Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Singapore--Day 32

Since I couldn t go back to the Night Safari tonight, I decided to spend the day touring around Singapore and then ending up on Sentosa Island, which is this manmade beach island just off of the shores of Singapore, which you are able to get to via cable car.

This morning I spent first walking through Singapore s Chinatown, taking in a few shops here and there and stopping off at a really fantastic Hindu temple on my way walking around. Afterwards I walked over to the central business district of Singapore where there are lots of really huge skyscrapers all along the Singapore river. I decided to get some lunch and stopped at one of the many seafood restaurants along the Quay (which is pronounced  key btw). I ordered crab meat and broccoli, which sounded just wonderful but then when I got my food, it turned out to be more like lumpy broccoli and this sort of horrible looking white goo all over them. Hmm. Not too appetizing, but I ate a good portion of it anyways since I was really hungry, hoping that I wouldn t be seeing this later on in the day! J

After lunch I hopped on a boat cruise which takes you around the downtown area on an old junk boat (that s what they are called). Along with a family of three (the parents and a very cute little girl) we were off on our cruise. Starting along I sat on one side and the family sat on the other. We exchanged hellos and they were really interested in my camera. So I showed it to them while the tour was getting started (more like an automated tour, not a live guided tour) and then sat back to listen to the recorded commentary. The little girl on the boat kept looking at me and so I would smile, then she would smile back and then her mother told me (they were German) that she (the little girl) wanted to sit next to me, and was that alright?

I smiled and the little girl came and sat right next to me and showed me her drawing that she had made during her lunch and so I took a photo of it with my camera and then showed it to her on the screen. Her eyes widened and she smiled at me with absolute delight. I then took a picture of her and then showed her on the screen and she was thrilled. She kept pressing the little viewing button (where you can see the last picture taken) and it was so cute.

The boat cruise lasted about 45 minutes and was actually really interesting because it was obviously a lot easier to sit back and take in the sights then to walk through to them all in the muggy heat. After the tour (and saying goodbye to my new friend) I headed to the Asian Civilizations Museum which was extremely interesting. They have numerous displays of practically everything related to all of Asia.

One funny thing about it was that it had these automated guides. You would walk into a room and there would be a TV screen with a person s face on it (a real person) and if you pressed the screen or even came near it (they were motion sensors) the person would start talking to you. This at first totally caught me off guard when all of a sudden something started talking. The funny thing was that when the  guides were not in use, instead of sitting there as a still picture, they would sit there and sing, or hum, or pray, or do whatever (one woman was looking around in all sorts of directions, another was rubbing a piece of material against her face) and so you would also walk into a room and hear some humming and wonder where on earth it was coming from? Oh, the automated guide, of course!

I spent a good deal of the rest of the afternoon at the museum then hopped on the MRT (subway) stopping first at a shopping mall place to transfer over to Sentosa Island. After a bit of confusion I figured out where the cable cars were to get onto the island and I boarded a  glass bottomed car on my way over to the Island, getting some nice views of Singapore on my way over.

The island was interesting, but very, very touristy. On the island there are several things to do, including a butterfly sanctuary, beaches, and even a golf course. I opted to go to the aquarium as I had heard the night before at the Zoo that it was supposed to be spectacular. Well, spectacular is not the words that I will use to describe it, but it did turn out to be interesting. The best (and really only) part about it was that you could stand on this moving walkway and then the fish and sharks were swimming right over you, so you were in this glass tunnel. It was surprisingly interesting, especially when the HUGE sting rays passed overhead, as I have never really seen the bottom of a sting ray. I was impressed, but not by how much it cost me to get in!

After the aquarium I headed onto the Monorail system and took sort of a mini tour of the island on the Monorail, which was interesting but I sort of had that I m-at-Disneyland feeling and it took quite a while to get back to where I wanted to go, which was the musical fountain (again feeling like Disney). Each night they have a water and musical performance so I sat down and waited for it to begin, along with a bazillion other people just like me.

The show was impressive and even included parts where huge fireballs were shot up into the air, actually quite close to the audience and to the plants nearby. The  high point of the show was when the Merlion statue (a cross between the mermaid and the lion- Singapore s sort of mascot) lit up its huge green eyes and so there was all sorts of lights and water spraying everywhere and music blaring. It was neat for all that it was worth and after the show I eventually wound back up at the cable car station to hop back onto my car over to Singapore.

(c) 2004 Sarah Galbraith. All Rights Reserved.