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Singapore and Merlions

So after much prevaricating, I have actually begun my world travels! I use 'world' in a very loose sense, in that I am actually not visiting that many places - simply 'more than one'. And now I'm going to use the power of the internet to inflict stories of my travels on everyone. Well, that, and use this journal as something of my personal travelogue. Considering I have already managed to lose my hat (not a metaphor for sanity, an actual physical hat), this is definitely one of those cases where things really need to be backed up on the net.

So, Singapore! My first stop on my tour. I flew Etihad for this leg because it was inexplicably the cheapest, and I say inexplicably because damn, not only was all the food and drink both frequent and free but each seat had in front of it a personal entertainment unit loaded up with games, tv shows, and heaps and heaps of movies (right up until the most recent DVD releases like Pacific Rim and Iron Man 3) and even came with power points so you could charge your various devices. I didn't want to leave the plane, guys. The plane had everything I needed.

Okay enough on that.  Despite being unable to find the entrance to my hotel (so well concealed!) the hotel itself was pretty amazing, it was an old refurbished Chinese theatre, and I tragically couldn't take a good photo because red lanterns do not make for good photography lighting (at least not with my little happy snapper). Still, everything looked so very cool that I didn't even care that my knees touched the wall when sitting on the toilet.


The beds were also super firm but this is something I must adjust to, because this is the norm in Asia.

First day I went out to Jurong Bird Park! It had been recommended to me by a variety of people and was well worth the trip out. Singapore, it turns out, does zoos very well in general, they are very oriented around conservation and ensuring the animals have as appropriate a habitat as is practical, unlike many other zoos which are just animals in a cage.


Also their High Flyers show (which was very cool) used the Fairy Tail soundtrack as its score! I am always totally jazzed when I hear anime osts in unexpected places, even though the cynical part of me suspects someone used it because it's less well-known and thus easier to avoid paying the appropriate royalties.


This jerk didn't want to move. Possibly an escape ploy.

There are more photos but my photos are a giant mess currently so I'm just going to cherry-pick whatever's convenient and not too blurry.

Jurong took up a good chunk of the day, so in the remaining hours of the afternoon I headed over to the Promenade for some world-class Ferris Wheel action.


On the way there I came across this weirdly dystopic scene, where the planet had begun to prematurely reclaim a stretch of highway.


And my destination! The Singapore Flyer! The world's tallest Observation Wheel. As a bit of a Ferris Wheel fanatic, this was a treat like you would not believe. Although I did wish I went at night to see it all lit up! That would have surely been even better.

Regardless, I took lots of Ferris Wheel porn. Honestly probably more pictures of the Singapore Flyer than of the view! XD


This was where I began to notice the phenomenon of absolutely every tourist in Singapore asking me to take their photo for them. Being obviously a tourist as well as solo as well as being relatively non-threatening meant I was apparently everyone's first choice for stand-in photographer. One group of Japanese girls singled me out and waved me over from damn near fifty metres away! I nearly performed epic evasion manoeuvres until I realised what they wanted. XD

It also made me a prime target for the usual scams (people trying to sell you stuff or asking for money with some kind of sob story) and crazies - one weird older lady at Jurong Point was trying to pick a fight about my eyes or something, I still have no idea, but after the first day I put on my Valley blinkers and didn't have any more problems.

That took me until evening, when I got to meet up with beanie_nup for the first time in aaaages and we had chicken rice and rainbow cake and discussed Japan holidays past and future in glorious detail. <3


The next day I headed out to Sentosa Island! It's kind of one giant resort island. I am a massive cheapskate so I walked across the boardwalk to it from Vivocity.


And was soon confronted with a massive Merlion. Remember this, as it will be relevant later.

My goal here was the Butterfly and Insect Kingdom. It was small but magical. I could have spent hours just in the butterfly aviary.



Then I came to the insect part and started to realise that I had discovered the Animal Crossing museum in real life!


These are the display cases, but seriously, they had tarantulas and scorpions and orchid mantises and every stag beetle you can imagine. Their insect encyclopaedia was at least a silver badge, if not gold!

/have been playing too many video games, clearly.


