Saturday, June 21, 2014
Our first morning was a rather lazy one, for the boys at least. I rose early to write my blog but the boys managed a bit of a sleep in. We then had a swim before heading to breakfast and there was a bit of pool envy here as there wasn’t a single leaf in the Pan Pacific’s pool!
The breakfast at this hotel was the most amazing feast of any hotel that we have ever encountered. It was a vast and lavish multinational array of most delicious offerings. Mark had 5 separate courses which then necessitated a walking tour of Chinatown to burn this off. He lamented that he only got half way through his desired menu items! Lucky we’re here for another two mornings.
The plan for the morning was to take a walking tour of Chinatown. This was a self-guided, guide book tour titled ‘Tastebuds and Temples’. It took us through markets, alley ways and past temples and trendy new bar and restaurant areas. Our first stop on this tour was at the Wet Markets. A word of advice here: Don’t wear sandals, like I did, to the Wet Markets. Quite literally, this was a huge area with a vast wet floor as well as wet produce. The typical seafoods and fish were on offer but there was also a surprising abundance of frogs. Big ones. The mind boggles as to where these would end up. We eventually waded out of there and wound our way up through the fashionable Ann Siang Rd where there are many contemporary bars and restaurants and the place had a bit of an edgy Darlinghurst vibe to it.
It was fairly hot and humid so following this walk we hunted down a massage venue with air con to relax for a while before heading back to the hotel. We ended up at ‘Alleviate’ at 70A Pagoda St. We’d actually been here many years before and were rather pleased to be able to find it again. Tom and I had a great massage and I would highly recommend them but Mark said that, for him, thoughts of Abu Ghraib came more to mind.
From Chinatown we headed back to the hotel to change as we were being picked up at 1.30 pm for our 4 hr Raffles afternoon tour. The required attire for the boys was long pants and closed shoes so I pitied them in this heat. The bus trip to meet the start of the tour was interesting in its own right. I read much trading commentary about concerns of a slow down in China and Asia. One trip to Singapore though would put rest to any such worry. The amount of major construction and development around the city was phenomenal. This Asian city looks like it’s ramping up, big time, compared to how it was on previous visits.
Back to the tour: Some of the questions I like answers to when visiting cities include finding out where they source their electricity and, also, how and where they treat their sewage. Mark isn’t too sure whether the Raffles tour guide will be willing, or able, to help me out here but I’m going to give it a go anyway.
Well, what do you know? The sewage issue actually proved to be a pivotal part of the tour as the recent Singapore River regeneration program has been a huge endeavor and needed to address this exact issue in an attempt to bring life back to the waterway! BTW. They burn oil for their electricity.
Our component of the tour involved a simple afternoon tea rather than the more formal High Tea. We were happy with this as we were still quite comfortable following our substantial breakfast. It actually proved to be an advantage for us though as well. It meant we had more free time to explore and, so, we headed to the famous Long Bar which suited Mark just fine. Can you guess why? No ‘ribbon sandwiches’ for him but, rather, a Tiger Beer ($18 ++) and I have to confess to partaking of a Singapore Sling ($32!) as well. The relaxed atmosphere here, with peanut shells still being thrown on the floor, was much more appropriate for us. I did have to breathe deeply given the mess here though.
Following our Raffles tour we made our way on to dinner. Tom, to his credit, is one very consistent creature. He is guaranteed to lose at least one iPhone on every trip we do. This trip was no exception. If anyone finds an iPhone 4 in a taxi in Singapore…… it’s Toms!
Dinner for our first full day was at ‘Level 33’ located at No 8 Marina Boulevarde. This was purported to be the worlds ‘highest urban craft brewery’! You can guess the appeal here for a certain member of our party! The added advantage of this venue though was that it afforded spectacular views of the Marina Bay Area for the evening laser light show. Not only that but they had ‘beer ice cream’ for dessert as well! This venue did not disappoint. I would highly recommend this restaurant to anyone visiting Singapore. The view, beer and food were all spectacular.
This was a fantastic first day of our trip. We are just down one iPhone and so Mark and I are hiding ours from Tom!