Trip Start Jan 03, 2008
46Trip End Apr 27, 2008
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Where I stayed
Singapore was our last port in Southeast Asia-itīs a tiny country just at the tip of the Malay Peninsula. Few of the 63 islands that make up the country are inhabited-the largest, Singapore Island, has a population of more than 3,000,000. The city is a mix of old and new, with huge skyscrapers and high-rise apartments standing next to older, much smaller buildings. Lots of the older streets are narrow and filled with little shops. Above the shops, tall shutters hide the windows and stand as reminders of colonial times.
We were all interested in the very strict laws in Singapore but were not really impacted by them-of course, it was pretty easy for us to avoid gum chewing and spitting. The city is clean- there is no litter and no graffiti-and very safe, even in the middle of the night.
We took a tour of the city called "A Taste of Singapore" and our guide (who pays close attention to the nuances of words) really did focus on "tastes." We started out in the Chinese section of the city, where we had time to walk through the markets, sample some spices, and visit a Hindu temple
We then walked over to a tea shop and enjoyed a lesson on the proper way to serve tea and to appreciate its aroma and flavor.
Then, we headed for the Raffles Hotel, a classic reminder of the colonial period, where we could ponder the likes of Rudyard Kipling and Somerset Maugham, who frequented the Long Bar in the hotel. It was a very hot day, so we were pleased to seek refuge in the hotel with its high ceilings and wide, shaded porches.
We had lunch in the Royal China Restaurant, and were treated to a special selection of Dim Sum, and crispy chicken and duck. Before heading back to the ship, we stopped at the Indian Market and sampled some spicy crackers (our guide really wanted us to "taste" Singapore), and watched the artistic application of Henna tattoos on customers who were ready and willing to have their arms decorated. Jude and I splurged on several yards of silk before we headed back to the ship.
On our way back we drove by the Sultan Mosque and a huge construction site where a casino complex is being built (an "integrated entertainment center", according to our guide, who also noted that Singapore was not a "small" city but a "compact" one and that prices in the bazaars are not "cheap" but "reasonable." Heīs been schooled well in the careful use of language.)
March 8, Saturday
Today was spent shopping near the terminal complex. Jude and I went to a Reflexology Center and got our legs and feet worked over-we felt great afterward and ready to keep on walking.