Sunday, 16 January 2011

Singapore Day 1. Jan 15th

We set the alarm at 6.30 this morning and had breakfasted and checked out by 8. A metered taxi again charged us the 500Tb to get the airport where the usual security took ages. Just when we thought our struggles were over, we came across a large sculpture of a tug of war using a dragon’s tail as a rope.  There were mythical sculptures in all corners of Bangkok airport. If only we had set the alarm for 5 we may have had time to appreciate a few more of them.  We ran our Tbs (Thai Barts) down to the absolute minimum and only just had enough for a bottle of water on the plane.  On landing the taxi arrangements could not have been easier.  So much better than BKK.  5 taxis were ushered in by a controller and when parked, 5 sets of passengers were released from the queue. When they had gone…. Another 5 and so on. No squabbling, no getting run over, and best of all, efficient. This time the meter ran and when we arrived it had 17 Singapore $…. Which really meant 20 or in other words about 10 GBP again. To future Singapore travellers…… the ATM is near BurgerKing! 
As we drove out of the airport it started to rain…. And then some! Our driver explained that every day about that time it rains. It’s the rainy season. For the next hour or so it tipped it down.  (Ann now) What that does mean is that there is really lush growth everywhere. There were amazing displays of big groups of different kinds of orchids as we came through the airport and outside the trees seem to just keep going up and there are ferns, bromeliads, and orchids growing in their branches.
At the hotel the first room we were offered smelt musty, and some of the paperwork on the desk was actually damp. We enquired about air freshener and Internet access at the front desk to be told that the WIFI does not work in that half of the hotel.  So we moved from 626 to 1011. A much drier room and a 5 bar reading on the WIFI. Also a much better room, though not yet sure if the two pools we can see are actually attached to our hotel. People are still using them even in this downpour….. Once you are wet, you are wet!
We resolved to stay in and had the Hotel buffet supper…. Superb. About 9pm we went out, as it had stopped raining.  Everywhere was really wet, yet so humid, my shirt was soaked by the time we got back. We sorted the local area, river taxis and the general direction of Chinatown ready for the morning.  As it was rather wet I only took the little camera (Sony Cybershot 7.2 mega pixel)  Not the best choice for night shots but a lot less conspicuous. We saw what we thought were lit up kites in the night sky, but they turned out to be battery powered, LED lit, remote controlled model flying machines.  Can’t really say airplanes as they were more kite shaped, but had no strings attached and could fly silently with such grace as to keep at least 200 spectators transfixed for ever. I will have to return with the Canon 7d and hope they have another session. Hopefully you will see some better shots later.
(Ann again) Again everywhere is planted up with what are for us rare and slow growing species, or house plants in England, but here are monsters! There is a botanical garden and an orchid garden I am looking forward to seeing. Not many photos here.

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