A Travellerspoint blog

June 2016

Lost in Luang Prabang

Navigational failures don't mar visit to amazing temples

sunny 94 °F

View from the bridge of the river and temple complex at Luang Prabang

When I was researching Laos, Luang Prabang was praised universally by the guidebooks. The medieval capital of Laos, it is home to dozens and dozens of wats, or Buddhist temples. A highlight of my three days would undoubtedly be experiencing them, and marveling at the gorgeous ornamentation. My flight from Singapore to here utilized two budget Asian carriers -- NokScoot and AirAsia. There was a pretty long layover in Bangkok, but the flights went smoothly,,and my hotel's van was waiting once I'd cleared immigration. The guidebooks kind of let me down on this, I should have brought a passport-sized photo and found the paperwork for a visa on arrival to clear even quicker.

My Dream Boutique is located across the river from downtown Luang Prabang, and is an oasis of quiet. The staff is incredibly gracious and accommodating, and always greet you with a smile and "Sabadee" (Lao greeting). It was early evening when I arrived, so after unpacking, I decided to have dinner at the hotel. The hotel got rave reviews on hotels.com, and they praised the food, as well. One drawback of tropical, outdoor dining, though, are the mosquitos. They started to chew me up pretty good, and I was thankful for the double protection of the sealed, air conditioned room and graceful mosquito netting surrounding my bed. As it turned out, that was the only bad experience with mosquitos in Luang Prabang.

The footbridge that I had to cross on the way to town from my hotel which was across the river

After dinner, I decided to walk into town and find the Night Market, which was supposed to be spectacular. I didn't take the map the hotel gave me, preferring to depend on my Smartphone's map feature. The fastest way into town is across the bamboo bridge, about ten minutes walk away. Somehow, I found the stairs leading down to it in the humid, inky blackness of the night. The bridge is not quite an Indiana Jones rope bridge, but it only about one step up. It was a thrill to walk across it, hearing the river chattering just a few feet below you. During the daytime, a Lao family collects a small toll to help with its upkeep. Once on the other side, and after climbing the stairs to the street, I pulled out my phone to get my bearings. Oops. I had yet to buy a Lao SIM card, so once I'd left my hotel's wifi, the maps feature was useless.

I made a right turn, walking along the main road alongside the river. Unwittingly, I was going the long, long way. Luang Prabang is built on a peninsula created by the Mekong River and a tributary. I crossed about halfway up the peninsula, and my right turn set me on a looping course to the far end of the peninsula and back down the other side. Eventually, I realized my error, all the while marveling how much bigger this town appeared than on the map. It wasn't to be my first -- or worst -- navigational error in Luang Prabang, though. After cutting off the river road towards what looked like the center of town, I eventually found the Night Market. The gorgeous fabrics, carvings, jewelry, lamps, and other souvenirs were spread out on tarps beneath temporary cloth awnings. Each evening, vendors stake out a spot along the main road, next to the National Palace Museum. The market has essentially two rows, and stretches for about about a quarter of a mile. This would be just a scouting mission. I'd come back to shop another evening.

The oldest of the temples in Luang Prabang, Wat Visoun, built in the 1500s

After breakfast the next morning, I took the alternate way into town. This railroad, scooter, and bicycle bridge also has a separate section for pedestrians. Beneath me, the river ran a muddy brown, with the long thin boats of fishermen poling across its surface. A short walk brought me to Wat Visoun, the first temple on my list to visit. Built in the 1500s, it is the town's oldest. Inside, centuries old Buddhas lined the walls. Signs explained what each of the poses means in Buddhist myths, from the "praying for rain" to the "stop fighting" aspects. The main Buddha image was golden, and at least 20 feet high. An altar of smaller Buddhas and offerings lay at its crossed legs. Facing the temple was what is known as the watermelon stupa (for the shape of its top portion), a solid brick structure covered in weathered, gray stone facing. A stupa differs from a temple in that it is usually solid, with no inside, and contains a relic of the Buddha. They are usually bell-shaped, tapering to a point at the top. I was surprised to have to pay a fee to enter, as the temples in Singapore that I'd visited were all free. This would prove to be standard for Luang Prabang. Virtually every Wat charges a small admission fee, usually 20,000 kip (just under $3).

