I flew for what seems like forever to get here—possibly taking the circuitous route via Tokyo, but arrived, nonetheless, WITH MY LUGGAGE for a change! For anyone connecting in Tokyo, make a beeline for the drug store and stock up on “ZI” eye drops (my favorite)—very refreshing for the eyes and totally unavailable in the States. It’s hard to believe that it’s another 7-1/2 hour haul from Tokyo to Singapore but head winds fought our progress the whole way.
The coolest thing about arriving in Singapore is the “Jetquay” service (which Frontiers recommends and can arrange in your behalf….please refer back to my suggested New Years Resolutions for 2012!). Imagine stepping off the airplane, after flying for 26 hours, and someone is standing at the jetbridge holding a sign with your name and a golf cart waiting to whisk you through the airport. You clear passport formalities in the comfort of the Jetquay lounge (no line whatsoever–one immigration officer waiting for you and you alone!) and then you sip some champagne or a myriad of other beverage options while a nameless magician collects your bags and they appear in your waiting car!
Such was my arrival into Singapore! We drove about 15 minutes into the city—granted no traffic at 1 a.m.—and arrived at the Fullerton Bay Hotel which is home for the next four nights. The picture you see above is taken from the balcony of my room—No. 310 which is a “bay view room” and I love it. Floor to ceiling glass and a step out balcony with spacious interiors and hi-tech lighting system are just a few of the amenities. Of course my east coast time clock kicked in and I was starving and ordered “Nasi Goreng,” a favorite jet lag cure, and local specialty…
I awoke earlier than expected and the city skyline definitely changed by day—a full-on view of the Marina Bay Sands hotel, perhaps the most photographed new hotel in the world (after the Burj al ARab, of course…). It’s comprised of three towers with a “ship” perched on top—somewhat controversial amongst the locals but interesting and with its own Bellagio-esque (Las Vegas!) sound & light laser & fountain show at night! I managed to catch the tail end of the Duke vs Carolina basketball game and saw Austin Rivers’ stunning 3-point toss to grant victory to the Blue Devils in this highly contested rivalry, 83-82. Go Duke!! What a way to start the day.
I thought it would be good to see the iconic “Raffles” hotel in spite of the fact that it will close later this year for a renovation (which is much needed, based on my short visit). The famous drink, the “Singapore Sling” was invented here, and although too early in the day to indulge, I thought it would be a good lunch spot. Walking there was an interesting experiment –apparently this city is not meant to be “pedestrian-friendly” and instead there is (supposedly) a highly efficient subway system and what we discovered, a maze of underground passages, shopping malls and entire universe! (We suspect it’s cheaper to air condition things underground than above ground…) Eventually we emerged from the bowels of Singapore onto Beach Road and found Raffles…lunch at Ah Teng’s Bakery. For those who know me, you’d be surprised to find me lunching in a bakery (I’m a “savory” gal) but this was a totally different take on a bakery serving local foods. We had noodles and crab fried rice—okay but not great.
The jet lag hit me squarely in the face and I had to settle in for a long winter’s nap –but emerged in time to join an old friend, Carolyn Turnbull, VP of sales for Amanresorts who was looking as glamorous as ever in a Leger bandage dress. We took dinner with a few of our group in a nearby Thai restaurant—the main topic of conversation: where would our next trip be? Most votes were for a return to India—a pushover for me—stay tuned! This trip officially begins tomorrow!