Monthly Archives: June 2014

Singapore. The absolute final blog.

 

Who could resist these fabulous clouds.

Naz was waiting for me at the airport and it was great to see her there. I had totally forgotten how steamy Singapore is, and I was already dripping when we got outside. I had also forgotten that Naz and Matt don't have a car, so Naz had taxied over to meet me. She then insisted on paying for the taxi to get to my hotel.

The hotel is huge by Perth standard but not by Singapore's. It is thirty floors high and I am on the tenth floor. The entrance is very grand and everyone is given the same greeting. Bags are taken to be delivered to one's room, doors are opened and the concierge offers any assistance needed.

 

The hotel. I found the room to be very luxurious with a lovely bathroom and massive bed. It even has tea and coffee makings. Plus a huge TV and nice lamps to light the room. Even at the full price it is not as expensive as some here. It is the first hotel I have stayed in where I can hear nothing from rooms above or next door.

When Naz left I showered and sorted through clothes as the clothing I had on were now all sweaty. Then I decided to try for a sleep as I just could sleep on the plane due to this darned irritable leg problem. We had planned to meet at the Boat Quay for a meal at six. I had just drifted off when the phone rang. It was the IT person wanting to know if I needed help getting on the wifi. No I assured him we had worked it out. I finally managed to fall asleep again when the phone rang. It was the concierge wanting to know if the IT person had been in contact with me yet. Yes, I said and all is working now. In all I managed about two hours sleep.

It looks much better than this in real life.

The view over the side: An artist's impression shows the Skypark that tops the Marina Bay Sands hotel towers, including the infinity pool

This is the most astounding piece of architecture I have ever seen. ( I stole the picture) it is called the Sky Park and is at the new Marina Bay Sands Hotel Towers. It is worth a google. Just indescribable even for a wordsmith like moi.

I taxied over to the Quay area, which is quite a way from here and I could not believe the difference in the buildings which I think I last saw in 2001. We had a nice meal at an Indian restaurant after which Naz and Matt gave me a bit of a tour. Matt left us around nine to take a business call and Naz and I went for a mini tour.

Not very clear but at the top you can just make out the Sky Park. This is opposite where we ate.

The Merlion.

This hotel is about four hundred plus a night.

Nice sculpture of boys jumping in the river.

Matt and Naz

One of the restaurants at the Fullerton Hotel.

This is a canal within the Sands complex.

Where you can hire one of these gondolas and be paddled through the complex.

Rodins, The Thinker.

The whole area over here is absolute opulence with all the top designers such as Channel, and all the other big names. Given that it is so very very high end nobody seems to care about a dress code so it was quite nice to stroll around in casuall bliss mixing with the posh and not so posh.

Prices in Singapore are very high, and not as it once was. My short, but too far to walk, taxi ride was ten dollars going to the Quay, and thirteen to get back. Once back doors were opened and greetings given. There is about eight lifts to accommodate the many floors. I mentioned on my way in that one of the powers points was loose. Within seconds of being in my room, a handyman was at the door, and power point fixed.

Tomorrow I shall meet Naz for lunch and a quick look at China Town. Then back to her condominium for a paddle in their pool and a visit with the kids, before heading off to the airport. Then finally back in Perth just before midnight. I am now about to slide into these beautiful Egyption sheets, with the devine soft pillows, and the blissfully silence until I wake up. Mmmmmmm!

This is really the end.

Fini

 

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PS. i have just received an email from Booking.com and they have managed to persuade the hotel into dropping any extra charges. I am now booked in for the second of June. I'm very happy as I really didn't want Matt and Naz to feel obliged to put up with me. Must get packed up now.

Just so there is a photo. This is the Montecarlo Hotel.

Byeee

 

Saturday. Last day.

10.am

Having coffee on my way to metro to travel out to the Familia.

Yesterday I managed to find a black jacket at a reasonable price, which is a bit like a rain coat.

My jacket.

