Now where were we? Oh yes, we’d had a short break back at the hotel and dropped off a couple of small bags of shopping. Ready to go again?
But look at the rain! Somehow, whilst we were in the shopping centre, the heavens opened and there was a downpour. Oh well, we can grab a couple of umbrellas from the concierge. Can’t let a drop of rain spoil our plans!
Let’s turn left out of the hotel and walk towards the Singapore Flyer. That’s the equivalent of the London Eye, but as one of our guides told us with a grin, “ten metres higher”. It’s more or less stopped raining now, so we’re ok. The view of the Marina Bay Sands from here is super. Perhaps we’ll go over there and take a closer look later?
Oooops! Did you feel that spot of rain on your head? A few more spots and then a huge crack of thunder. I wonder what riding that wheel is like in a thunderstorm?!
Sadly, we’re not going to find out, because it’s closed “due to bad weather”. Oh, shame! Sorry about that.
What to do now? Shall we walk over the Helix Bridge?
But oh my, those clouds are pretty overwhelming. The tops of the skyscrapers are in the mist and we’re going to get drenched if we carry on, in spite of those umbrellas. Let’s stop a while under the road bridge and take in the view for a while.
It’s pretty good from here – if only there were a couple of seats, we’d happily sit and gaze for an hour!
There’s the low, white Fullerton Hotel and behind it, the serried ranks of the financial district’s skyscrapers. The little white Merlion fountain can be seen in front of the hotel. To think, that’s Beach Road, once the seafront of this amazing city. All the land where we are standing, and quite a bit beyond is reclaimed and has been added during the last thirty years or so. Incredible.
I think the rain’s eased off, so let’s venture a little further. At least the top of the Sands hotel is out of the cloud and the Lotus blossom shape of the Arts and Science Museum is looking good.
Hang on – let’s take a picture of our hotel, the square box there behind the yellow seating area of the stadium. My goodness, I hadn’t realised there was a full sized football pitch out there in the harbour!
Ha – thanks for pointing out that girl’s shoes! Whilst she takes a picture of her boyfriend, I’m a bit more interested in trying to see if it’s Ernie from Sesame Street?
The Museum is a stunning shape, isn’t it? there’s a Titanic exhibition on right now – not exactly something we’re eager to see. How about you?
Anyway, let’s go inside the Marina Bay centre and see what’s what. This rain isn’t so comfortable and makes looking around rather difficult. We’ll step inside the doors and take a look around.
First sight – a skating rink! Well, of course – what else would you expect when coming indoors from 32C? They’re preparing the ice right now and a man is driving a small machine around it, so no skaters at the moment.
Oh my goodness – look to the right and see those three floors of shops! How many shops can Singapore support?! Well, rather a lot it seems. People are wandering about here, in and out of Hermes, Louis Vuitton and suchlike. Not quite our style I’m afraid, but we’ll wait and watch a few people for a while, perhaps?
Before going further, we’ll tap into what one of my friends at home calls “the bottomless pit”. Sadly, that’s not 100% accurate but for now, let’s see if we can get some bun money* from it. Getting cash here is easy as putting a card in a machine at home. ATMs are all over the place and accept our cards readily.
(*reference to Paddington Bear!)
Whilst my hero deals with the machine, I gaze over to the area outside, where they’re filming a couple of local TV stars. I’m afraid I don’t recognise either of them but judging from the level of interest around me, I guess that other people know them well.
Oh, look, there’s another branch of British India, recommended to me by our neighbour Sue on the ship. What a beautiful screen there is in front of the shop – what a wealth of patterns in that wood! It reminds me that in our hotel, there are lovely bamboo screens, woven in a variety of patterns too. I must take my camera into breakfast and take some photographs of them.
From here, we’ll follow the signs to the hotel – turn left and go down a few escalators. I wonder how many of those there are in this city? Hundreds, for sure…and I wonder how easy it is for someone to use a wheelchair to get around? I’m not seeing obvious signs to lifts/elevators.
Stepping inside the hotel lobby, we both have the same reaction. This is not so much a lobby as an extension to the shopping mall! So many people, so noisy and full of comings and goings. I think I prefer the cool, calm of the Mandarin, personally – and this hotel is equally expensive, we’re told.
