Singapore, Day 1

Southeast Asia had been at the top of my list for years, but I wanted to time our trip so we could take off in November (after monsoon season in a number of SE Asian countries) and, at last, we were able to do this at the end of 2013.  Unfortunately, I’m posting four months after our trip but, while I may be fuzzy on some of the details, I hope you’ll still enjoy my posts and accompanying photos.

I think I only realized the day we were flying out that, though we were departing from NYC on a Friday, we wouldn’t actually be arriving in Singapore until Sunday, because of the time difference.  Doh!  I scrambled to cancel our hotel reservation for Saturday and we boarded our red-eye flight for Singapore.  Once our flight landed. we managed to take the MRT to our hotel.  Our room wasn’t yet ready when we arrived, so we took the opportunity to go to a hawker center in the neighborhood and eat tasty prata and dum biryani.  Our room was ready by the time we made it back so we took the opportunity to freshen up and then headed back out to the Singapore Art Museum for their Singapore Biennale exhibition.  The museum was surprisingly empty, considering the biennale had only started a few weeks prior, a welcome contrast to the Whitney’s Biennale in NYC.

Singapore Art Museum biennial 1

The highlight, though, was definitely this installation–one of the best video installations we’ve seen (if it was in NYC, there would probably be a long wait to get in).  I believe I had aspirations to go to the Singapore Botanic Gardens but, wading through the heat and humidity of Singapore and groggy from our red-eye flight, I realized this was probably a bit overambitious.  Instead, we grabbed lunch at a restaurant inside one of the many malls lining Orchard Road.

Nasi lemak (one of several I would eat during the course of the trip)

Nasi lemak (one of several I would eat during the course of the trip)

We then walked up to Emerald Hill to check out some of the distinctive houses in the area.  I think at this point we decided to return to the hotel to take a much needed nap.

We had dinner plans in Chinatown so we took the opportunity to check out Singapore’s oldest Hindu temple.

Sri Mariamman Temple

Sri Mariamman Temple

And to check out a little bit of Singapore’s Chinatown.

I think this photo was taken in Chinatown anyway

I believe this photo was taken in Chinatown anyway

We had plans to meet up with friends of one of Adam’s friends for dinner and they ordered a few recommended dishes for us to share.  It was interesting to hear about life in Singapore, including the hefty cost associated with owning a car ($60,000-$70,000 for a certificate required just to own a car that was only good for ten years) and mandatory military service.  At one point, they talked about how dangerous Kuala Lumpur was, which made me nervous about our planned brief stopover in K.L.

Our new acquaintances were kind enough to offer to drop us off in Marina Bay, where I hoped to catch the Gardens by the Bay light show.  We ended up catching a fountain and hologram show close to where they dropped us off.  We then stopped by The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands, which was dizzingly vertiginous.  We tried following signs to Gardens by the Bay and ended up on the rooftop of the mall, which featured impressive views of Marina Bay Sands Hotel.

Marina Bay Sands Hotel 1

Marina Bay Sands Hotel 2

Unfortunately, there didn’t appear to be any access to the Gardens by the Bay from the mall so we left the mall and walked around in search of my desired destination. We passed by the uniquely designed ArtScience Museum.

ArtScience Museum 1

I was super tired and wasn’t wearing the best footwear for walking around and, by the time we reached this bridge, I was ready to give up.

bridge

We headed back to a hotel near the mall and, much to the relief of my feet, took a taxi back to our hotel.

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