Thank goodness I did, as when I left to go to the show the rain hurled itself down. It was a ghastly trip to the theatre. Hundreds of people, some with umbrellas trying to get to their destinations on narrow footpaths. The umbrella men darting in and out trying to sell umbrellas, cars splashing up further water, people banging into each other wielding umbrellas, and water pouring off roofs. My shoes were soaked as were my pants. Murphy's law had it that the rain had gone when we came out. When I got to the theatre I managed to get to the ladies and dried off with paper towel.

I certainly went to the wrong show and should have gone to the Grand Flamenco but my past few days clearly indicate that I need a manager, or should that read carer? This show was exerps from various shows about star crossed lovers. I only knew this because one girl sung from Carmen, and the tenor later sung Nesson Dorma. The flamenco dancers were superb but didn't use castanets! That I was told later that would have been done at the other show. The singers, a soprano and a tenor were wonderful and brought the house down. What was fantastic for me was as the audience had a good percentage of Spanish and other Latin people they really let the performers know when they liked something. Much whistling and cheering and clapping.

 

About 8.30 now and people out and about. These stalls go all the way down the street.

10 pm after my meal.

I found a nice restaurant not far from where I am staying, and had a lovely meal for 18€. I had a very tasty goats cheese salad, which had nuts and all sorts of various salad ingredients, this was followed by grilled sole with roasted potato (1) and grilled egg plant. Before I could order my desert, I was asked to move tables as they needed to make up a table of twenty. They were very sweet about it gave me a red wine and a liquor after desert, which was chocolate mousse. It was a set menu, so I had to have desert!

Finally to bed. Peace disturbed only by the rubbish pick up.

11 pm. Saturday night.

The Metro (underground) is much like the London Underground a wonderful system for getting around, and an extremely confusing one if you are not familiar with the names, and have to change to another line. I got so turned around it's a wonder I got anywhere. Kamel at the desk told me to go to University station, but two trains go there, one which continues, and one which ends there. The problem being knowing which line! Obviously whith my track record, (pun un intended) I was on the wrong line, so back I had to go. You think I jest, but…

..you think you're on the right one but then there's so many other numbers.

The one I took must have been to the funny farm. One fellow gets on with a bag of dirty but neatly folded clothes, and promptly strips of his grubby tee shirt, to replace it with another equally grubby one. Then an old chap gets on and begins to play the opening bars of “Those were the Days My Friend” over and over, while pausing now and then to hold out a cap for money. Frankly I think he has travelled on the Metro from France. Meanwhile an extremely strange looking woman proceeds to laugh hysterically for the duration of her five stops and can still be heard as she disappears down the platform.

Surely he's the same person?

Finally I get to the church. My time to tour the tower was for 12.30. Thank goodness I booked a ticket. I do not lie when I say there was a queue for about two hundred metres, two to three people wide. They were all being told the ticket they would get would be for three o'clock! I had also paid for a talking guide thingy, to look around inside the church. The first thing it said was, “Look up to the bell tower…blah blah..take in the beautiful mosaics” ect ect. Well in order to see the bell tower one would have to A. Lie down and attempt to see that high, or B. Run across to the park opposite and look up, or C. Buy a post card.

A post card.

Then it went on to tell me to turn right at such and such to see so and so. Problem being I had no idea what each such and such was so I gave up and had a wander around before reporting for my tower visit. There are two towers and when I booked I had to pick one.

The church is massive and impossible to get any idea of the vastness of it. I took only a couple of photos in the actual church.

I had no idea he was into hang gliding!

My only attempt at the interior.

There is a lift to take us to the tower. At a certain point we alight and walk up some more steps. The steps are very narrow and room only for one person at a time. A couple of people got to the top and froze. One woman was very brave and just did not go near the look out spot. Another dick head plumb in mouth Brit, carried on about his fear, and it began when visiting the Eiffel Tower in France. Quite unsure what one is doing up here at all. Then he stood pressed against the was. I nearly drew blood biting my lip, because I wanted to say, ” why the f…. come up here then, you pommy git.” He never bloody shut up.

I shall now pop in some pictures. Many of these were taken with the iPad as I was holding it right out through the openings, except for the areas where one can actually step onto what seems like a miniature balcony. I was terrified I would drop it, but managed to not do so. The tower is 112 metres high and when, if ever, it gets finished the middle tower will be twice as high apparently. Worth googling this, it is quite unbelievable.