Buddhist deity guarding the entrance to Wat Aham

Adjacent to Wat Visoun was Wat Aham. It's whitewashed exterior is guarded by two crouching Buddhist deities, one green faced, the other red. Both leered colorfully at visitors. Inside, it was the opposite of Wat Visoun's dusty, somber feel. The walls of this temple were brightly painted with dozens of scenes from Buddhist mythology. Some colorful paintings depicted the life of the Buddha, others scenes of torture and suffering in what I assumed was the Buddhist version of Hell. The vivid colors reminded me of Caribbean paintings of town life -- especially the bright blue skies.

My next stop was in the Dara Market to obtain a SIM card for my Smartphone. I think it is upon leaving the market where my mind became turned around, as far as directions go. I was using the hotel map and navigating fine, so far. However, I proceeded to march off in the exact opposite direction I needed to go. Referring to the map function on my phone was no help, for once. It simply did not have enough landmarks or streets programmed In to orient myself. I steadily became more frustrated, and hot, in the 90+ degree humidity. Finally, I gave up and paid a tuk-tuk driver to take me back to the hotel. I needed to rest, cool off mentally and physically (a dip in the hotel pool was the cure I needed), and then set out again.

Colorful gold figures decorate the outside walls of temples in Laos

When I ventured out again, I used the bamboo bridge to head into town. My first stop was Wat Sene -- a Thai-style temple. Contrary to what my guidebook said, the main sim (temple) was closed, but the grounds were open. Wat Sene was a red and gold beauty. The stenciled golden images of warriors on the deep red walls and pillars was striking. A number of temples lined the street heading up from Wat Sene, but I hurried to one of the most impressive, Wat Xien Thong.

The carved, gilded images depict scenes from Buddhist mythology

This is a large, walled complex stretches all the way to the river bank, and contains a library, monk's quarters, drum pavilion, small chapel, and even a building to house a funeral chariot built to carry a king's body to his cremation. Of course, it also contains a gorgeous main temple or sim, decorated on the inside in striking black and gold designs. The outside was gilded, colorful, and blazing in the afternoon sun. It was easily the coolest temple I would see in Luang Prabang. Locals consider it the country's most important religious site.

Laos' temples are known for their beautiful roofs, and the graceful architecture

After relaxing with a cold beer in a breezy cafe, I was fortified to continue my travels under the hot afternoon sun. Make no mistake: Southeast Asia can be brutally hot in summer for sightseeing. I arrived at the National Museum complex -- formerly the Royal residence -- after it closed. Many sights in Laos close early, it seems. I was able to get some nice pictures, though, by climbing the slopes of Mt. Phou Si, a hill that rises up on the middle of the peninsula. I did not count the 328 steps that lead to the top, but the view from up there was spectacular. Trees blocked the view of the main town, but the surrounding countryside was laid out in full glory. Though an invigorate climb, it was well worth the effort.

The lovely view from the top of Mt. Phou Si (which you get after climbing 328 steps!)

Strangely enough, this concluded the sightseeing portion of the day. The heat, combined with my navigational mishap earlier, subtracted a lot of the sights I'd plan on cramming in on "temple day." Still, Luang Prabang did not disappoint. My first two days in Laos were living up to expectations.

Posted by world_wide_mike 08:35 Archived in Laos Comments (0)

Stormy Skies, Scenic Views

A slower paced day two & day three

storm 89 °F

One of the mirror spheres outside the Asian Civilizations Museum

My second full day in Singapore began early. I was awakened by the sound of a howling wind outside the sliding glass door to my balcony. It sounded like a typhoon blowing between the skyscrapers. I sat in my bed and listened to its banshee shriek for awhile. Then, a torrential downpour began. I opened the door and stepped out onto my balcony to watch sheets of water falling. I crawled back under the covers, hoping the storm really wasn't a typhoon, and the rains would end by morning. I woke up late in the morning, and checked outside. Rain was coming down hard enough that I postponed any sightseeing until after lunch.

Singapore has the easiest-to-use bus system in the world -- at least that's what I found

When I finally did venture out, I decided to add the local bus system to my repertoire. The front desk of the Village Hotel Katong graciously explained what bus I needed to catch to reach the Metro station -- saving me a 30-minute walk in the rain. Singapore's buses are every bit as organized and easy as the Metro, and air conditioned, too! I was headed to the Changi Chapel and Museum, and found it with no problem. Each bus stop has a name, and by taking a picture of the route sign with my smart phone, I could look at the window and follow our progress. It reminded more of a train or tram travel than a city bus line.

