Singapore Part 1

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February 14th 2023
Published: February 14th 2023
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We are moored for two days in Singapore. Here are some facts about Singapore.
In addition to its main island, the nation of Singapore includes 63 additional islands, most of which are uninhabited.Singapore is among the 20 smallest countries in the world, with a total land area of only 682.7 square kilometers. The United States is about 15,000 times biggerSingapore is one of only three surviving city-states in the world. The other two are Monaco and the Vatican City.

The electronic landing cards (required by anyone going ashore) have been causing much trouble. Largely because people didn’t follow instructions and partially complete them before embarking. The result has been massive queues seeking help. Happily we followed instructions and things went easily.

On entering the terminal we were waved through to one of the checking positions quickly because of my Parkinson’s and I walk with a stick.Iris scan, facial recognition, thumb prints together with QR codes from our Covid jabs saw us admitted to the country. (Ian went to a lecture on Singapore entitled ‘benign authoritarianism’, I can see where they got the title from.)

Before we could leave the terminal we were subject to airport style security. (Unusual leaving the ship.) My meds dispenser which has a clock, battery and several compartments resulted in Ian having to open up his bag for physical checking. I was also subject to a full on physical frisk as I can’t go through the scanners because of my neural implants. This happened leaving the ship and returning at the end of the day. Interesting that we have been subject to dozens of security checks over the last month, we have never had to show the pill dispenser and usually I am just waved through. No complaints at all, just remarking on how lax all the other checks have been.

We are touring today with Jeremy and Sue, friends from the ship. Unfortunately they disembark today so it is all a little sad.

We opt to use the metro to get to the Botanic Gardens. What can I tell you? Quick, clean, well signed and cheap. No tickets bought just tap your credit / debit card. No drivers either. RMT take note, hundreds of stations, and I suspect hundreds of kilometres of track and all computer controlled. (It was the same in Dubai.) Modern systems just don’t seem to need drivers at all.

We have an issue in that a credit card can only be used for one person. Individually we are fine but Jeremy and Sue have only brought one card between them which means at most stations the system refuses the second person. I wonder how young people use the metro without their own cards?

The journey is quickly over and we exit the station directly into the Botanic Garden. It is very well kept and has areas given over to specific species of plants. We are 1 degree north of the Equator and there are endless plants which we know only as delicate house plants growing luxuriantly all over the place.

We want to see the orchid garden which is a 1.1km walk. For a small country Singapore gives over quite a tract of land for this garden. As ‘seniors’ we have discounted entry (Singapore $3 about £2). The planting is hugely impressive, all the blooms seem in immaculate condition, no dying flowers in sight. A riot of colour and probably many hundreds of different species / varieties. By the way did you know some orchids have flowers so small they can only be examined using a magnifying glass and are pollinated by mites and fleas? No me neither.

Part of the display is the mist house where fine water sprays simulate mist / cloud. Spanish Moss hangs in sheets from branches, bromeliads sprout in other trees. Wonderful.

Back to the metro and a ride to the Garden by the Bay. We visited here in 2018 but always hoped to return. It is the site of the huge metal structures we have all seen pictures of in Singapore advertising literature. They are actually frames for climbing plants and simulate the largest trees in tropical rainforests. The walkway is 22m above ground level, the height of the primary forest canopy.

The two greenhouses are actually necessary to cool the air down so plants not used to the local temperatures can survive. So in the flower dome are Mediterranean, Australian and temperate collection. Plants we regard as needing heated glass houses.

In the Cloud House a seven storey structure mimics a mountain colonised by a tropical cloud forest. A lift ride to the seventh floor followed by a walk down twisting aerial pathways, through more mist sprays and around waterfalls shows off spectacular vegetation and flowers. Obviously to attract younger people a great many models of creatures from the Avatar film are on display. Many are animated. It is however such a spectacular thing in it’s own right that I really don’t think it needs blue pseudo dragons to attract customers. But then we’re not twelve year olds.

All in all the Garden by the Bay is a truly spectacular place.

We return exhausted to the ship and take part in our last quiz with Jeremy and Sue. We have made a successful team with them for the late night trivia wInning approximately 12 bottles of wine! We will miss them


14th February 2023

Great descriptions of Singapore and Malaysia. Shame you’re losing your quiz buddies, wonder who you’ll meet next? Xx
16th February 2023

Thanks Elaine hope all good with you xx

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