Sunday, November 17, 2013

Singapore - Riverwalk

I slept well last night . 15th floor of Miramar Hotel.  Beautiful view of the River.  IMG 4270
I didn't know it was Sunday or I would have found a way to get to church.  We're hours ahead and crossed the International Time Line.  I'm confused by this even after my time in Saipan.  I missed Gilbert, my cockapoo, on awakening. He's usually a licking alarm clock. I slept in till 8 pm.
After yesterdays 15 hours on plane I wanted to walk so asked if I could walk to the harbour. At the front desk they said I could.  It was a very lovely walk full of colours and sounds. Not too busy given the day and early time.  Still lots of other tourists and many breakfasting at the endless cafe's.
Now I'm having Kampung Nasi Lemak.  A friend who had been a chef and television star in Singapore told me about the $2Nasi Lemak. It's egg on rice and a variety of spices and tasty sauces. Mine actually came with that and a quarter chicken and some dried fish.  Quite the taste experience. I found it in Chinatown.  He told me it was the thing everyone here had for breakfast when they could, a kind of steak and eggs for the locals.
Mandarin is the most spoken language followed by English. There's a bout 5 million people in this extremely prosperous city with one of the world's greatest and busiest ports. I love Vancouver and San Francisco port, Athens,  London, for sure, especially Hong Kong and now Singapore. It's a sailor's delight of a harbour.  Sir Raffles came here at the beginning of the 18th century when there was just a fishing village. Today's modern trading city is a culmination of his dream and vision.
Its so humid here. My shirt was wet before a half hour or hour of strolling was up.  The river walk is glorious with so many cafe's.  Reminded me of a dense and endless San Antonnio. I love the river walk there. You immediately appreciate how proximity to the water is refreshing and calming.  Riverboats churn up and down the river.  It's all mostly for tourists today but obviously once was the principal highway for people, farms and businesses along the river.  One statue I liked was of a boy and a dog but another was of children jumping in the river to swim.
Every nationality is here. Lots of Chinese.  Gajin I am, I can't really separate out the Asians though the taller are more northern Chinese and Korean.  There's such a variety of fascial types.  The clothing is all western with the occasional person in a very colourful ornate Malay print.  I almost bought an umbrella with the distinctive pattern similar to the one the Singapore Airline stewardesses wore.  East Indians are present as are white, though very few Africans.  I feel that sense of being a minority, as a tall white person, though when I look around for my tribe I spot us there and there.
The architecture here is magnificent too.  It's so modern. There's some evidence of old and the British colony began in 18th century though westerners came here as early as the 15 and 16 th century.  I looked for a guide book but didn't find one. Maybe this afternoon when I'm planning on walking among the shopping area tourists like.  I had only hoped to walk to the harbour and saw so much more.
Christmas was a theme to the corporate sales teams with all the marketing focussed on the non Christian aspects of Christmas. Ironically, Herod  would feel more at home in the Christmas of the day than Jesus born in poverty preaching a different kingdom.  Nietze argued for a Master Race, much like the Communist ideology, rather than the 'slave' saints of Christ.  Why ever would a king was the feet of his servants?  Not something Mao Ze Dung would do or Marx or Lenin. The power of Communist China is present here for it's trade and ethnic origins.  But like Hong Kong the Singapore people don't seem to be enamoured with the ideology of 'worker's paradise' when it's been long apparent that the greatest corruption of the world has been in the warrior leaders who dress in grey uniforms but maintain mistresses and dachas out away from the eyes of the community.  Secrecy is the greatest sin that money can buy.  But I enjoyed a statue to the Communist leader Deng who was known for his pragmatism and said, it doesn't matter if it's a black cat or a yellow cat, what matters is that it catches mice. Now that's the Chinese that I know.  Amazingly competent people.
The Sands Hotel Sky Park was a thing of beauty and wonder in itself. I like high points like the Toronto rotating restaurant my aunt used to take us too.  I was feeling so much in the jungle of high rise buildings, the feeling one gets in New York and Chicago, till I wondered if I might get up high to find out where I was and get a real view of the harbour. I'd loved that about the Acropolis in Athens.  That view has been there forever but the view  from the Sands Sky Park is truly modern.  The harbour and city are so sprawling one doesn't really get a sense of them until one gets up high.  It was on the mountain top that I took the little tram chair to in Hong Kong that I got a true appreciation of the amazing harbour there.  The same was true here seeing the river entrance from the harbour and all the big ships at anchor outside this.  Made me want to come in my sailboat.
The sky park looks like a big cruise ship parked atop three towers of the great luxury Sands Hotel.
The River Walks winds its way from the interior beyond where I started at Havelock Road to Marina Bay where there's a great Chinese Fountain looking across at the Sands Hotel Skypark.
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