Singapore October 26, 2013

We have concluded 4 days in Singapore.  Singapore is an island and according to an ancient legend from the 8th century, a sea monster appeared that was half lion and half fish and made such an impression on the Malay prince that he renamed the city “Singapura” which means “Lion City”.  So the Merlion is the symbol of Singapore.  

Image

 

What a pleasant place to visit!  Singapore was supposed to be a stop off destination for a few days to break up the travel time from Bangkok to Bali. But, it has turned out, as so many other unplanned places we have visited, to be a real surprise.  

We knew we were no longer in Thailand, Cambodia, Turkey or India as soon as we left the airport.  First, the official language of Singapore is English so we could read all the signs. Second, the landscaping along the streets, a six-lane tree lined esplanade was lovely and free of trash and debris. We found out later that they spend $450,000,000.00 per year on the trees and landscaping in Singapore.  There are sooo many rain trees that look like umbrellas.  The British originally brought the trees to Singapore, from India.  We also found out that if you build either commercially or residentially you must contribute 10% of the square footage of the structure to “green space” in and around your building.  Next the streets, cars, houses, buildings were all clean, well maintained and modern. Then, we saw the skyline for the city and we both thought we were in Chicago.  So many tall modern glass buildings. Rita and I looked at each other and said this was going to be an easy place to do some R&R!!

What do you know about Singapore?  It is one of only three city-states in the world, which includes the Vatican and Monaco.  It has a population of 5.5 million people, but everywhere we went the locals said the city was too small. It is the fourth largest financial city in the world behind London, New York and Hong Kong.  These are: “Just the facts, mam.  Just the facts!”

But, Singapore is so much more than the facts.  Did you know it is illegal to sell chewing gum in Singapore?  If you are convicted of littering three times, you have to clean the streets on Sunday wearing a bib that says: “I am a litterer”.  Failure to flush a public toilet after use is subject to very hefty fines.  Hooking onto an unsecured wi-fi connection is illegal and punishable with hefty fines.  Bungee jumping is illegal.  Smoking is banned in all public places.  It has the world’s tallest Ferris wheel.  Singaporeans are the “fastest” walkers in the world. It is considered pornographic, and therefore illegal, to walk around your home in the nude.  It is illegal to hug another person without his/her consent.  No guns or firecrackers are allowed. You cannot poke fun at any religion. But, it is illegal to carry a bible or to speak to anyone about Jesus Christ. How are all these laws enforced??? YOU ASK????? Well, in Singapore they use “plain clothes” policemen and women to watch out for these offenses, so …… beware!

On our first night, we ate at Indochine.  Indochine specializes in Southeast Asian food from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand.  Our appetizers were Asian shrimps wrapped around a sugar cane stick, they were great! Rita had lamb chops “Vietnamese style” and I had truffle’d duck. All were amazing!

Rita and I are staying across from the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Casino. 

Image

It is a three building structure with a bar, restaurant and swimming pool on the 57th floor. We had dinner there last night at Ku De Ta, a clever play on phonetics and watched the laser light show that Marina Bay Sands puts on each evening that shows up on the waters surrounding it.  Afterwards we walked around Clarke Quay and Boat Quay, which are areas along the riverfront lined with bars, restaurants and music venues. The crowds of people were unbelievable. But, the weather here is perfect for just hanging out. The daytime high is near 90 and the evening lows are near 70.  We saw Singaporeans wearing interesting costumes although we do not know why. Maybe a bachelorette party?  Maybe they were celebrating Halloween for westerners?  We passed some twin girls and I wanted to take their picture b/c I didn’t actually know what they were dressed as, but they were really cute and had backpacks and Rita giggled loudly at the two girls because they were dressed as Fook – Yu and Fook – Me.  Of course, since I had no idea what she was giggling about when we got home she found the u-tube video from the Austin Powers movie and made me watch it!  

Singapore is a shoppers paradise with mega-malls of luxury goods on almost every corner and all the malls are connected so that you can walk from one mall to another mall without going outside.  We did do a little shopping, as Rita finally got a new pair of high heels, a kick ass pair of high heels too!  Now she’ll quit whining about not having any high-heeled shoes.  While not a shopper myself, I love to watch shoppers and I am amazed at the women who buy a Prada purse for $8,000 and get their credit card out of their $2,500 Gucci billfold from their $6,000 Louis Vuitton purse!!  Seriously, most of these women have two and three designer shopping bags on their arm!!  It is truly amazing to see such wealth in the world up close and in action after passing through such poverty stricken areas in Thailand where the minimum wage is $10 a day, and the average annual income might be $2900.

On our last morning in Singapore as we are entering the lounge for breakfast, the hostess stopped us to say that Rita is not allowed to wear “slippers” to the lounge as it is against the dress code! Seriously??????? DRESS CODE???? SHE HAS WORN THESE SAME SHOES EVERY DAY IN THIS LOUNGE along with all the other women that were wearing the same type of shoe!!!  So needless to say, I immediately spotted women in the lounge wearing so called slippers and pointed them out, but we were turned away.  Rita even explained to the gal that she did not bring anything other than her so-called slippers.  So we went back to the room, read the rules, and they say “COVERED SHOES ONLY”. O.K.  So COVERED shoes are nowhere NEAR a slipper or as we call them a slip on sandal.  So I, Rita, not Norm, put on my gold sandals that have a T-strap with a strap around the heal (hence… no slip shoe).  We went back to the Lounge and lo and behold… we passed the dress code.  Good thing because by now we were famished!!

