Ed's second post
Singapore visit 2007

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Well, we made it to Saturday again. Sandy and Shannon were home now so we could give our tour guide, Steve, a break. The 4 of us walked to the open air restaurant at the Marriott Hotel on Orchard Road for breakfast. I won't tell you what it cost! Sandy just said order what you want and don't look at the price. Although it was pricey there, we have found a number of restaurants where the breakfasts are quite reasonable, I would say comparable with back home. We then went across Orchard Drive to Takashimaya, a very nice mall for some more shopping. By the number of restaurants and stores, we have found out that the 2 favorite activities of Singaporeans are eating and shopping, not necessarily in that order. We finally had to leave and walk home since the 4 of us each had bags in each hand. By the way, I still haven't found any shorts big enough for me although with all of the walking we are doing, I am losing weight and may find one that fits before we leave.

That evening, we took cabs to Boat Quay where we ate at a place along the riverfront called The Hot Stone. They bring out your meat raw on a very hot stone and you let it cook in front of you to however you like it. A couple of Sandy's friends who were here from Boise on business joined us. The following pictures show you the setting. I have also included a picture taken from the 70th floor of the Swiss Hotel looking down on the river and Boat Quay (the colorful places located along the river front).

Speaking of cabs, they have an interesting procedure for calling one. When you first call a cab, your number and address is entered into their computer system so when you call again from that same number, you get a message asking if you want a pick-up at that address. All you do is punch in a number indicating yes and you get another message telling how many minutes it will be before the cab will arrive. If you call from a cell phone and you have had pick-ups at a couple of locations, such as at home, work, or school, the phone message will ask you whether you want the pick-up from your home or work or school. Again, you just identify the location by entering a number on your phone. You never talk to a person unless you want a pick-up from some other location and need to tell them of that.

On Sunday, we all went to the Singapore Zoo. I am sure you have all been to zoos but this is the first one I have gone to in a tropical setting. To get to many of the exhibits, you had to walk along wooden paths cut out of the jungle. One interesting exhibit was the elephant exhibit where they had several elephants performing and doing typical work such as moving heavy logs. Also, something unique was their polar bear exhibit. Who would ever expect polar bears at a zoo in the tropics? One of the 2 bears is the first and only polar bear born in the tropics.

Monday was a day to visit the downtown area, including Raffles City Shopping Center and the Raffles Hotel. The hotel and many other things in Singapore are named after an Englishman, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, who came to Singapore in 1819 to set up a trading settlement. Raffles was instrumental in laying out much of downtown Singapore. The Raffles Hotel is famous world wide as the location where the cocktail, the Singapore Sling was invented. They are still served there as you can see from the pink cocktails in the picture below. It is probably also the only location in Singapore where they serve you peanuts at your table and expect you to throw the shells on the floor. We also visited Raffles Place in the center of the business district.

Tuesday, May 1, was Labor Day here so it was a public holiday and most workers other than clerks in the stores were off work. Holidays are also the only days when you can visit the Istana Gardens. We walked there for a tour of the grounds including the Prime Minister's residence, a golf course, gardens, fountain, etc. Unfortunately, I failed the security check (a suspicious looking westerner). Seriously, I had a nail clipper in my pocket and I had to go all of the way back to the entrance to dispose of it before they would let me in.

Wednesday and Thursday were days for more shopping. Within 4 blocks of Sandy's apartment, there are 4 large malls that each have from 100 - 300 stores and eating places. These are generally hi-rise buildings with the malls consisting of 2 floors below grade and about 5 floors above grade. Floors of offices are located above the malls. Three of the malls also have nice grocery stores or markets. Since you can easily walk to all of these malls and stores, there is very little need for a car. For longer trips, the MRT (underground subway) and cabs are available. Both are very reasonable with the MRT fare from Sandy's to downtown being only about $0.60 one way. The MRT as well as the stores are all very clean, consistent with all of Singapore.

In conclusion, it has been a very nice visit and I have decided to relocate here. Since I enjoy cooking, I have decided to open my own restaurant as you can see from the picture below.

Lawry visit 2007 continued
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Boat Quay from top of Swiss Hotel

Boat Quay

Steaks cooking on the stone

Elephants at work

Giant tortoises

Polar bears

Lawry visit 2007 continued
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