Thursday, 11 November 2010

City of Contrasts

I've certainly had a varied day today. Against all the gloomy weather forecasts the sun shone brightly this morning so I grabbed a couple of hours by the pool before going to the Raffles Hotel for lunch with Tan Siok Sun in the Bar and Billiards Room. Siok Sun is a friend from many years ago. We were joined later by Patrick Tan - the Director of Shops for the Raffles. We discussed my painting and he promised to display it prominently in the hotel with a view to it's eventual sale. (I also bought another umbrella!)
As the Gala performance of 'Raffles - the Musical' will be held next Sunday at the Kenton Theatre in Henley I was asked to pose in front of the statue of Sir Stamford in Victoria Place while I am here so the photograph can be used during the event. (Don't ask how).



Siok Sun took the picture before dropping me off at this spectacular 60 storey building. Only completed a few months ago ( and opened at the most auspicious time of 3.18 pm - eight sounds like the word for prosperity in Chinese) it's called Marina Bay Sands and is in fact the second most expensive casino in the world. It cost $5.5 billion US dollars to build and is easily the most amazing building I've ever been into. It also houses hotels, restaurants etc. etc. Here's the view as we got near to the three structures.



Once inside I looked up



And along the vast entrance way






Then up to the top. Whisked up to the 59th floor soon after the door opened there I saw a most beautiful curved infinity swimming pool and a series of tranquil gardens. Here's a couple of views from the summit. Everywhere you go hundreds of smiling uniformed people are there to help you and answer any questions you may have. And they are all really genuine and so helpful.






This building is, I am told, the new theatre.



But because everything is on such a large scale, only these pictures (I cribbed from a couple of postcards) can truly give you an idea of the real beauty of this enterprise.






And now, as they say, for something completely different! Later in the evening I ventured into 'Little India' located along the Serangoon Road. Deepavali,(or as some people call it - Divali) is being celebrated right now, and this is its highly colourful centre in Singapore.






4 or 5 lanes of traffic came zooming down the road at breakneck speed in the darkness and you need your wits about you to avoid getting run over. From across the road this Hindu temple is thronged with happy people.



And here is one of the hundreds of colourful stalls that vie with each other cheek by jowl all along the walkways. Pity I can't reproduce the many and varied perfumed and exotic aromas that wafted my way as I made my way along the covered 'five foot way'.



Now this laughing gilded and glittering chap stood out from everything else that was decidedly Indian. (He reminded me to cut down on some of the more exciting and calorie loaded sweetmeats forced on me by my many lovely friends here. (Should I really have had that extra creme brulee and banana fritter today at the Tanglin Club's Tavern?)



On that salutary thought I'll go to bed with a glass of water. I love this city.

2 comments:

RG9 said...

It's quite cold, VERY wet and extremely windy back here in Henley, Bill.

No one's built a 60 storey casino in your absence tho' the lap dancing club has been in the news again for all the wrong reasons.

The Old Bell will shortly be celebrating its 250th year as a pub, a mere third of its seven plus centuries existence as a building which itself is but a dot compared to some of the Oriental dynasties.

The cultural delights of Henley await you upon your return, but I doubt that a trip to The Spice Merchant beside The Thames will quite compare!

Bluebells in the spring said...

Isn't the Marina Bay Hotel simply quite amazing?

Can't wait to see it for myself - it was still under construction when I saw it in Jan. The Inter-Pacific Bar Association members expresed concern whether it would be completed in time for their May 2-5 meeting and conference at the Hotel. And it did!

Nice pic of you in front of Sir Stamford Raffles - wonder if he ever feels tired and wish he could just step down for a moment and sit by the fountain!

Lovely pics of the Deepavali celebrations at Serangoon Road!

Thanks for the lovely update of the goings on in Singapore - have 2.5 months to go before I am get to see it again!