Image

As soon as we were seated, Norm is noticing all the women in there that have on flip-flops, sandals, EVERYTHING BUT A COVERED SHOE!!!  So NORM (THE LAWYER NORM) brought all of this to the hostess that rejected us and all she could do was shrug her shoulders and all of a sudden she doesn’t understand ENGLISH!!! WHOAH… That did it! SO… STORMIN NORMIN went to the manager of the lounge and again reiterated everything that happened, pointed out all of the NON-DRESS-CODE shoes in the lounge and told her that if you have a rule, enforce it, but do not pick and choose who you enforce it on.  She told Stormin Normin that she would look into and get back with him.  Of course, if any of you know NORM… he looks at his watch thousands of times a day, (must be from a life of keeping track of every billing minute) and we did not get a call or any response by the time we left the lounge. So of course STORMIN NORMIN KICKED IT UP A NOTCH… and complained to the General Manager of the hotel who called us back, apologized for both of them, sent us a nice apology card, chocolates and a bottle of wine.  Need a good lawyer???? Call Stormin Normin….

 After such a rough morning, we decided to go over to the Raffles Hotel to see how they treat their guests on a daily basis.  The Raffles Hotel is a historical hotel from British colonial times, which hasn’t changed much over the years.  Its claim to fame is the Singapore Sling developed by their bartender Ngiam Tong Boon sometime in the late 1800’s.  So when in Singapore do as the Singaporeans and have yourself a Singapore Sling!!! Of course we indulged in this and it was even before NOON!

 Image

It has been so long since either of us have had one that we were amazed at how good they really are when made properly!! Rita copied the recipe for all you youngin’s out there who have yet to taste the pleasure of this tropical luscious amazing drink!! They would be great to make in a large kegger that you could just hit the tap and voila … pour yourself a drink! Maybe a kegger of these by the pool in the summertime! Yes… very nice!

 Image

 This afternoon we fly to Bali. Hope our arms don’t get tired. Congratulations to Kyle and Mandy who celebrated 16 years of marriage yesterday. I am so proud of them.

Love and miss you all.  –Norm & Rita

Singapore

What a view from our room! This is Marina Bay Sands. Ku De Ta restaurant is on the top of this.

What a view from our room! This is Marina Bay Sands.        Ku De Ta restaurant is on the top of this.

Night photo of the Marina Bay Sands

Night photo of the Marina Bay Sands

The WORLD'S largest ferris wheel.

The WORLD’S largest ferris wheel.

View from Ku De Ta.

View from Ku De Ta.

Another view from the top.

Another view from the top.

This soccer field is suspended above the water. Guess you lose your ball if you kick it to far!

This soccer field is suspended above the water. Guess you lose your ball if you kick it to far!

Clark Quay

Clarke Quay

Boat Quay

Boat Quay

Boat Quay

Boat Quay

Anyone Hungry??

Anyone Hungry??

Different options for all appetites!

Different options for all appetites!

Sunrise in Singapore

Sunrise in Singapore

Our rock zen garden

Our rock zen garden

Poolside

Poolside

You can eat dinner in these ferris wheel cars.

You can eat dinner in these ferris wheel cars.

Famous Merlion.

Famous Merlion.

10 thoughts on “Singapore October 26, 2013

  1. Mary Didier, YES send me Dolly Parton!! Let me know how Lauren liked Michigan State!! and how was UK? UK has a GREAT cheer program, but you also need to fit the cheer to the studies she is wanting!! Email me with the details!

    Like

  2. Mary, I think you are referring to Bali Hai from South Pacific. That was actually filmed in Bora Bora, Tahiti. That is our last stop on our tour. Today we are leaving the coast of Bali and going to central Bali where Eat! Pray! Love! was filmed. We are staying the next 4 nights at the same resort where Julia Roberts stayed during the filming of the movie.

    Like

  3. Ah ha!!! Jealous all of them. !!!! ha ha. At least you got some chocolate out of it!! And a bottle of wine! What an interesting place. Oh, and onto Bali…. I am imagining a musical on the beach as the wind blows through the palm trees. (this inference may predate Rita) lol

    Like

  4. Wow?! Surprised y’all haven’t been arrested yet?! Mom have you been arrested for being in your birthday suit? I can’t wait to start my gum cartel in Singapore !! I’m going to be so rich !!

    We miss you guys!!!!

    Like

  5. Can’t wait to try the Singapore Sling, yum yum.
    I love reading your blogs, great job with detail and setting the stage of the places you visit, great storytelling both of you.
    Tom said you liked our Halloween costumes, I need to send you Dolly Parton….what a hoot. I hadn’t been to a dress up costume party in 20 years. Life is busy, busy, busy, went to Michigan State for visit with Lauren Saturday, back to UK in December. Can’t believe she will be graduating. Safew travels, love ya both.
    Mary & Tom ,

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s