An Acquired Taste

We visited Chinatown yesterday. It's the Year of the Dragon in the Chinese calendar so most of the decorations are still up. On our travels we came across a stall selling durians. It's a tropical fruit you either love or hate - I hate it!

At the entrance to Chinatown straddled across the main road is a large dragon.

Everywhere you go you are met by a plethora of red . Quite a spectacle at times.

But right in the middle of Chinatown is the Sri Mariamman Temple. Dedicated to the Goddess Mariamman - who's known for curing serious illnesses - it is the oldest and most important Hindu Shrine in Singapore.

Earlier in the day we'd spent some time in the Botanic Gardens - Singapore's oldest national park. Set up in1859 it is known worldwide as a living museum of tropical plants. I especially like the National Orchid Garden situated within the main garden. It contains over 1,000 species of orchid. This one is Singapore's National Flower. It's called Vanda Miss Joaquim after Miss Agnes Joaquim in her garden in 1893.

Here are a few other pictures I took as we wandered around the garden in the bright sunshine.

Mozart is even represented here with a bronze sculpture of Mozart playing a tune to his lady love.

On Thursday evening we decided to have dinner in the clouds. (well, at least on Singapore's highest 'mountain' - Mt. Faber). At the summit are a pair of restaurants called 'The Jewel Box'. We chose 'Sapphire' the outside one. It is situated right next to the cable car terminus so after dinner we took a round trip ride high over Singapore to the island of Sentosa and back. From our car we had a spectacular view which, if I hadn't been shaking in fear,

would have produced a steadier photograph! (Only kidding - we weren't frightened at all). On the return journey the attendant suggested we alight at the Harbour Front stop as it would have been difficult to get a taxi home from the Jewel Box. We followed her advice. Big mistake - for when we reached the taxi rank, after a very long walk, it took a one hour wait in a very long queue before we got a cab.

This is a statue of Sir Stamford Raffles - the founder of modern Singapore. It stands on a site next to the river where he landed in 1819. After a nice laze in the glorious sunshine by the pool at the Tanglin Club in the morning and another delicious satay. Mango and Gula Melaka ( which my young friend thinks looks like frogspawn) lunch, we visited Raffles as the first stop on our way to a river trip. The weather clouded over a bit, which was perfect for us. Here are a few photos I took from the boat.

And a long distance view of the Marina Sands Resort from Singapore river.

When we alighted we decided to go all the way to the top. We had hoped to wander amongst the gardens and palm trees but sadly we were only allowed access to one end of the building. In the photo above we were at the very pinnacle on the left. And here's a couple of views from the top.

And looking down on the Arts and Science Museum we visited on Thursday morning.

During the past few days we've met many of my old friends. Last night Eileen Bygrave picked us up and took us to her home where we had a lovely dinner. Her daughter Sue Lin and son-in-law David were there too. Yesterday we spent time at the Singapore National Museum and then walked to Raffles Hotel (after a 30 minute detour when I led us in completely opposite direction!) At the Raffles shop we met a couple of English tourists who were in the act of buying one of my 'Raffles Remembered' posters. When I offered to sign it they bought another for their daughter. We then wandered up to the Raffles Museum where, thankfully, the original painting is well displayed behind a gold-tasselled rope, Yesterday lunchtime old friends Jayanti and Nira took us out to a rustic barn-type restaurant - good food and nice to catch up with good friends I've known for over 50 years. With all the walking I've done over the past few days I need a rest!! But we are having a great time.