Today was my chance to finally ground myself. Ignoring the fact that we have young children with limited walking abilities, we set off to tramp the streets for what seemed like miles and miles.
After a bus ride along Orchard Road, we started at the iconic colonial birthplace of Singapore: Raffles Hotel. A decade and a half ago, when I was first here, I sat in the Long Bar being chatted up by the English cricket team, drinking Singapore Slings and eating monkey nuts, throwing the shells on the floor. The tradition, much to the thrill of the children, has not changed, although the price is now a whopping $60 for two drinks. You can still imagine women in white muslin sipping tea beneath the cool shade of a palm frond or a group of men in straw boaters playing croquet on the lawn. The arched walkways are now home to upmarket shops, and unfortunately the hotel’s museum has now closed, but despite the progress of Singapore, or because in spite of it, Raffles has kept its Old World charm.
Moving on through history we left the colonial era in search of the most impressive exhibits of today’s architecture. Shaped like scaly armadillos (the Esplanade Mall) or DNA (the Helix bridge) or even metal trees (Garden by the Bay), but the lasting memory was created by the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Towering above the fingers of the hand-like Art Science Museum, this imposing structure has three elegantly sweeping towers, blocks with curved sides that start wide at the base and curve inwards towards to a pinnacle, upon which a boat hull appears to be balanced. A suspended walkway takes you directly from the shopping centre through Marina Bay Sands hotel to Garden by the Bay, a horticulturalist’s delight. Even if plants aren’t your thing, there is enough in the park to keep you interested with weaving paths, ponds with sculptures and a walkway through the metal trees. It really does look like something out of a sci-fi film. Just imagine sitting in that brainstorming meeting, when someone suggests: “How about a gigantic metal cup, made out of drain pipes, with a sweeping bridge in the sky that looks like a street for a hoverboard. That could work.” And it does.
Incidentally, we are getting close to the Doc’s DeLorean dashboard Back to the Future date of 21st October 2015, and my hoverboard still hasn’t arrived.
We completed the loop around the Marina, stopping at a bar for a beer as the great clouds loomed above. Once we decided it really wasn’t going to rain and we were using it as an excuse for a hop beverage, we weaved our way through the back streets to Clarke Quay, which has plenty of dining options. Taking the hint, as the girls sat there chewing with their eyes shut, we looked wistfully at the cocktail menu before carrying the children back to the MRT station and home to bed. Sampling Singapore’s nightlife will have to wait another few years.
This is part of a 14 trip - for the full itinerary take a look at the Trips to Try tab.