 

From the top, and have to say even my stomach lurched when I first looked down.

The bell tower with amazing mosaic work. Hmmm. Need to update their audio guides.

As we go up we can see all the construction going on, and on.

Looking down the lift well. Where the light is shining are openings which I think you can see better in a later picture.

These are they. From outside they look quite attractive and you can see how they look on the postcard picture. I didn't buy the postcard as the damn queue was too long.

These are the little balcony look outs. Must say he did think of every thing. There are gaps at the bottom for water to run through.

These are the openings, I don't know what they are called but I think from the outside they look like fish scales.

His religious figures are very art nouveau or something. No doubt the style is described somewhere.

No idea what the fruit is about. I think that Dali, Picasso and Goudi all got high as kites one night and came up with this design.

That shotgun Loooking thing is his down pipe design.

 

Looking down the stairwell. These girls loved the shot I was taking, so they took one too, then squeezed past me so they could look back up to give me some perspective. You can see here how narrow the steps are. Going back down the stairs was much better than taking the lift back as we got to see more on the way down.

Now I am lying down and shooting up the stairs. I just liked the look of it.

As we got near to the bottom we could see into the church.

This was a massive iron piece on one of the doors leading out.

 

Some sections were in brass.

 

 

All very grim looking.

A minute selection of some of the figures outside the entrance to the building. But the postcard picture looks like the front, and this was the opposite side. No doubt more amazing works around there too.

This was a door off to one side and it was covered with very unusual ( it's Goudi!) pieces of art work. Well it's all art, I'm just running out of adjectives.

Just a couple of sections.

I eventually left after a good two hours and the crowds outside were overwhelming. From the towers it must have looked like a massive swarm of ants. Mixed in with that is all the hawkers selling their wares. Clack clack clack as they shake castanets in our faces, the ones selling some stupid thing that distorts your voice which sounds like the chipmunks, and the ever present person selling paper cut outs of Simpsons and such which dance to the beat of music, which is on full volume. Actually I was quite taken with them the first time I saw them. Then there is stall after stall after stall selling all sorts of knaff. Here it is the Familia related as well as Gaudi.

So feeling in need of a little peace I went over to the little park across the road. This little shop, which I passed on the way, had lovely, very expensive souvenirs.

My photo of the church. This pond according to a painting I saw was once a big lake.

I'm surprised I even had room to take a photograph.

After all this activity I had a coffe and a cake then went and managed to get lost in the underground labyrinth again. I knew I needed line three but a security person told me to get on line two. Ah well I finally got back to my little nest in time for a well needed siesta.

Later on I went off towards the main plaza to check that I knew exactly where to get the Aero bus, as Kamel told me a short cut. Knowing me, a short cut can get very long indeed. I found it very easily.

That ended up being two hours as I got busy taking pictures, as last time I came here it was raining. Oh, today was sunny. On my way I saw these fellows selling handbags. The bags all on a sheet with the men all holding strings. My guess is that is so they can lift and run, so obviously the bags are off a truck, or they don't have a license to sell. When I took a picture the fellow got very irate so I pretended I wanted to email the picture to my friend to see if she would like it. I picked up a very colourful Channel and it felt like real leather, lovely and soft. He said he would drop it to 20€ but only had five minutes left to sell it to me. I resisted and scuttled off.

Irate man, ready to pull strings and run.

 
 
 

Some long exposure shots. My little camera is nearly dead, as it has been dropped so often. Fortunately not from the tower.

On my way across to the fountains a fellow was doing bubbles for his busking. Quite successful he was too.

It is now one am, but I did have a siesta and it is still bedlam outside. I shall now pop in the ear plugs and find a comfortable spot in the springs. I find there is one little spot in the bed that I can avoid the springs, but it takes I minute to find it.

I have not heard from Booking.com so it looks like I have lost out on that one. I shall check my email on Monday when I arrive in Singapore just in case. Fortunately the airport there has wifi so I will know the answer when Matt and Naz pick me up.

I might do a quick update before departing Singapore.

For now it is a definate adios from Spain.