Entrance to the Changi Museum, which commemorates the POWs of the Japanese during WWII

Changi Museum is built on the site of a chapel that WW II POWs built for themselves after they were captured by the Japanese, following the surrender of Singapore. The museum's signs are all in English, and do a great job setting the scene of the British blundering defense of the island they considered impregnable. The attacking Japanese were outnumbered 3-1, but did have air superiority and much better equipment. All of the allied prisoners were rounded up and interned in various overcrowded and inadequate camps. Even European civilians were imprisoned and squeezed into cells, the men kept separate from the women. One of the best features of the museum's audio guide were the recorded oral histories of various prisoners. The gut wrenching account of a Chinese woman tortured for passing messages for the allies brought tears to my eyes. There are numerous letters from former prisoners or their children, spilling their feelings and telling their stories as a form of catharsis. I was disappointed that no photographs inside were allowed, but you could take photos of the reconstructed chapel outside.

Looking like something out of the Jetsons cartoon, Singapore's Marina Bay Sands Hotel

I actually took it very easy on day two, partially to let my blisters I'd worn into my soles on yesterday's death march heal. I took advantage of the supermarket in the hotel's shopping center to buy some nice, waterproof band-AIDS, which would come in handy until my foot healed up. And they were actually feeling much better the next day, when it was time to explore more of Singapore.

View from the observation deck of the Marina Bay Sands

With the sun shining again, I decided to start at the top, literally. I rode the Metro down to the Marina Bay Sands hotel. It is a futuristic looking building that I could easily see featured in an upcoming Star Wars movie. It is composed of three modern hotel towers topped by what -- for all the world -- looks like a giant hovercraft. It extends past all three towers and contains an observation deck, restaurant, infinity pool, restaurant, bar, and garden. All of Singapore is laid out beneath you as you stand atop it, 56 floors up. It was a beautiful, sunny day, and you could see for miles in every direction. Even though it was a weekend, the observation deck was not crowded. The other visitors and I wandered slowly around, enjoying the panorama, and taking pictures. One of the things that struck me was the multitude of cargo ships in the bay, moored, or waiting to dock. It looked like the movie scenes of the allied fleet at D-Day, gray ships receding into the distance. The next thing that strikes you are the towering skyscrapers. All the of them are sleek and modern, and they dwarf the tiny two to three story, more traditional buildings of Singapore's earlier history. There are numerous stadiums, including a twin pair nicknamed "The Durien" after Asia's notorious, spiky-skinned fruit. To me, they looked more like an aluminum spiky brassiere, discarded by some titanic Madona. There's even a floating field in the bay that can be used for sports or concerts. The view was amazing, and that would prove to be the theme for the day.

Singapore's harbor as seen from the Marina Bay Sands observation deck

Descending, I crossed back to the main island on the pedestrian Helix bridge. The walkway is encapsulated in a gleaming aluminum structure looks like a monstrous DNA strand. There are four observation platforms along the way, each providing wonderful views and massive selfie opportunities for strollers, their cell phones, and social media. Speaking of which, anyone who thinks the obsession with our phones is an American thing has not been to Singapore. There are just as many faces glued to miniature screens on subways, in restaurants, and even walking down crowded streets. It is a world thing, now. We are all captivated by our connection to the Internet and our friends and family. I retraced my steps from day one's night time stroll along the waterfront, this time enjoying it under blue skies. I wanted to visit the Merlion, a massive fountain of a hybrid fish-lion. It was here that I truly ran into throngs of tourists. Many of them were doing my all-time, least-favorite thing: posing so the jet of water issuing from the statue's mouth appeared in their friend's camera to fall into their cupped hands, mouth, whatever. The Singapore equivalent of "holding" up the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Bleh. I took some photos and moved on.

Very cool walking bridge in the Marina Bay area

After a brief stop to get photos of the giant, mirrored balls (think a half dozen, spherical versions of Chicago's famous bean), It was off to Chinatown. I know, it seems odd to me that a city of mostly Chinese descent would have a specified Chinatown. However, the island is on the tip of the Malay peninsula, so there is a significant population of Malaysians, Indian immigrants, British, and more. Along the way, I stopped at another Hindu temple, Sri Mariamman. Even though it is billed as Singapore's most colorful, I actually preferred the Kali temple from day one. The temple was thronged with worshippers in colorful garb, offering sacrifices and praying. The afternoon sun beating down was getting intense, so I backtracked to a pub I'd spotted on the walk here and enjoyed an ice cold water before savoring an excellent Archipelago Irish Ale. It hit the spot and fortified me to push on in the heat.

