Sunday, 13 April 2014

Singapore Streetscapes

A last minute change in travel plans landed us in Singapore instead of Bangkok.  We were originally quite conflicted about giving up exotic Thailand for (from what we heard) "sterile" Singapore.  But we were pleasantly surprised with what we saw on our three days in the bustling but orderly city.  We bypassed all the designer malls and glitzy theme parks but did a lot of walking, taking public transit to get around the city.  We were totally impressed by the mass transit system, its slickness and user-friendliness were things that North American cities had a lot to catch up on (wait till we get to Hong Kong!).  All in all, we felt it would be a nice city to live in, ideology aside.

One of the first streetscapes that greeted us was the reminder that Chinese New Year was just past - year of the horse decorations were still up in Chinatown and elsewhere.  and the busy night market near Chinatown gave us the sense of a vibrant city with a bustling night life.

The colourful Indian temple in Chinatown lit up at night

Also near Chinatown, a green building with living balconies

Colourful Clarke Quay 

More colours  along the same theme in what used to be the old Hill Street Police Station near  Clarke Quay and again echoed in apartment buildings in other parts of town

The gracious old Raffles Hotel with its colonial arcades and courtyards 

St. Andrew's Anglican Cathedral - what I found most amazing were the individually decorated footstools for kneeling in each pew - great naming opportunities and creative outlet

Now if we had had more time, we would have visited this extraordinary looking structure - Marina Bay Sands resort near the waterfront,  reputedly the most expensive building in the world.

The rather staid parliament building - in stark contrast is Little India, a few subway stations away.  Below is Arab street where every shop is a silk or sari shop.

The best mint lime juice I ever tasted in a Lebanese restaraunt on Bussorah Street

Masjid Abdul Gaffoor Mosque in Little India as seen from Bussorah Street

Compared to Little India, even Chinatown is a tat too tidy!

Thian Hock Keng Temple - the oldest Hokkien temple in Singapore (1839) is quite elaborate 

Exhausted at the end of a long walking day, we were charmed by this lanterned walkway of the Thong Chai Medical Institution which provides free medical consultation in traditional Chinese medicine to the public - wow!