Then went 'hiking' in some of the more rugged parts of Sentosa. I say 'hiking' because it was a twenty minute or so trail that had emergency beacons and heaps of warning signs about being properly equipped all along it despite being mostly flat and oh yeah, twenty minutes long. XD Still, it was a nice wander through some comparatively untamed greenery.

Then I went to Universal Studios.


I didn't plan on going to Universal Studios! I was lured in with their awesome spinning globe and the soundtrack to E.T.  I am apparently easily sold by musical backgrounds.

I kind of regret it actually since the ticket price was quite high and although I enjoyed it, I really didn't get my money's worth out of it. Madagascar, Sesame Street, Shrek, Transformers... all kind of properties I'm not super interested in these days?  And their Monster Rock stage show was about the lamest thing everrrr.


That said this Bumblebee cosplay was pretty neat! Errr, can we still call this cosplay?


And I did absolutely love everything in The Lost World!  Jurassic Park is still awesome after all this time.


Plus, space dots ice-cream! I adore this stuff far too much for what it is,

Then it was time to wander back to Vivocity to meet up with beanie_nup again~


This sculpture was pretty.


We went to Haagen-Dazs cafe! Because Australia does not yet have Haagen-Dazs for some reason.  We made everyone jealous. It was great. Missing you already Beans!


Wednesday I went to the National Orchid Garden in the Botanical Gardens. This turned out to be a bit of a highlight for me, as in my youth I had a passing fascination with orchids and attempted to grow several, with varying results (Queensland is not terrible for growing orchids but not nearly as suited as somewhere equatorial like Singapore).

The gardens were just stunning, though. I took about a bazillion photos.




(Not actually an orchid, just looked cool).





I used to grow these! A similar-looking species (though more yellow) also grew on our frangipani tree without any intervention from me which made my former achievement a lot less impressive.



I'll restrain myself to that in order to spare the hotel bandwidth.


Then in the afternoon it was to the River Safari!

Aside from Jurong Bird Park, this was my other favourite out of the various wildlife sanctuaries. It had a decent aquarium, and it was fairly quiet because half of the exhibits weren't open yet. This also came with a reduced ticket price, booyeah.


Wistful red panda.


And what I came here for: GOAL ACHIEVED.

I went through Singapore Zoo and on the Night Safari too, it was neat (obviously no photos of the latter because darkness) although my enjoyment of those were possibly hampered by getting caught in a rainstorm.

Then went back to Chinatown and had more amazing famous chicken rice and crashed into bed.

On the Thursday thesundaywriter was nice enough to meet up with me!

We started off in Singapura, yet another of Orchard Road's many many mega-malls (I swear it was like a mega mall was parked on top of each and every MRT station), and had delicious lunch and beverages of which I yet again neglected to take a picture of (I have made a poor food tourist so far).

We went to Gardens by the Bay, which I had seen from the Singapore Flyer and very much wanted to check out.


(Also took a bunch of photos here, those Skytrees were so epiiiic. thesundaywriter is most gracious and very kindly indulged my whims to go on the Skywalk.)


It's efficient, I'll give them that.

Once we grew tired of walking around in the midday heat, we headed over to see the Merlion! The actual one, since the big giant replica pictured earlier had piqued my interest. And saw some pretty cool scenery along the way.


Durian building.


Marina Bay Sands has a honest-to-goodness ship on top of it. I couldn't decide if this was really cool or really stupid.

Then the Merlion! But wait!


There was a chibi-Merlion too! Because one replica is not enough.


Then at last the original in all of its glory~!


Walking back to the MRT came across this epic scene, feels straight out of a video game.


We also stopped for ice-cream sandwiches! They were only about a dollar and the vendor literally chops off a slab of ice-cream and wraps it in a piece of bread. It was glorious fun.

We wandered over to Orchard Road after that to admire all the lights, which my camera refused to take a good picture of and where we both (although mostly me) failed at selfies, and where I also vainly resisted buying an armload of things from Kinokuniya. Books are so heavy! That was all that held me back. o__o <3 Kino.


And I grew increasingly amazed at Singapore's apparent obsession with selling winter wear despite the fact that it is the height of summer all year round. I mean, even Queensland stores adjust their catalogue to suit our comparatively mild winter - it's really most countries' version of autumn wear. Not Singapore! 'We're going to pretend it's snowing even if it kills us.' XD

And that more or less wraps up Singapore! I had a blast overall, ticked a couple of things off the bucket list, and got to catch up with some friends besides. Great success!  Thanks for escorting me around Jac! Never would have found the Merlion on my own.