The Merlion - an iconic fountain in Singapore that people come to photographed standing beside

Next up was the five-story Buddha Tooth temple. This modern, gleaming building with its gray-green, pagoda roofs was air conditioned, airy, and spacious. Hundreds of statues from the Buddhist pantheon of every size lined the walls. Worshippers and tourists made a circuit, one lighting joss sticks and bowing in prayer while the other admired the beauty and took pictures. Coming here, I'd noticed several streets with market stalls, so I spent some time roaming them, looking for souvenirs. I did find a lapel pin of the Singapore flag for my map at home, and was intrigued by the lacquered wood screens painted with various scenes. I really liked the one with the Great Wall, and mentally made a note to keep an eye out for more like this in other shops. I was actually killing time with my shopping, waiting for the 6:55 pm Lion Dance which would be performed on the streets. From the picture, it looked like one of those cool, multi-person costumes the Chinese are famous for using in celebrations. When I headed back to get a good viewing spot, I noticed the fine print on the sign: "Cancelled today"...d'oh!

The gleaming, modern Buddha Tooth Temple, which houses a...well, I think you can figure it out!

A quick Metro hop brought me to the day's final stop, Clarke Quay -- Singapore's river walk of restaurants and bars. Boats leave regularly to cruise along the waterfront, and at night it colorfully lit up with lights. After a couple days of Asian food, I was looking forward to more choices. I ended up having shish kabob at a Middle Eastern place. I finished the day off with a Tiger beer at a cafe along the waterfront, watching the boats cruise by. Although much less packed with sights than day one's overdose, day three was a pleasant way to wrap up my first half of this trip. Tomorrow, it was off to Laos for a week. I'd be returning here again later, before I flew back home.

The Clark Quay area in Singapore where there are lots of restaurants and bars

Posted by world_wide_mike 17:04 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Singapore - So Much More Than Just Another Big City

What to do on Day 1? Why, a "Death March," of course!

sunny 94 °F

Statue of Stamford Raffles, the Brit who won the rights to build a trading base in what would become Singapore

Before I began researching it, I guessed that I would need 3-4 days to see the sights I wanted to in Singapore. I mean it is just a big city, right? There would probably be one or two museums I'd want to hit up, a few historic sights, a couple nice views, and then I'm done. Right? I'm not necessarily a big city guy. I've never wanted to live in L.A., fuggiddabout it New York, and I really only like Chicago because of its pizza! Boy, was I wrong about Singapore!

Waterscapes and tall, modern buildings are a major part of walking around Singapore

As I was compiling my list of things to do, it kept growing and growing. So many amazing temples or religious sights from a half-dozen faiths. Outstanding nature, great museums, History -- my notes kept doubling in size. I came to the realization I should have budgeted a lot more time when I purchased my plane ticket. I decided I would simply make do, and check off as much of the things I wanted to experience as I could. Those who know me realize what that means. And those who have traveled with my were probably breathing a secret sigh of relief that they wouldn't have to endure that interesting -- but potentially excruciating itinerary -- the Worldwidemike Death March. Toss in the 90+ degree Southeast Asian heat and you're talking serious potential for injury!

Singapore's lovely Perankan-style, traditional homes

A few days before I began my 30 hours and three flights to get from Columbus, Ohio, to Singapore, I had one of those moments when I thought: "Wait a minute, did I...?" The question was, since my flight arrived after midnight, did I book my first night's hotel for the correct date? Even though I technically arrived on the 23rd, I would need to reserve a room for the night of the 22nd. After more than a solid day of travel the last thing I would want to do would be to cool my heels in a hotel lobby for half a night! I checked. Nope. Booked it to start on the 23rd. Sigh. What's more, my awesome deal for the normally $200 a night Hotel Village Katong (for just over a quarter of that price!) was no longer available. Oh, they had rooms, but they'd charge their normal rate to extend my reservation a day forward. So, I ended up instead at the $50 a night Noble Hotel in the Little India neighborhood, finally checking in at 3 am.

Whimsical bronze statue of children playing along the waterfront

You'd think I'd sleep half a day, but I was awake and couldn't get back to sleep by 8 am. Checkout wasn't until noon, so I went through my list and marked what was nearby in Little India. As it turns out, today would be my Temple Day. I began at the Daoist temple, Leong San See. The smell of incense filled the air, and Daoist music played from hidden speakers. I love the look of Eastern temples. The statues, the gold, and the tiny offerings and devotions of the worshippers. There was an inner sanctuary beyond the first room, all of it gilded and colorful. My guidebook pointed out the carved wooden beams, but frankly, I would have missed them amidst the splendor.

