Chinese community. Singapore is using the model that Marie-Louise developed so they are picking Marie-Louise’s brains for ideas. Luckily Marie-Louise has lots of brains so she can afford to let them be picked. My brain was not working and I forgot to get out my camera before we parted. But you can see lots of Marie-Louise on our website and see the wonderful slide show she created from our time in Singapore early last spring. We ate in a restaurant called Marche and it was very good. Luckily we went early: when we finally left there was a very long line waiting to get in.
Scene from the Vivo City Mall where they were already reminding shoppers that Christmas will be coming. An image very different from what you see in Little India or Chinatown. This could be any big city mall in any country.
Sunday we went off to meet George who is married to my college friend Eileen. During our trip back home to the U.S. this past spring we visited them and had a really good time. George was in Singapore on business. He brought us wonderful stuff from home: books, booze and real Ghirardelli chocolate! Eileen and George had chosen a selection of books that should keep us busy for quite a while. The new Dan Brown, Paul Theroux travel books and some old favorites so I can discover Nancy Mitford. We spent a wonderful long lunch with George where we toasted the absent Eileen, back home working and attending to their new very adorable puppy Rambo III. Mid-afternoon George went off to his business meeting and Randal and I walked back to one art supply shop and another art supply shop looking for copper powder that Randal needed , but “no have” as they say here. Then we went back to our room in Little India and began to read. We’d eaten such a huge wonderful lunch that even I didn’t want dinner. Well maybe a few of those pieces of chocolate!
George and Randal
Monday Randal and I went off on our separate tasks. Randal was off in search of boat stuff and I went off to look for an instructional drawing DVD. I knew that Kinokuniya, the largest bookstore in SE Asia didn’t have any because Randal and I had been there Saturday afternoon. He had gotten American Caesar about Douglas MacArthur and General Patton: A Soldier’s Story. I got the new AS Byatt, The Children’s Book. It follows the fictional lives of children’s book authors and I thought it sounded interesting. Those books plus the pile from Eileen and George will set us for a good long while and make us the envy of other cruisers. We’ll share when we finish. Anyway, I decided to walk to the Borders Bookstore in Wheelock Place on Orchard Road. It took me about an hour of steady walking but I like walking in Singapore. I was disappointed to find no instructional art DVDs of any kind so instead settled for some of the new Watercolor magazines, “The International Herald Tribune”, and “The Columbia Journalism Review” so I could read the articles about how well or not journalists cover the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Oprah was tempting but I decided to save my money for coffee and a cranberry muffin in the coffee shop. Then rested and fed I started back to Little India. My mission there was to find a replacement for my recently dearly departed white blouse. I walked and looked and said, “no thank you,” a thousand times. Just couldn’t find anything I loved so that will be a quest for future travels. But walking through Little India is fun and I really didn’t need anything so it was easy just to look but not to buy anything.
We spent Monday evening resting and reading: Randal had walked a zillion miles too and did manage to get most of what he needed.
The room did have a TV. The main English language channel was CCTV, Central China Television which was what we watched during our time in China. It was nice to see “familiar” faces doing the news. But mostly we read.
A slice of Singapore. The view from our room in Little India.
Randal checking the Street Atlas while a local looks on. Often people will come up and ask if they can help direct us.
We walked past the Singapore Art Museum. Hard to imagine that his sculpture was moved here and Randal almost had me convinced that it was so huge that it must always have been there. But I had been to SAM several times during our 7 weeks early in 2009 and remembered it not being there. I was right and it is part of a traveling exhibit. I guess it is almost sacrilegious to say it reminds me of those horrible creatures representing chest phlegm in the cough medicine commercial on U.S. TV. It is pretty impressive when you pass by.
“Li Chen is regarded as one of the leading sculptors working in Asia today. His powerful, large-scale bronzes fuse Chan (Zen) thought with contemporary art practice. Li, who lives and works in both Shanghai and Taiwan, began his largely self-taught career by producing traditional Buddhist sculptures. In the 1990s, he freed himself from the restraints of the traditional canon while retaining a profound spirituality in his work. This was further deepened through his study of scriptures in Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism. In 2007, a large scale exhibition of Li Chen’s work was presented at the 52nd Venice Biennale and in 2008; his work was recognized at a major solo exhibition titled In Search of Spiritual Space at The National Art Museum of China in Beijing.” From the SAM website.
I thought it was funny that they called the “Walk” symbol the “Green Man.”
Bus terminal in Johor. Actually the small station with the several food stalls was at my back. Not sure what is structure was across the small yellow bridge. But it is definitely a much different scene from Singapore