Singapore

Written by on April 28, 2013 in Asia, General with 1 Comment

After a crazy/fun/sketchy take-off from Tioman, we arrived in Singapore and headed to Natalya’s apartment.  She had to run off to class, so I took the day to relax and catch up on emails/blogging and took advantage of her super-fast wifi to download a bunch of tv shows for future viewing.

The next morning I met up with Robert, an old colleague from my ING days in Amsterdam for lunch in the financial district downtown, and then walked around Chinatown picking up last minute souvenirs since I was going home soon.  So colorful, especially the Sri Mariamman Hindu temple at the end of Temple street.

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As I turned down the street, I came across the typical Chinatown souvenirs shops on the lower floor of a street full of cute and colorful three story shophouses.

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Quite different than the very upscale and glamourous Orchard Road, which had every high-end name brand you can imagine, all housed within buildings with quite cool designs, like the Ion Center below.

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I had been advised to visit the Gardens by the Bay, which was opened to the public in 2011 after an international competition on the design and master plan for what the Singaporean government wanted to become a premier outdoor recreational space and a national icon.  I had asked Natalya what it was when we passed it driving in from the airport, and had to go check it out, if only to take some photos.  The “super trees” were very cool, and felt like something out of a movie.

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It also had 2 indoor areas that were covered by massive glass domes and sort of reminded me of that terrible movie Biodome with Pauly Shore!  It was a nice place to cool off from the relentless heat and humidity, but definitely NOT worth the $30 admission.  Oh well…everything in Singapore is expensive.

Since I was in the vicinity, I had to stop by Kudeta, a cocktail lounge at the top of the Marina Bay Sands Hotel for sunset. I ordered an $18 beer and took a few Singapore panorama shots, including the aerial shot down towards the Gardens I’d just come from.

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I stuck around long enough to check out the view towards downtown by night, which wasn’t too shabby, and then met Natalya for dinner in Holland Village at a nice Japanese place.  I really miss sushi!!

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I took it easy the next day. Everyone told me that the Singapore Zoo was a “must-see”, but I just couldn’t get myself to spend the money to trek out to go to a zoo to see animals that I’ve been seeing in the wild throughout my trip.  Maybe some other time.  Instead I opted to enjoy Natalya’s beautiful pool.

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That night, I met up with my friend and ex-RBS colleague Puja at a new Japanese place called Kinki’s, which was gorgeous and delicious.  We then proceeded to rooftop bar-hop around the bay before heading to Clarke Quay.

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I think we finally called it a night around 2a, and I made sure to set several alarms as my taxi was coming in a few hours to take me to the airport for my flight home.  We had such a fun night, but I definitely paid for it on my marathon travel day to San Francisco for an interview I had to attend.

With some creative planning, I managed to talk the folks at United’s Mileage plus desk into letting me fly from Singapore to San Francisco (1 night stopover) to Phoenix (3 day stopover) to Newport Beach (1 day stopover), back to Singapore (2 day stopover) to Manila for only 65,000 frequent flyer miles. Aside from using miles for my round the world ticket, I feel like this was my biggest frequent flyer coup ever!  I was able to race around and see family and a few friends on a whirlwind week, and get another couple days in Singapore as I wasn’t quite finished with it yet.  It was awesome to be home and see the few of you I managed to squeeze in between interviews, doc appointments, etc. although sorry I didn’t have time to see more of you.  I will be home in September, though, so we’ll definitely have to catch up then!

On my return trip to Singapore, my friend Puja and her family played host at her wonderful penthouse for the next couple days. I met and got to hang out with her beautiful daughters by day, and when they went to sleep, we went out!

The first night I was battling jet lag, but a little red bull helped me stay awake for a fun night with a few of her friends on Club Street.  The day after I slept in and in the afternoon, Puja took me to see Little India and Arab Street, 2 areas of town that are supposed tourist attractions. I guess I’m getting very jaded as although realizing that these areas provide insight into the people that live in Singapore, a little street doesn’t mean much when you’ve already been and explored that country. That said, it was cool to stop and check out the colorful Peranakan houses that lined the streets near the girls school.

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That night the girls had badminton practice, so we went to the club to share a bottle of wine by the pool while waiting for them to finish. What a beautiful club!! Omg-if I lived in Singapore I would be here every night and would definitely get back into swimming.

Anyway, I came back to Singapore specifically to check out the “nightlife”, as I’d been hearing about the famous club Zouk for years and after the Future Music Festival, was ready for a big night out. Unfortunately, the DJ calendar didn’t cooperate, so instead Puja took me to a club called Pangea in the Marina Bay Sands.

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Definitely more on the swanky side, we drank $35 glasses of champagne and danced til 3a, which was as late as I could keep my eyes (or wallet!) open. Puja was such an amazing hostess-thanks again for everything!  Sayonara Singapore.  Bring on the Philippines!

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  1. Herb Glatter says:

    You know how to live!

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