From the top of Singapore's highest mountain - Mt. Faber - a fleet of cable cars run continuously over the ocean to Sentosa Island. At night they sparkle all over. In fact one of the cabins is jewelled and some are glass-bottomed (for the brave amongst us). Last night I invited Jay and Nira to dinner at The Black Opal restaurant in the Jewel Box on the summit. Adjacent to the restaurant is the cable car terminus so, between the main course and the dessert I took the half hour round trip to Sentosa and back. (I wasn't being ungentlemanly but as Jay and Nira had only recently done the trip they insisted I go).
It's quite marvellous looking down on Keppel Harbour from above, passing over this beautiful cruise ship - the Star Libra I think it was called
... and then to the lights of Sentosa.
The original name of the island was Blakang Mati - it was called that when I first came to Singapore in 1956 and was inhabited by the Gurkha Regiment. Since the Singapore Government renamed it Sentosa (the Malay translation is Peace and Tranquility) they have worked wonders in making it the marvellous resort it is today. One of the recent attractions is the Universal Studios. This in addition to the underwater world, butterfly park, casinos, spas, etc. And from the air, as I saw it on Saturday night, it really does look like a magic kingdom.
Here you can see - somewhat hazily - the lights of the restaurant as I return.
Back down to earth and another day dawns. It's a bit special as I'm going to the races. Siok Sun and K.C. picked me up from the Tanglin Club at noon and drove me to the Singapore Turf Club. Siok Sun wore a 'fascinator' (I learned this name at Henley Regatta a couple of years ago, by the way) it being the Longines Singapore Gold Cup Day and one of the events of the year. Everyone looked very smart. Here's a handsome young couple at the next table to us.
And here am I together with Siok Sun and K.C.
Our view of the racecourse was spectacular.
Every comfort was catered for with soft outsize yellow armchairs to watch the races in splendid comfort, then a magnificent lunch, as many drinks as we could manage, followed by tea and scones with exotic sweetmeats. Soon the President of Longines arrived and made a short speech. Then, with a suitable fanfare and a hustle of photographers, the main guest of honour made his way towards us. His name? S.R.Nathan, the President of Singapore. I managed to take this close up portrait of him.
And to give one of my loyal followers - RG9 from Henley - a taste of the glamour present, here are a couple of random shots I took during the afternoon.
Now the big question is, how much did I win? I'm the sort of person who never backs favourites - if I'm going to win I want to win big. So I go by names, usually names, however loosely, associated with people I know. (For example - magic man, artist from oz, rowing lad, or tootle-poot). In this way I invariably lose. But today, not only did I lose on EVERY race up to race seven (when we left), I even lost when I backed 5 horses in a 7 horse race! But it was a lovely and even glamorous day out - although the rain pelted down most of the afternoon and lightning streaked the sky. I couldn't resist one last little $20 bet as we walked past the betting counter however, and gave my ticket to a friend to check and then tear up after the race (which happened to be the Longines Gold Cup).
Soon after I arrived back at the Club I received a text from Siok Sun - I'd won $158 on race eight - so there is a God after all!
It's always such a pleasure to meet old friends - especially those you haven't seen for many years. Singapore being a relatively small place means that the jungle drums, so to speak, soon broadcasts your presence! So when I received a message yesterday from Pierre and Sandra Moccand suggesting we meet up for lunch today I jumped at the chance. I've known Pierre since 1960 when we were both young men roaring around the roads of Singapore in our sports cars, or racing in the various motor-sport events of the time. Pierre went on to marry Sandra and they now divide their time between Singapore and Australia. I took this photograph just an hour ago overlooking the pool at the Tanglin Club.
We had a lovely lunch and reminisced a lot. Sandy was entranced by my iPad and some of the many apps I've installed on it so I think I know what she'll be getting for Christmas.
So, very reluctantly I'll start packing in a few minutes time in readiness for a very early start tomorrow and the long journey home.