We’ve just spend four wonderful nights in Singapore, staying with friends in the “expensive part” of town on Nassim Road. They told me that the rental on apartments in this street can be as much as $30,000 per month!
Whilst chatting over drinks, our host Deanne, described Singapore as “Disneyland for Adults”, and after our day out yesterday, I can understand why. The city has something for everyone. There are hawker stalls, expensive restaurants and bars, high street shopping, local markets, theme parks, museums and public gardens, efficient transport infrastructure defined by lush tropical tree lined streets, all complemented by the ethnic diversity of Chinatown, Little India and Arab Street.
We didn’t see all the sites, but here is a snippet of our day out in this busy Disney style Asian City. Those of you who know us well, understand that we aren’t early risers, so our 10am start should come as no surprise.
We planned a visit to Gardens by the Bay and ordered a cab to collect us. Singapore doesn’t get going until mid morning, so there was no feeling of guilt that half the day had already gone by the time we left the apartment. The star attractions at Gardens by the Bay are the Cloud Forest, the Flower Dome and the Supertree Grove, all built on land reclaimed from the sea.
The Flower Dome was recognised as the World’s largest glass greenhouse by Guinness World Records earlier this year, and the complex was awarded the World Building of the year at the world architecture festival in 2012. What also impressed me about the Gardens were its integrated sustainability elements. Solar panels, a biomass plant and recycled water are all key features of the Park’s closed loop system.
It was a very hot and humid 34 degree day, so we headed home for a relax and a well deserved plunge in the pool, to ready ourselves for the night ahead. The Marina Bay Sands was on tonight’s itinerary.
Our hosts insisted that we must have a drink at the Ku De Ta bar on top of the Marina Bay Sands, a 57 storey complex comprising three towers, interconnected by an amazing ship like structure, precariously placed on the very top. Perhaps not precarious, but certainly unique. As you could imagine, the views from the bar across the city were amazing. Before arriving at the bar, Jim had jokingly stated that I could buy the drinks……I did shout the cheapest round. The glass of Shiraz and a 500ml bottle of sparkling mineral water only cost me $40! Thanks for your generosity Jim – he paid for a few rounds of drinks and four plates of nibbles :-). We enjoyed a beautiful sunset from the Ku De Ta, watching dusk turn into night, as the lights of this busy city transformed it in to a dazzling wonderland.
In the streets below, local hawker stalls began to stoke their coal fires in readiness to feed satay sticks and other Asian delicacies such as pig’s organ soup and wok fried noodles to the throng of hungry diners. My Singapore experience tonight had to include a hawker stall meal. It seemed incongruous that we could move so quickly from the comfort of our expensive up-market 57th floor bar to the plastic chairs and tables that had taken over the streets and laneways below, but that is what we did. We chose the 32 piece “Satay Set”, a Roti Murtabak and a plate of Kway Teow to share amongst the four of us, washed down with a refreshing lime juice. Half way through the meal, I glanced to my left and giggled aloud. My amusement was triggered by the realisation that here we were, eating street food in the middle of a closed laneway right outside the Singapore Stock Exchange. I had perfect vision of live stock prices from share markets across the globe, displayed on large monitors in the Stock Exchange windows.
The night could have easily continued into the early hours of tomorrow morning, especially after seeing the young, and young at heart, enjoying a late night drink as we took an after dinner stroll through the outside bars of Club Street. Instead, being “more mature” (code for very hot and tired) we headed home for a bed time cuppa.
Thank you Jim and Deanne for sharing your city with us. Singapore is indeed a place of diversity and entertainment.