It's so nice staying at the Tanglin Club where most people know my name - almost like coming home. I made a bit of an error when I booked our stay at the club however. Knowing that we would land in England on the 20th I just assumed we'd be leaving the day before, so only booked until the 19th. But in fact we are scheduled to fly out early on the 20th morning. And as the club only has 18 rooms, and needs to be booked many months in advance, there is no way we can stay here on the 19th. Luckily my very good friend Eileen Bygrave, who lives in Singapore has said we can stay with her for that night.
Only six months ago Singapore opened a new attraction near the zoo. It's called 'River Safari' so this morning, together with Eileen, we paid a visit. Part of the trip is on a boat which winds its way along a simulated tropical river. Either side are enclaves populated by such creatures as jaguars and monkeys. There's even a capybara - reminding us of last year's visit of Jack, the capybara who spent the summer wandering around the Thames before returning to his home at Fawley Hill. The main part of the safari was spent wandering around such places as the squirrel monkey forest, the Congo, and most interesting of all - the giant panda forest. There we saw two giant pandas - Kai Kai and Jia Jia. This is Kai Kai
And this is Jia Jia, feeding on her favourite food - juicy bamboo shoots.
Great to able to get so close and to see how well-cared for they are. And nearby are red pandas.
So much to see at the river safari. Most of the major rivers of the world have their own themed areas, from the Mississippi to the Mekong. Here's a few of the big fish swimming along beside us as we make our way from river to river.
And me standing behind a model of a couple of pandas. Shame they're not real.
And being near Chinese New Year Eileen is sitting by a panda in a Chinese New Year garden.
So we leave the Singapore River Safari with a display showing this coming year's animal - the horse.
The best place to see Singapore's most lavish decorations for the Chinese New Year is in Chinatown itself. So the other evening my young friend and I went over to North Bridge Road there to see what they'd made for The Year of the Horse. We were lucky in that the street decorations had only been erected 2 days beforehand. Just imagine the hustle and bustle amongst the excited crowds as we joined them in admiring the displays which stretched for hundreds of yards down the road.
All the little circles at the base of the horses represent old Chinese money and as they measure well over 3 feet in diameter you can appreciate how big the horses are. We had a little walk around Chinatown, mingling with the multitude until we tired of the busy throng. Everywhere, red dominated the colour scheme. Not surprising as red is the luckiest of colours. So before we leave Chinatown I'll show a little of the atmosphere.