Ceramic statues in the Daoist temple, Leong San See

Next up was a Buddhist temple I just happened to see while I was walking towards the one I'd picked out to visit next. When I peeked inside and saw the massive, brightly-painted, sitting Buddha, I had to check it out. The temple loans visitors a laminated card, which goes into great detail to explain the decorations. It was fascinating reading, and explained everything I was seeing. There were quite a few more worshippers than at the Daoist temple, and as always, I was carefully to stay out of there way and be as unobtrusive as possible. Besides the 45-foot tall statue, my favorite part was the story of the life of the Buddha told through more than 20 dioramas with painted, 2-foot tall statues. The temple even had a relic -- a piece of the tree under which the Buddha sat when he attained enlightenment. I'm sure historians would scoff, much as they do about the pieces of the "true cross" that Crusaders found 1,000 years after the crucifixion. Still, it is belief that makes a religion -- not peer-reviewed sources.

Towering seated Buddha in a Singapore temple

A Hindu temple was next, the first of two I'd visit that morning. Sri Srivinasa Perumal Temple was built in the 1850s, and features one of those towering gopurams that make Hindu temples so colorful to visit. What's a gopuram? It is a tower carved with layer upon layer of brightly-painted statues from the Hindu pantheon of gods and goddesses. This temple's tower was 60+ feet tall! and the temple was dedicated to Vishnu the Preserver -- one of the three main gods. An interesting aspect of Hinduism, which many say is the world's oldest active religion, is that all of its hundreds of deities are actually considered to be aspects of one overall God -- Brahman. The individual gods and goddesses are just avatars of how he manifests himself on our world. I explain it to my students to think of him as the giant video game player in the sky, and Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesh and the rest are just his "characters" he's created to play this game called life.

Slightly-faded statues along the roof of Sri Srivanasa Perumal temple

The coolest and most colorful Hindu temple I'd see in Singapore was my next one -- Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple. It was dedicated to the goddess Kali, who Indiana Jones gave a really bad reputation to in "The Temple of Doom." She is a somewhat gruesome goddess, usually depicted trampling or killing some unfortunate soul, and wears a necklace of skulls. I didn't see any priests pulling beating hearts from sacrificial victim's chests, but both Hindu temples I visited had active worshippers making offerings, praying, and wearing traditional garb. I loved the statues encrusting the roof and walls of the building. Kali was there, along with my favorite -- a lion-headed God roaring his ferocity. The sun shone on them brightly, and against the backdrop of the blue sky, they were an awesome sight.

The Hindu goddess Kali reigns in her intimidating glory at her temple in Singapore's Little India neighborhood

I changed gears next, with a 20-minute walk to the Muslim Malabar Jama-Ath mosque. The Malabar Muslims are from the southern Indian coast, and were some of the first of their religion to settle in Singapore. The interior was very plain, and devoid of worshippers, since it wasn't during one of the prayer times. I was actually disappointed, as there was very little decoration and the blue tiles my guidebook described were nothing compared to the exquisite, Persian-style mosques I'd seen in the Middle East. I had to cross the street to get a decent picture of the mosque, and then left soon after. Checkout time was at noon, and I hurried back to finish packing and take a taxi over to my main hotel.

Colorful statues of Hindu gods make visiting their temples a beautiful and photogenic experience

Village Hotel Katong was gorgeous, easily a four-star hotel (above what I normally stay in, but hey, when hotels.com gives you a great deal, you take it)! I'd booked the entire vacation's worth of nights through hotels.com. I really like how you can read reviews, look at the map view and compare the hotel's location to what you want to see, and make your decisions at your leisure. I unpacked, and relaxed and enjoyed the cool air conditioning. I dug out my map and guidebook and planned my afternoon sightseeing. This is where the "death march" know kicks in, for those who aren't familiar with how I travel. The closest metro station was a 30-minute walk away (tomorrow, I'd learn how to take the bus there). Along the way, I wanted to check out some of the Perankan-style homes. The Perankans are the community that grew up from Chinese immigrants who had intermarried with the Malay locals. There homes are two-story, brightly-painted homes known for the upper level terrace which can be closed off with wooden shutters. The homes are also elaborately carved with columns, animals, and sometimes bright tiles inlaid in the walls. I took lots of pictures, and would notice this style of home throughout my stay in Singapore.

