Day 23 24 Singapore

            Singapore has a rich, multi-cultural history that pops up to surprise you around every corner.  What is also looming wherever you look is Modern Singapore.  The city is a financial hub for Asia.  The tall buildings loom over you and…what?…someone put a big boat on top of those three skyscrapers. 

            We’ll get back to that later.  The first clue that this may be Moneytown was in the lobby of the Raffles Hotel.  They have a gold bar ATM.  Can’t get your Kit-Kat at this machine, but you can get a few ounces of gold.

                        The big names in shopping al have their stores here.  Outside the Prada store, I thought I’d catch up on the news by snooping at this guy’s paper.

                                                                         Holmes is everywhere.

                                          The paper may be a little old.  Mount Rushmore is complete? 

                                              I think there might be room for more heads.

                    That’s another trip Bubba.  We’ll get to that in due time.  Back to Singapore.

Singapore has fast forwarded its economy.  Buildings are ultra-modern and reaching for the stars.  This hotel complex was designed with a connecting top that is supposed to look like a ship.

                                                                 Yeah, sure, why not. 

                Across from there are the Gardens by the Bay, a huge park consisting of three massive gardens.  A bit of green inside your city.

                                                  The lagoon is filled with colorful parade boats. 

                                 These guys could probably row faster if they weren’t tied to the dock.

                Just across the highway is a gigantic three floor shopping arcade.  You want it, they got it.  Racing Venetian gondolas?  No problem.

                                                               An ice rink?  Sure we have that.

What’s that store in the corner?  It is all about me!  A super hero store and café!!

                              When traveling, we like to eat at local places…and the Super hero Café. 

                                           The Art and Science Museum is housed in a giant lotus flower.

                                                                  And some sea creature lion hybrid stands proud at the edge of the water. 

                                                                                   This is the Merlion symbol of Singapore.

                                                             It looks like maybe the smoke from the fires in Indonesia is getting to his tummy.

                                      It must be time to head to the airport to wave goodbye to the big yellow bear thing and head east (and south) again.

                                                                I think I may start flying with my old pal Sid.  It looks like he is leaving soon.

As the sign says, Sydney is departing.

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Day 21, 22 Singapore

                    Day 21 and day 22 in Bubba’s trip to go “East” and our trip to accompany him.

Heading east from Dubai would take me somewhere like the Himalayas, China, North Korea.  Maybe I should veer southeast instead.  I’ve heard that crossing the equator causes your hair to fall out so maybe I will stop just shy of the big red line on the map.

            Singapore is 80 or so miles north of the equator so I should be safe.  We stayed in the Chinese quarter at this hotel that once was a Chinese temple.

          They have a Bubba sized model of what the area looked like back in the day.  Our place is the short one in the middle that still looks pretty much the same.   

          Up in our room, we found some goodies to commemorate the Mid-Autumn festival.  I’m always ready to munch sweets and check out the view of the market from my room.

            Singapore is an almost mystical blend of the past and the up-to-the-minute present.  A wander around the neighborhood took us back to the historic side of this part of the city.  We came across this temple, still in use.  This place has some beautiful carvings and is a sacred place. 

          So you know the bit over your front door?  No one really looks there; they are ringing the bell.  In this place, every surface is filled with carvings with deep religious meanings.  This is the Thian Hock Keng Temple or Palace of Heavenly Happiness first built around 1821. 

            Inside there are places devoted to the different gods.  Each have a deep meaning and each have their own offerings left behind by devotees.  This being Singapore, one of the friendliest places I’ve ever visited, a man standing near heard us admiring the work and explained some of the things we were seeing.  He was a professor at the local university who would explain things to tourists during his visits.

                                  What is that offering I see at the foot of the God with the big tongue?

                                                        It is indeed a can of Guinness! 

These two are Generals Fan and Xie, the guardians of hell, also known as the Black and White Guards of Impermanence.  One can imagine the significance of the can O’ Guinness. 

It is a little hot and damp today.  Illegal forest clearing in Indonesia contributes smoke to the mix.  It is downright melty out here.

                           It is time for something to cool my soul.  I’ll ask this guy for a ride.

“You know where a guy could get a cool drink in a classy place that represents Singapore’s past?”

                    This is, of course, a not so cleverly done set up for the next bunch of pictures.

                                                   Take me to Raffles Hotel! 

            The hotel’s roots go back to the 1830’s and it was eventually named after Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore.  It is a classic colonial British building.  I could sip tea on the veranda.

            Nah! That isn’t my style.  I’ll head to Harry’s bar.  This is the place where the Singapore Sling was invented…and they have free peanuts.

Warm day, fans overhead gently moving the hot, moist air, and a nice tropical cocktail.  I can’t help overhearing someone speak of a tiger hunt and I think he actually said the words, “Dash it all!” and “My word!”  It is a dozy kind of day.

            You must forgive Bubba in letting his imagination roam a bit.  This is a modern bar with all the trappings from the past so it is easy to send your mind back 100 years or so.

            Time to go back to the room for a nap.  Let’s see if I can find it.  It had red shutters and looked out over the shopping arcade.

                     Yeah, one of those.  Tomorrow I’ll check out the modern version of the city.