We started our day in Singapore early and full of excitement. First we drove up the 100-meter Mount Faber for a view over the city. As we walked to the summit we passed people doing their morning tai chi or sitting cross-legged meditating. It was a serene spot with lots of colourful flowering plants. We looked over a sea of high rise apartment buildings and brand new futuristic condominiums worth millions and millions of dollars.
As we drove to our next stop, we were impressed by the roadways, wide and landscaped. It is easy to see that urban planning is very important here. Although high rise buildings are everywhere there is lots of green space. Our walk through the National Orchid Gardens, where over 700 species were on display, was truly amazing. This is the largest display of orchids in the world and the colours are magnificent. When VIPs visit an orchid is named after them. Our guide kept asking everyone if they had seen Margaret Thatcher but she was a bit out of bloom at the moment. Preparations were underway for Chinese New Year with lots of kumquat bushes everywhere. At the end of our journey it was fun to watch several groups of really well behaved school children lining up to enter the orchid display.
After visiting a huge mall totally dedicated to everything electronic, it was time for lunch. Usually, we are quite adventurous when it comes to eating but we decided to give the chicken feet a miss and opted for a sandwich and salad instead.
Now it was time to visit Raffles for a Singapore Sling. The old colonial hotel has grown from the original ten rooms to over a hundred suites costing $1000 per night. We headed for the Long Bar and ordered our drinks. Seamus had the original Singapore Sling with a gin base, while I had an Autumn Sling that was vodka based along with a lot of other liqueurs and some blackberries. It was very good, as it should be at $28 a drink!
We have some old friends who live in Singapore and after meeting up with them we went to their house for dinner. They live in a unique development of garden homes that were once owned by British officers. The bungalow homes have the traditional black and white colour and a garden in the front and a strip of a garden in the back. Some of the houses in the area have been torn down and replaced with much larger homes. This smallish house rented for $4,000 a month. We stopped at a little supermarket on the way and found products from all over the world but things were very expensive because absolutely everything is imported.
After a very long visit we took a taxi back to our ship. The taxi driver had worked for an American company before retiring. Boredom set in and he took up taxi driving. He was very friendly and we didn't object when he insisted on taking the scenic route back to our ship, We saw lanterns lit for the New Year, the exclusive Orchard Road shopping area, six-star hotels, the waterfront and the casino. Singapore is still vibrant at one in the morning.