Highlights over the last couple of days were having a Singapore Sling in the famous Long Bar of Raffles Hotel in Singapore. This Hotel is a beautifu,l white, colonial style, three storey building. The central quadrants of palms, bamboo and flowering shubs are surrounded by covered walkways with teak flooring and banisters off which the bedrooms are situated. The Long bar on the 2nd floor is like stepping back in time. One expects to see Noel Cowerd lounging at the long teak and brass bar or David Niven sitting in a wicker chair beneath the waving palm leaf Punka style fans. We were served by an obsequious, black-aproned waiter and grazed on monkey nuts whilst sipping our delicious Slings. Rachel the traditional variety mine a tropical twist to it. Both lovely and a real treat which we both enjoyed all the more because of where we were, on the other side of the world, together at Christmas time enjoying one anothers company in such an iconic location.
As a side note you will appreciate that those who stay at Raffles (as opposed to those who simply sup there) are monied. Consequently it made us laugh that once finished we, conversely, got the bus home and ate at a hawker stand. Our food costing 15% of the cost of the drinks we had just had!
We have revisted the Chinese and Japanese gardens and this time rain didnt stop play. The gardens are extensive and very beautiful. The centre point of the gardens is a large lake on which one can canoe, boat and fish although this is done in very small numbers. Both gardens have very ornate bridges, pagodas and a wide variety of plants. The Japanese gardens were of particular note due to the highly considered ergonomic design with shrubs and trees, balanced with rocks and statues and areas of calm and running water. Considering this is all free it is astounding and as usual a credit to the Singaporean town planners.
Other little examples of the singaporean ideal:
When the MRT was approaching a slightly bumpy area where the train had to change track a warning is given for citizens to hold tight - On the tubes this would certainly not have even been noticed let alone warrant an anouncement.
There was a 3ft by 5ft free standing notice board erected at the station by the police at the station for the last couple of days. It read "Crime Alert. On 21st December a bicycle was stolen from the station bicycle racks. The bike was.... If you have any information regarding this crime then contact your local police office".
This place is so clean!!!!
There are no mosquitos or flys here!!! I was talking to a neighbour about the stark the diffence between India and Singapore and remarked that there were no flies or mosquitos. He joked that there were no flies because Singapore exported thiers to India. But the truth is not much less believable. There is a $200 fine if Mosquitos are found breeding in a building and their are National Environment Agency Agents who go around and check. Consequently people do regular checks. Similarly the NEA spends a lot of cash in spraying neighbourhoods with insectacides to eradicate pests. The result is that, unlike just about everywhere else in Asia, you do not get flies landing in your food after standing in some animals shit and you don't get bitten. (Unless you are Princess Rachel who still manages to get some sort of bites).
Coolest dressed monkey in the forest
Chrismas eve now. Can't sleep so writing the blog. Spent the day shopping for food, browsing in shops and getting last couple of little bits for one another for Christmas. Little things that we can easily carry. Spent this evening, not getting drunk, but at the gymthen doing lengths in the pool before cooking dinner and gong to bed at 10.30pm!