It’s Friday, 2 March as I write this and we arrived in Singapore as the sun started to come up. Singapore is quite close to the Equator so it was automatically both hot and humid; even at sunrise. While I was out the temperature hovered around 90F and the humidity matched it at around 90%. When I first took the camera from the stateroom to the outside to get a sunrise photo it immediately fogged up as the water in the air condensed on the cooler lens filter surface. Very happy I thought to take lens cleaning solution and lint-free pads to use to clean the lens and other sensitive surfaces.
Fortunately, the sun stayed behind clouds. That, and an air conditioned bus, helped me survive. I’m not built for heat and humidity. Never liked that combination; never will I think.
The excursion I picked for Singapore was a river ride and then various sights in Chinatown. We docked at the new passenger terminal at the Marina (a much larger ship came in later and dwarfed our little Pacific Princess 🙂 ). The first thing you see when you leave the Marina is the Marina Sands Hotel (see photo). This is a fairly new hotel built by the same folks who built the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. The hotel is built as three pylons with a boat-shaped top piece. Since Singapore is largely built on land-fill the hotel was built with many jacks that can be individually adjusted to account for any shifting of the individual hotel sections and keep the water in the pool on top level.
We were then taken to a dock on the river to board a bumboat. These are craft that used to be used to move cargo up and down the river and were human powered. Now they are electric and are used to take tourists on a half-hour river trip through the city. They still call the waterway a river but these days it could be more described as a lake as they have put a dam at the ocean end of the river and it is now used to store fresh water for the city. I’ve included a photo of me sitting in the back of the boat as we leave the dock. Our guide today can consider himself privileged as he is the first person other than me to take a photo with my camera! 🙂
We got to see much of the city center and major sights from the bumboat. I’ve included two pictures I really liked. The first is the Mirlion that is a symbol for the city-state of Singapore. A Mirlion is a beast that’s half fish and half lion. The second is a bronze showing how children used to use the river. The figures from left to right show one child stripping off clothes and the others are progressively jumping into the river for some swimming fun with one child needing a bit of encouragement. 🙂
We stopped at the Chinese Heritage Center where various displays show how maybe 80 people lived in one building in the “old” days. You’ll have to come to the UVTO presentation to see these photos but I kid you not, one of the rooms was labeled “Kitchen and Outhouse” and that single room was used for those two purposes at the same time.
Next came the Thian Hock Keng Temple. It was hard getting photos of the main building there but as I collect dragons I had to photograph the one included here. Photography inside the main portion of the temple was forbidden (but do manage to come to the Photo Club presentation for August 🙂 ).
Next came the Sri Mariamman Hindu temple one of the oldest and most popular in Singapore. I have a number of photos there as the various statues and images were simply spectacular. Two photos representing this temple are included below. Enjoy the shots of the roof of the temple and Sri-aravan. It’s amazing how clean and clear the colors are. They are maintained by frequent washing of the statues and, in fact, the water used to wash them is fed down to a drain that presents itself in the temple courtyard. People will come up and put some on themselves or even drink it thinking it holy as it touched the various images.
We had some free time for shopping in Chinatown. I had no need for that so I just walked a bit and went back to the bus to wait for the ride back to the ship. Like I said, I’m not good with the combination of both heat and humidity.
I did not get a magnet here; I did not have Singapore dollars and the smaller shops don’t take credit cards. So, I’ll make one from, probably, the Mirlion image. All I have to do is print it at business card size and then use one of the stick-on magnets I already have. I like getting originals but making one is not cheating when the need arises.
We are now on our way to India with four sea days ahead until we arrive in Cochin where I and 65 other people get off the ship for a three day excursion to Agra for the Taj Mahal with a return to the ship in Mumbai. It’s likely the next entry won’t be until after that excursion.