Tag Archives: statues

Singapore, 2012: Part 1

When I was 5 months pregnant, my husband and I took a trip to Singapore and Malaysia. It was my first trip back since the 1990’s and my husband’s first time there at all. He had recently acquired a job with an international company, so we were fitting the trip in before his work trip in Singapore.

Singapore had modernised over the last 18 years, the Chinatown had shrunk and big sleek high-rise had popped up everywhere. We stayed in the Riverview Hotel where there were lots of lovely old buildings, most which had now been given a fresh coat of paint and a face-lift. Necessary, I suppose, but sad that it also meant a loss of authenticity.

I started our tour of Singapore with the iconic Raffles Hotel. The Indian doorman I remembered, but not the fancy expensive shops. The Singapore slings also seemed a bit out of reach expensive this time around.

We headed for the waterfront, past the futuristic looking Esplanade Theatre, to my favourite white Merlion fountain. It was now overlooked by the new Marina Bay Sands which was three towers with a curved cruise boat shaped roof, shimmering in the sunlight.

Passing the Fullerton Hotel, we walked to Clarke Quay with all the bronzed statues of buffalo’s and children jumping into the river. We had lunch at one of the many riverfront restaurants boasting fresh seafood and good beer. Here it felt a bit more like the Singapore I remembered.

My husband is a bit of a fan of markets, so we headed to Bugis Street markets to see what we could find. We also stumbled upon Chijmes, a church surrounded by a new courtyard complex of restaurants, including a very nice Tapas restaurant. Chijmes was one of the nicer new developments where I could see improvements to the old.

That night, the bus picked us up from the hotel to take us out to the Singapore Zoo for a night safari. I love zoo, but had never heard of a night safari before and was quite excited to be embarking on a new experience. We sat in a jeep vehicle train with zebra stripes for the safari.

The light was not good enough for my camera to be able to take photos in the dark, which turned out to be a good thing as it forced me to sit back and enjoy the animals rather than concentrate on recording them all. There were Indian wolves, elephants and Himalayan Tahr.

Some of the animals were not naturally nocturnal which was a bit worrying, but I guess animals are adaptable, just like humans. After the drive, we got out of the jeeps and took one of the walks to see the bizarre fishing cats which I had never seen before. They became a new favourite of mine.

Related posts: It’s an Asia Thing,  Indonesia and Singapore, 1994, England, Malaysia and Singapore, 1988

Isla Mujeres and Cancun, 2011

Isla Mujeres, the Island of Women, famous for the statues between it and Cancun on the mainland which were sunken for the pleasure of scuba divers.

The ferry over from Cancun was quick and the water was even bluer than Tulum.

My husband and I stayed in a lovely little hotel on Playa Secreto, the quiet side of the island, which had a sandy courtyard filled with hammocks.

No cars were allowed on the island, so people got around on golf carts, although the island was so small that you could walk everywhere and didn’t really need one.

The main street was short and lined with restaurants and gift shops. We took a seafront walk along Bahia de Mujeres to see the lighthouse and had lunch in a Cuban restaurant.

My husband wanted to go scuba diving while we were here and I was happy to join the dive boat to go snorkeling. The dive boat instructers were confident fellows and kept me entertained while we waited for the divers to resurface.

We saw the statues of so many different people- standing, sitting and engaged in all sorts of activities- it was like nothing I had ever seen before. We also saw a turtle in the wild, which I had never seen before and was amazing. He was so quick!

That night we ate in a seafood restaurant with tables and chairs on the beach and found a funky bar on the main street that had high ceilings and a mural of a rainforest. We also discovered the La Adelita Tequileria.

You could hire a deck chair at the busier Playa Norte by day, or sit on a swing in one of the many bars that lined the beach, by night. It was on one such swing that we got acquainted with a lovely Swiss girl called Jasmin who was travelling through Mexico by herself, but had met many like minded travellers such as ourselves along the way to keep her company as desired.

We discovered that we were staying in the same hotel and met in the sandy courtyard on occasion to play cards and have a few drinks between beach visits. Jasmin was travelling back through Cancun and didn’t really want to go by herself. We had already decided that we wanted to avoid spending too much time there; so the three of us travelled back to mainland together to stay one night in a Cancun motel.

Jasmin was on a mission to get a one-person hammock and we were happy to join her quest. We found one in a nearby market, squeezed between the many restaurants and closed nightclubs.

And so our Mexican journey came to an end. It really had been the best trip ever, maybe it was the place, perhaps it was the company or just that it was that blissful time between get married and having kids.

Related posts: Tulum, 2011, Chichen Itza, 2011, Campeche and Merida, 2011, Palenque, 2011, Oaxaca, 2011, Mexico City, 2011

New Year’s Eve on the Island, 2007

The day after Boxing Day, my husband-to-be (HTB) and I caught the ferry to Vancouver Island. We were met in Victoria by Geoff and his brown Labrador Ruby. After a walk on the beach, we met up with Genevieve, who was now Geoff’s wife, at a local bar to catch up. They were kindly letting us stay in their house for New Year’s Eve and we were very excited.

Celina and her friend Balki took us up Bear Mountain the next day for a view of Victoria and to see the outdoor skating rink at The Westin. The boys then dropped us in town to meet up with Genevieve for a girl’s shopping trip while they played golf. They saw wild deer on the course!

My HTB and I did the usual sight-seeing round of Victoria- the Parliament Buildings, Empress Hotel, Hemlcken House, St Anne’s Pioneer school house, a totem pole and a squirrel. There were lots of statues of killer whales, bears and moose around town that we liked posing in front of.

Celina and Balki drove us to Jordan River and to see the iconic China Beach one day. It was cold on the beach, but beautiful.

We met Kim and Jeanette for dinner and ice tea one night and met Geoff and Genevieve’s friends Lisa, Rochelle, Kayla and Sean one night at their house.

And then, before we knew it, it was the night before New Year’s Eve and a mini Heineken practice keg was purchased. Not deemed big enough, a 40-litre keg was bought in preparation for New Year’s Eve, which was consumed in entirety by 8 guys on the night.

Also at the New Year’s party at Geoff and Genevieve’s house were Celina, Balki, Kim, Nina, Kayla and Sean, Lisa, Rochelle, Rob and his girlfriend and a random New Zealander called Steve. It was Lisa’s birthday on the night so we had cake to go with our drinking games.

We played a funny game of Twister, had lots of dancing and the countdown to New Year’s Eve on the oven clock. People kept passing out on the bed and then getting up to drink more- that 40-litre keg had to be finished!

All in all, my HTB and I agreed it was one of the best New Year’s Eve’s we had ever had (ok- it was THE best, just don’t tell anyone else we have ever spent New Year’s Eve with alright?).

Related posts: Christmas in Canada, 2007Canada, 2005Canada, 2002Canada 1997- 1998Canada, 1997Canada, 1990Seattle, 2007, People vs PlaceThe Seven Year ItchFriendship: Great Expectations?