The stay over in Singapore was far too short or far too long we cannot decide. We did not see everything we wanted to see, with a baby it is hard to keep a tight schedule and the heat did not help much. On the other side travelling with Ben is a blast he does not complain, not once has he complained during the past few days and we put him through many ordeals. Quite the opposite through his sweet toothless smile we were approached by many people. In Germany when you walk around with a baby in a stroller you’re a nuisance, people tend to look at you in a different, not necessarily a positive way. Here, we were stopped by mostly Asians, Westerners could not care less, and they wanted to talk to him and play with him. They wanted to enquire about his age and if he can walk and stuff,
it was an awesome experience and one that has really showed us how blessed we are. Even now, it is late at night at the airport and we had to check out this morning he is still smiling at people. It makes you think and he forces you to believe, to try better and to just smile. He has definitely enriched our trip. The picture on the right is shows how tired we all were by the end of each day.
There is not enough I can say about Ben, as a proud father I guess that is normal but I got to move on. The second day we
went to the Singapore Zoo, the zoo is awesome, the best I have seen so far. I guess the location helps as many of the animals feel right at home, in Wuppertal an elephant or a tiger does look a bit out of place as it is far from its natural environment. There were some special things to see but the white tigers, the cheetahs and the white rhinoceros were the ones that impressed me the best. The orangutan’s colony is well known and there are different shows that are quite entertaining, Ben did not seem to care much about the animals.
We chose to not rush to any other sites for the day and instead we went back to the hotel and went down to the pool. Ben loves the water and his mother does too. The day was hot and the pool helped us to cool down. The Shangri La hotel was not as good as I expected it to be. It had a nice pool area but the room was a little old, it was spacious but it looked like it needed some renovations. The staff
were excellent though, they were very friendly and some people knew Ben by his name. Lying by the pool I also started reading “One for the road” by Tony Horowitz a Travelogue about his trip a hitchhiker around Australia. Funny stuff and a way to prepare at least a bit for our trip to Uluru.
On Sunday we decided to sleep in and use the pool again before we headed out to see the Singapore National Museum and meet up with my colleague Pamela. Relaxing next to water is for some reason a great relaxing experience, the best. We left to go to the National Museum at around 14:00, when we got there though there was a long queue to go and see the different exhibits so we decided to leave the place and walk down to the Esplanade to see the Merlion and also get a view of the business district and possibly the Quay. On the way down we passed Fort Canning Park, best known for being the Allied HQ, headed by Lieutenant-General Arthur E. Pecival in that tragic loss to the Japanese in 1942.
We then walked and -did I mentioned it was hot!- saw two very peculiar things. One was the arrest of what seemed to be a migrant worker, we did not know why but it seems a strange experience in a place like Singapore. The other thing we saw and we actually looked on as he went through the routine was a bus driver dusting the outside of his bus. We have never seen something like that but it also goes
to show you how clean the place is. The first time we used the stroller was in Singapore and we walked for many miles in the city and the different parks, the wheels do not even have dust on the them, they look like they have never been used, it is that clean! We moved on and walked around the Esplanade and the
Theaters on the Bay, we saw the Merlion and the CBD. The sun was scorching hot and we were running a little late so
we rushed to the Raffles Hotel where we met with Pam. We took the MRT (their version of the Underground), which again was impeccably clean, how is that possible with the thousands of people that use the thing is beyond me to the Raffles Place, where the three tallest buildings of Singapore are located. We were looking to go to the Singapore River to take a boat ride. It is a touristy thing to do I guess but it also gives you a spectacular view of the city. As he did not have lunch we got hungry early and we headed out of the city towards the East to the East Lagoon Seafood Plaza, chili crab and prawns were in order and they were tasty! I find food in Asia to always taste better than what we have back home and we were not disappointed. We then walked
along the beach looking out towards all the big ships anchored waiting their turn I guess. On Sunday there was also some type of Kite gathering and there were quite a few people flying their kites along the beach as well. Pam took good care of us and we are ever thankful for her hospitality. We will hopefully see each other again soon.
Our last day in Singapore, we had to check out early and our flight was at midnight was spend at the pool in the morning and then at shopping malls where we had japanese lunch, oishi soba noodles and also kept cool for the main part of the day. It is here also that we saw one too many Montblanc and Zara stores. Doesn’t the value of exclusive brands diminish when they have shops every few hundred meters? It is also here that we realized that Singapore has lost most of its past in these malls and high end hotels. We went up to the 34th floor (….or was it 36th, hmmm) of the Mandarin Gallery/Meritus Mandarin Hotel where we had a spectacular view of the city. The only thing that one could see is this mega city very few patches of green and even less of its past, which had been cleared by bulldozers to make way for the neon lights, the malls, the ever lasting hunger of people to spend money buying stuff they do not really need. Little has been left of the old colonial Singapore, there are some patches where one can glimpse the old glory of this trading post or let alone the remnants of the Sumatran Srivijaya empire that was long before any white man set foot here. The apetite for development is insatiable, there are more shopping centers and malls being build not only along Orchard Rd but all around the city and more housing units as the population is projected to grow from 5 million to 6 million within the next 20 years or so. So while we liked many things in Singapore, I loved above all the multicultural aspect and the boring weather reports, there are a few things that are not as exciting as we had maybe hoped for.
So finally after a few days in Singapore we were ready for the flight to Adelaide, the airport -another shopping mall in disguise- is excellent. The flight though was leaving at midnight and the day had been long, as soon the seat belt sign went off, we put Ben in his cot and we all fell asleep…