Perankan homes, colorful and ornate, line many of Singapore's streets

After my circuitous route, it was after nearly an hour's worth the of walking under the bright sun and humidity before I arrived at the metro station. I had purchased an EZ-Link card from a convenience store, which you merely tap on the reader to have it automatically deduct the fare for any public transport you take in Singapore. The metro was air-conditioned and modern, with a lighted display board showing exactly where you are on that line. Announcements in English and Chinese detail each stop, along with a British-style reminder to "mind the gap." I alighted at the Raffles Place metro station, found my bearings, and headed towards the waterfront. My first stop would be the Asian Civilizations Museum, which my guidebook quite rightly raved about. I took my time wandering the three stories of exhibits. Everything was thoroughly explained in English, with pamphlets available in each room translating it into other languages. If I neglected to mention it before, English is the official language of Singapore. So, it you're looking to explore a Chinese or Asian culture, Singapore is an excellent introduction for the beginner. It is modern, efficient, friendly, and packed full of sights -- just like this museum. What's more, you are permitted to photograph the exhibits. Some of my favorites were the stone, Southeast Asian style temple carvings. I also enjoyed the intricately carved wooden boxes and furniture, and the brightly-painted porcelain. One really interesting part of the museum is the room containing the cargo hold and relics recovered from a Tang Dynasty ship that had sunk on its way to the Middle East. It was a fascinating treasure trove.

Southeast Asian carved relief in the Asian Civilizations Museum

I wandered along the waterfront for awhile, taking pictures of the massively tall skyscrapers that stretch towards the heavens from Singapore's central business district. Many had interesting or unique silhouettes, or shiny or unusual facings. I was reminded of Dubai and its intriguingly shaped modern buildings. After a fountain soda to cool off, I navigated my way to St. Andrews Cathedral -- completing "Temple Day" with Christianity's most important religious site on the island. It's ornately-carved, pure white spire rises nearly 200 feet above the ground, but still is dwarfed when you compare it to Singapore's skyscrapers.

Singapore's skyscrapers loom in the background over a downtown park

Some destinations have the iconic "thing" you have to do if you're a visitor. For Singapore, it is to head to Raffles Hotel and have a drink at the Long Bar. The Singapore Sling was invented here, and the hotel does brisk business with tourists bellying up to try one. I stuck with a pint of the local Tiger Bear, instead. I was surprised to find bags of peanuts on the bar for patrons to crack and munch on, tossing the shells onto the floor. It seemed somehow un-British to toss your refuse on the floor. I indulged, though, chiefly because I hadn't eaten all day except for two small chocolate buns that were complimentary in my morning hotel. Oh, that's another aspect of one of my death marches -- an almost ascetic, self-denial of food. I honestly think fasting can hone your senses. Plus, airlines tend to over feed their passengers, and it is also partly in attempt to right the balance that I eat little in my first day or so. The peanuts hit the spot, and I would actually go to bed that evening having eaten no meal all day.

The historic and iconic Raffles hotel in Singapore - inventor of the "Singapore Sling"

As I left Raffles, dusk was settling in on Singapore's bustling streets. I headed for the bay to get pictures of the skyscrapers lit up at night. My feet were getting sore, as I'd been walking for more hours than I cared to think about. I was rewarded with a delicious panorama of the city lit up by night. It was also my first real look at the Marina Sands Hotel, a building that should feature in a Star Wars movie. Three futuristic hotel towers are topped by a gleaming boat-like structure that is home to gardens, an infinity pool, restaurant, and of course, observation deck. I would visit it later on the trip, but it rose out of the bay like a science-fiction model, and is surrounded by similarly futuristic looking buildings. The lights of the city skyscrapers gleamed brightly, reflecting on the water. The mirror images of the buildings were sliced apart periodically by boats cutting wakes across the placid surface of the bay. I always carry a tiny, collapsible tripod with me for moments like these. I circled the half moon of the waterfront, taking pictures along the way and savoring the view.

Singapore's harbor lit up at night like a Christmas tree

Finally, it was time to head back to the hotel. I limped a bit, having foolishly warn my Teva sandals rather than walking shoes. It would turn out that I had developed and torn a blister on my left foot. After the uncomfortable half an hour walk from the metro station, I picked up a package of Band-AIds to wear for the next few days. Having a shoppingi center -- including a supermarket -- in your hotel is a handy thing. After a refreshing shower, I thankfully settled into bed and slept away the rigors of one of my signature death marches.

Posted by world_wide_mike 21:57 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

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