Taking the Aeroliner bus from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore was a no-brainer. A ride to the airport would take at least an hour plus additional two hours international departure requirement prior to departure.
The Aeroliner bus pickup station was two blocks away from my plumbing-challenged Kuala Lumpur hotel (see Ahhh … Kuala Lumpur blog) with a pleasant waiting room where hot tea or coffee were served. Boarding was on time and luggage carefully stowed at the underbelly of the bus. Online purchase gave one an option for seating. The double decker bus was clean, wi-fi enabled, had a row of single seats to one side and seating for groups of three on the other side. The reclinable seats were very comfortable, each with a television monitor and charging station for e-devices. Breakfast/lunch was served by an onboard attendant and a market stop along the way for snacks. In no time at all the bus was at the maritime harbour in Singapore and a short taxi ride brought me to the hotel in Singapore Marina Centre . For US$30 I wonder why this can’t be done in New York, as in New York City to Boston?
Tricia, a friendship born from the camaraderie in Le Marathon du Medoc several years back took the time and trouble to acclimate us to Singapore, having just returned from a business trip to Sochi for the Winter Olympics.
Emily, a friend from way back in college, started the trip for a College Boarders’ Reunion in Manila from France to Singapore where we met up.
View of the Skypark from our hotel room. The Marina Bay Sands Resort building incorporates an infinity pool, luxury shops, restaurants and is one of the many contrived tourist attraction in Singapore.
My impression of Singapore is a mini sanitized, orderly version of Manhattan. Cars look pristine and in the just-off-the showroom state. A guide explained that it is extremely expensive to own a car in Singapore. For starters, a Certificate of Entitlement (COE) must be obtained through a bidding process prior to purchasing a car. This process is limited to certain dates of the month and a COE is only good for ten years. Having the COE is just the start of the money trail of fees and taxes. Not cheap!
Littering and sale of chewing gum are against the law and the streets are kept clean. Failure to flush after using a public toilet is also punishable. Fines can be imposed as punishment, or community service, jail time or worse — caning!
From the enticing food and fruit stalls in the mall, on the sidewalks, and numerous marketplaces, it would appear that no one goes hungry in Singapore. The homeless is not an issue in Singapore as everyone has a roof over their head.
Touted as the king of fruits, the Durian has a distinct thorn covered husk, an odor that penetrates through the husk, and a creamy taste appreciated by some and strongly disdained by the uninitiate. The fruit has been banned in most hotels to avoid complaints on the odor and refused by major airlines. Lately, the american foodie shows have this fruit as one of the secret ingredients the contestants have to deal with.
With imagination, the durian fruit can be transformed into various edible, tasty food — shaved ice durian, and mango and sago dessert, shrimp spring rolls, etc.
Mangosteen fruit, if the durian is the king of fruits, the mangosteen is considered the queen of fruits. Low in calories, has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant benefits, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal properties and the creamy fruit is delicious.
The buffet breakfast offered by the hotel was a western and asian smorgasbord feast! All the food dreamt of the night before. Buffet dinner was a surfeit of creations.
SINGAPORE BOTANIC GARDEN
A slow meandering walk through this 183 acre garden would take weeks, and I only had hours. So I limited myself to what I love best — Orchids. Row upon row of beautiful blooms.
Unusual spots and creative plantings —
Art in the garden.
Singapore, good for a visit, or a permanent stay as an expat as the highest income tax that can be imposed is 20%.