Now, we want to go and take a look at the Skypark and have been told we’ll need tickets. Hmm. What do you reckon? This is really one huge theme park and we’re not sure whether we want to play along. Shall we spend $40 (about £20) to go to the top and share the experience with crowds of people? It might rain. We might not see anything in the clouds. What do you reckon?
Of course! You’re right – we should go for it. Hit that button for the 57th floor, will you please?
Oooh – you were right! Not many people up here and quite a comfortable walkway too. Not only that, but hang on a minute,
Look at the view!
All that reclamation of land continues and there’s still more development. I’ve no idea what those glass domes will be, nor what’s taking shape over there with those metal pillars, but all of those ships in the harbour and the planes taking off from Changi airport just to the left leave us breathless.
How are your knees? It’s surprisingly comfortable out here, isn’t it? No shakes or wobbles and a perfectly firm base on which to walk.
Look – down there’s the Singapore Flyer! Hmmm…I think they did us a favour by closing early, didn’t they? Can you see the golf course on the other side of the river? The blocks of flats stretching out as far as the eye can see, because all these millions of people have to live somewhere too.
Oh look, there’s the stadium again, with our little cube of an hotel behind it. There’s the more rectangular block next door, in the gardens – the Ritz Carlton, where I think our friends Mary and Ellis are going to stay when they return from Angkor Wat. And once again, see all those apartment blocks, way into the distance.
I think about my friend Maggie, who grew up here, as I look over the older part of the city and wonder if she’d recognise it at all? The little old buildings at the Boat Quay look dwarfed by all those modern buildings, don’t they?
Now we can see what pays for all of this. The SkyPark stretches out towards the docks and the vast quantities of containers, hidden from normal view by the modern city. The other source of some of this cash is laid out on sunloungers by the rooftop pool, where we can’t go because we’re not resident in the hotel, sorry. The mostly Chinese gamblers are taking an afternoon nap, dipping into the warm water in the infinity pool here at 57 stories high. Shall we leave them in peace and wish them luck?
I’m hungry anyway. Whilst we were down in the shopping centre, my hero spotted a familiar name above one of the restaurants – Mozza. Mario Batali’s pizza is one of our all time favourites and I’ll bet you’d enjoy it too! Come on – I know we’re in Singapore and ought to eat local, but hey, I’m not altogether sure that being in this environment even counts as “local” anyway! That seat by the window is free and we could people watch as we enjoy an Aperol Spritz, too.
Our window seat is directly opposite the theatre box office and we’re squinting to see what’s showing. A Queen tribute concert, A Chorus Line and Wicked. Never seen that – have you? I understand it’s pretty good.
I wonder what time it’s showing?
What time is it now? 6.30pm.
I wonder if there are tickets? Shall I go and see?
Two tickets in the Grand Circle please (sorry, we’ll have to smuggle you in!) Better be quick eating that pizza, whilst we try and remember the name of the hit song from the show…
Would you have imagined that this vast lobby was hiding behind that modest entrance off the mall? No, neither would I. The theatre is as spectacular as the rest of this complex, don’t you think? Large, open spaces with cool marble and mirrored walls.
From upstairs, there’s a great vantage point where we can enjoy gazing over the hundreds of youngsters arriving for the show. It’s a rather younger crowd than we’d see at a London theatre, for sure.
The show is tremendous don’t you think? All the more so for being something which we hadn’t even though of doing until an hour ago. Sorry we can’t share it with everyone else but they can catch a glimpse here. The mainly Australian cast are fantastic, especially the two young women playing the leads who had fabulous voices, and the whole experience quite magical. We can hardly believe what we’ve just seen and heard.
At 10:30, stepping out into the warm, tropical night, here are more surprises. Look at the Museum wall! The projected image is part of the Singapore ilight Festival.
Walking back along the helix bridge, we’re quiet. There’s really not a lot to say.
Is that you humming “Defying Gravity”?
What a wonderful day..night…experience!
How incredibly lucky we are, aren’t we?