South East Asia 2017 - Day 3: Singapore

 

7 August 2017 - cloudy, fine, showers, 28°

We got up again before dawn and this time walked down to the river at Coleman Bridge, passing the brightly coloured shutters on the Old Hill Street Police Station.  Singapore is an interesting mix of the old colonial era buildings which have been preserved and the new modern shiny buildings.  And the Old Hill Street Police Station is an example of both, with the street building being retained and given a new update and a new building being built in behind it with lots of glass and steel.

At the river we shot until the sun came up (rather weakly) and then explored the back streets of Boat Quay looking for breakfast.  As I mentioned in the last blog I wasn’t ready to hit the McDonalds, but we had to settle for an Australian themed bar/café instead ( also not the top of my list of places to go; I am very proud of the fact that in my 6 years spent in UK and Ireland I only went to an Australian bar once, and that was under duress! )

After breakfast it was back to the hotel for a quick shower and refresh then out again at 9:30.  We walked across the road and went into the beautiful St Andrew’s Cathedral for a look around.  The exterior is a classic English church, but the interior has an interesting mix of colonial and local decorations, right down to the rattan pews.

Next we jumped back on the MRT and headed to Orchard Station as someone wanted a bit of retail therapy.  After popping up to street level at the junction of Orchard Road and Scotts Road / Paterson Road, there was no way to cross them but by heading back down to the MRT and through an “underpass” ( more of a shopping arcade crossed with a maze ).  Eventually we found our way back up to daylight and carried on walking west along Orchard Road.  Again the shops were not the kind of places we would frequent so we quickly found ourselves at the end of the shopping strip, just in time for today’s downpour.  Just the right time to grab a cool drink and rest the feet for ½ an hour.

Once the rain stopped we crossed over Orchard Road and started heading east again.  At one stage a nice man asked us if we were from New Zealand ( he spotted Liz’s greenstone necklace ) and told us all about how he had NZ friends because he lived next to the NZ Army Barracks.  Very nice man, but what he really wanted was for us to go see his “friend” who sold really cheap eyeglasses and would be happy to do us a deal.  Having achieved his goal he then wandered off back to whatever profession he normally did secure in the knowledge that he had earned a bit of commission.  Needless to say we bought nothing and made no agreement to come back.

We carried on down Orchard Road to Somerset MRT Station ( by this time the shops had become a little more reasonable in their prices ) and we jumped on the train and headed ( downtown ) to Chinatown.  We popped up in the middle of the series of narrow alleys, in the rain, with canopies all extending over the street.   The buildings themselves almost have a French look to them with their shuttered windows, but everything else is pure China.

After wandering around we finally found our way to the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple and went inside ( after a brief bit of clothing addition by Liz to cover her shoulders ).  This temple is very cool with thousands of little Buddha statues lining the walls and other deities statues as well.  But it did feel more like a tourist attraction than a ‘working’ temple. 

We headed back out into the sun shine and headed north back towards the river, stopping briefly for some lunch and a chat to a couple of Australians on their way home from a few months in Scandinavia, Iceland, and the UK ( complete with their 9 kg of camera gear ; oh how happy we are to have our Fujifilm set up )

We crossed over the river into Clarke Quay ( a party zone that was a bit quiet at 2pm. )  Back to the hotel for some much needed rest.

We headed back out again at 6pm, wandering along the river to the Fullerton Hotel then across to the Merlion again.  The plan was to shoot the full moon rising behind the Marina Bay Sands (didn’t see it ) then the sunset ( nothing happened ) then the light show from the Marina Bay Sands at 8pm ( very cool ).  But as an interlude to that they were rehearsing for the National Day so there were 4 passes of fighter planes ( F15 or F16’s ) to keep us entertained.  After the lightshow we wandered to the Raffles City Mall and grabbed some tea ( the only white faces there ) and then back to the hotel @ 10pm