Singapore          Last Updated: 23-Nov-01 

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We're staying at the Royal Peacock Hotel, a "Boutique" hotel located in the middle of Singapore's Chinatown. The double bed dominates the floorspace, and we have to do a mountain-climbing narrow traverse to get around it. Other than that, and the evil air conditioner, it is actually pretty good. The A/C has a mind of its own, and slowly increments the target temperature, climbing from the low of 16 C to 27 C if we don't thwart its evil intentions. Jet lag (which neither of us really has) is useful to get someone up during the night to run it back down. A business hotel it ain't, but it is comfortable, and the staff are very friendly.

The Royal Peacock Hotel - Front View  The Royal Peacock Hotel - Side View
Room 201 - Foot End  Room 201 - Head End
Bath-Room 201  Bath-Room 201 

One word about the Singapore weather: humidity.

Singapore Art Museum - Found two contemporary South-East Asian artists we liked very much.
Tung Yue Nang's paintings from the two series "One", and "Baba & Noya". Tung is a Singapore resident artist with wonderful sensibility for color and composition while being thoroughly founded in reality.
Ida Bagus Taman's "Confluence" (1992) shows the Balinese interaction with tourism in a sad and funny way. S/he seems to still reside in Ubud, Bali.

TUNG (From a Gallery in Singapore)  TUNG (From a Gallery in Singapore) 

Schaufensterbummeln (window shopping) on Orchard Road, the Bahnhofstrasse/Rodeo Drive of Singapore. We checked the price of flash memory (for the camera) at one of those typical "shopping centers" with the warrens of shops. A 128 Mb Compact Flash card was US$90, compared to US$66 at Costco. The sales guy did point out that his had the blue dot label, whatever that means, and ours did not. He eventually dropped the price to US$65, but not without effort.

Milk Girl's Spicy Hot Blended Ice - Of course Scott had to have one!  Scott Discussing Chilis at the Milk Girl  Verdict: NOT HOT ENOUGH  (What else?) 

Night Safari at the Singapore Zoo - the Zoo opens from 7:30 PM to midnight for a tour of the nocturnal beasts. While some of the animals looked positively audio-animatronic, it was actually an impressive tram tour through many different ecosystems. The number and activity are surprising, but contrived. "If we're lucky, around this bend we will see the rare Asian Rhinoceros, which is threatened because of killing merely to harvest his horn. Ah, yes! There he is now."
There are both the tram tour and numerous walking tours, with opportunities to see a wide range of animals. Some are in open, moated enclosures, while others are only seen through glass in their (camouflaged) fenced enclosures. They have a number of cats, including a fishing cat, a very bored cloud leopard, a pride of lions, tiger, and a stuffed Garfield in the zoo shop.

Flamingos  Lions (long exposure)  Small cat like wild, ferocious CATs 
We walked into an enclosure housing many fruit bats, which are each at least 15" high. They were hanging (literally) around the feeding trays, gorging themselves on papaya. They were inches from us, and we could have touched them if we wanted, although we both probably would have been very surprised. This one was certainly not for the bat-squeamish.
Climbing down a branch  Where is it?  From behind and far away 
The mouse deer were impressive, for their lack of stature, standing no more than 18" high. If you have the chance to go, we highly recommend visiting the night Safari.
Adult Mouse Deer with young eating carrots 

Chinatown underground vegetable, fruit, fish, flower market. Roswitha might have been able to sell the digital camera.

Ginger, Garlic, Lemongrass, Chilis, Tomatoes, etc.  Various Vegetables  (Singapore?) Crabs 
Frogs  Chicken (parts)  FishES 
Tofu  Sunflowers  Orchids, Bamboo, Peanuts, and Chrysantemums 

Singapore Botanical Garden and the National Orchid Garden is in our opinion THE most impressive, expansive, and best kept orchid garden in the world. We have seen quite a few, and seriously doubt that any other place in the world can come even close with regards to climate, size, funding and attitude.

Close-up  Close-up  Close-up 
Close-up  Paths and Tunnels  Close-up 
Paths  Various Types and Colors  Paths 

Note on the camera - it sucks batteries, and we both want to use it.

The flight from Singapore to Penang was uneventful. Changi airport was very quiet - it is clear that the impact on travel is truly global - and for the first time that I recall, there were armed guards in the lounges. We had a great meal (see below), and then hung out at the internet connection where I checked email and Roswitha uploaded web site updates. As the plane approached the airport over the water on the Southeast of the island, we could see the wreckage of a large ship in the water. Transit through the airport and on to the hotel was smooth and easy, except for the taxi driver who seemed to have serious nasal congestion (much like the one who took us to Alkaff Mansion the previous night).

Scott hooked up at e-hub (note Burburry bags in background)  CNN at e-hub  Scott hooked up at e-hub 
Orchids at airport  Approach into Penang 

Singapore - Final Day & Flight home     Go directly to Last Day's Meals

Back to Chinatown and the Royal Peacock. Since we had eaten on the plane from Phuket, we were not hungry. Roswitha went to sleep, and Scott wandered up to Clarke Quay, and listened to a good Blues band at the Voodoo Shack.

On Sunday, after a late start, we took the MRT out to the Jurong Bird Park. Laid out in a rambling, open style, it has quite a range of birds from around the world. We watched a birds of prey show, where Scott got picked to stand there and catch a Hawk on his gloved hand. Of course, he was funnier than the show's announcer. The show had hawks and kites flying right over (and sometimes brushing) the audience's heads. The birds were generally not very cooperative, and periodically ran or flew off, but eventually returned. One highlight of the show (other than Scott) was the demonstration of rubber snake killing by a Secretary bird. We also wandered around within the Asian bird aviary, surprising elegant and colorful fowl at each turn. The hornbills intrigued us - what are those casques for? Scott almost had his fingers taken off by an Ostrich, but they treated Roswitha well. The hummingbird display was a yawn, but the night pavilion was kind of neat. It was also interesting that the meat in lunch's club sandwich was beef, not chicken.

The hawkmaster  Secretary bird 
Flying through hoops  Eat banana, not finger 
Ugly bird  Scarlet Ibis  BIIIIG spider  Bald Eagle 

After we were birded out, we headed back across the country to the art gallery with Tung's work. They had many more pieces, but still nothing with the impact of the series we had seen at the museum. Still, we were able to settle on two small paintings from his Zen series, with pebbles, water, and wrinkled paper/landscape. Come on over and see them.

We had heard about the Imperial Herbal restaurant (in the Metropole Hotel) where a doctor prescribes the meal based on what ails you. It turned out that Sunday is his day off, so we just ordered dinner, guided by Doris, the manager. Still, it was an interesting meal which brought in many of the Chinese-influenced elements of our trip.

Christmas in Singapore 
Flight(s) home

The flight out could be compared to departure from Israel: get up in the middle of the night to drive halfway across the country to get to the airport hours before check-in, and then hang around trying to stay awake until the cattle call. Of course, this one had the added benefit of getting onto a United flight with pregnant armrests. On board, we asked one of the cabin attendants what the bulge was for. She had no clue, and, after asking all the other staff on board, we discovered that no one else did, either. Can we blame this on the elephants?

Singapore Meals:

23 Oct.

24 Oct. 25 Oct. 26 Oct.

18 Nov.

 

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