I have been having terrible problems with my system, so I am late in posting this. I'll have a whole writeup one of these days on some of the technical problems that I am having with my PC.
It has been really busy, so I have not really had a chance to just go exploring Singapore. But that's the whole point. So I finally took a day off and did just that. I knew that our surface shipment was arriving later in the week, so I would be busy enough then.
I decided to head for the water. One thing about Singapore that surprised me is that there isn't any water. It is the busiest port in the whole world. So where is the water? When we were on our preview trip we went to Sentosa Island (a long trip - it's about 300 meters from Singapore). But one way to go is by cable car. And from there you get a great view of the harbor and the straits. But that is a ways from downtown. So I wanted to find where the island ended near the city center.
I took the MRT (subway) to the end of the line. The station is called Marina Bay, so it sounded like it would be close to the water. When I finally came up above ground, I was in a park with a busy freeway right behind me seperating me from the financial district - the center of the downtown area.
Since there wasn't much around, it was obvious why there weren't many people who had taken the MRT to the end of the line. I started walking down the only road in the direction away from the tall buildings. It was surprising. There really wasn't anyone around. It was a weekday. I followed it to the south marina - a boat dock where a few small ferries and water taxis left for some of the islands in the straits. And yes, there was the water.
The water here isn't that impressive. It is pretty murky. With all the construction on the island, all the shipping traffic and all the people, I've read that the visibility on a typical day is about two feet. About everywhere you look you see land. Singapore itself curves around to the east, and to the south are various islands of Indonesia a few miles away. The straits themselves are like the worlds largest parking lot for ships. I counted over 50 ships at anchor in the straits, and I couldn't even see the harbor from where I was. Singapore is not only the world's busiest port, it is the world's busiest ship refueling spot.
From the marina I started walking back along the road. There is actually quite a bit of stuff in the park. I found a golf course that is right along the ocean. I found an area known as the statue garden, which is made up of bigger than life size statues of various figures from asian history. I have to admit that I didn't recognize any of them. I guess there is kind of a Western bias in my history education. There was quite a long walk right along the water, I reached the mouth of the Singapore River. There the park/walkway continues up the river towards downtown. There is quite a bit of construction taking place there. One project is for a huge amusement ride that is kind of a one-quarter ferris wheel. As I was approaching it I couldn't figure out what it was for the longest time. Then there is another big project for some kind of water park. This was a BIG project. The construction site was walled off, but I counted 42 cranes on the site. That is a lot of heavy equipment.
The walk is quite pretty as you approach the big buildings downtown. But they are a good half a mile from the coast. Given how scarce space is, I'm not sure why there is nothing going all the way to the water. I guess the original port of Singapore was half a mile up the river, which is why the city is sited where it is. In the nineteenth century they built a new harbor for deep water steamships, but the city was already where it was. Don't know why it never expanded down to the ocean though. Maybe the land is too unstable, or floods, or something.
Now just because I was hiking only a quarter of a mile from some of the densest urban territory in the world doesn't mean that I wasn't being adventurous. A sign along the path reminded people of the terrible natural dangers they faced in the wild.