Then it was off the airport on the last day (although I did walk around Chinatown for about an hour to buy cheap souvenirs for family.  Singapore's Chinatown makes all other Chinatowns look half-assed.)  Changi Airport, though, oh man. I was quite early for my flight and never so glad, it is the best airport ever. There are free massage chairs, free internet kiosks, a LAN gaming lounge and a walk-in theatre and a sunflower garden and I bet people miss their flights because they're having too much fun waiting. I can only hope that the rest of my airport experiences are so smooth here on in. Fingers crossed!


( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 1st, 2013 04:58 pm (UTC)
I'd glad you enjoyed your stay, I had lots of fun, glad we went up the Skywalk, wish it were a longer bridge though! It was nice I actually had that day off as everything friends come down I'm like only free for a quick meal. And yes, our main airport and Chinatown are pretty awesome compared to others even though I don't travel to those places much. Have a blast for the rest of your trip!
Dec. 3rd, 2013 08:20 am (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it too! Ahaha I was worried I might have just been dragging you along when you had other important things to do. Thanks again for coming out~!
Dec. 1st, 2013 05:56 pm (UTC)
I love travel-photo posts! This was fun to read, since I have never been to that part of the world and probably won't get there. I'm looking forward to your next trip.
Dec. 3rd, 2013 08:20 am (UTC)
That's good because there will be lots more to come! <3
Dec. 1st, 2013 06:44 pm (UTC)
'We're going to pretend it's snowing even if it kills us.'

Best thing I read today XD
Dec. 3rd, 2013 08:21 am (UTC)
It was downright maddening, imagine if you needed clothes during the 'winter' season!
Dec. 1st, 2013 10:13 pm (UTC)
Wooooow, your trip sounds spectacular so far! Thanks for sharing~ I will live vicariously through you for the next little while, haha.
Dec. 3rd, 2013 08:22 am (UTC)
Haha, you're welcome, thanks for reading!
Dec. 2nd, 2013 07:39 am (UTC)
Your planthugged!bridge is totally straight from Midgar for your enjoyment ;) You should use it for fic inspiration. Or something. Or maybe not because Midgar that many years later means most everyone has joined the Lifestream.

I've been on the London Eye...how much bigger is the Flyer? *is too lazy to use the internet to look it up*

Loving the pics. All those orchids. Will have to try to remember to share them with mum on her next visit. You're making me want to go to Singapore now too. Can't wait to see more pics when you next update. Have fun!

Dec. 3rd, 2013 08:26 am (UTC)
That was completely my first thought too - 'Midgar 500 years from now!' Now that you mention it I've been itching to write 500 years later fic for a while...

I would like to go on the London Eye one day too~ London Eye is 135m, Singapore Flyer is 165. So thirty metres taller. (Although London Eye is still the winner in terms cantilevered wheels.)

It's pretty cheap to get to Singapore in terms of flights in the off-season, you should definitely go one day!
Dec. 7th, 2013 11:11 am (UTC)
Doooo iiiit! You know we will all read it and love you to bit for writing it :D Should I be feeling bad for Cloud already? Poor bastard would likely still be alive with all Hojo has done to him.

So not much of a difference but enough to count *grin* When you do get on it I hope you have a lovely clear day like I did. Was great.

Hmm maybe one day. When I have peoples to go with because I'm too much of a wuss to go alone.

Also happy birthday. Hope you've had a great day <3
Dec. 7th, 2013 12:15 pm (UTC)
Also teefury.com currently has a Cloud shirt. I think it is shiny :D
Dec. 3rd, 2013 01:20 am (UTC)
oh my gooodd that cake oh my goooddd those flowers oh my goddddd that looks beautifull im glad you're enjoying youself!!!
Dec. 3rd, 2013 08:26 am (UTC)
<3 Thanks! It's been a blast so far.
Dec. 4th, 2013 09:51 am (UTC)
That really looks amazing!
Dec. 5th, 2013 12:29 pm (UTC)
It is even better than the pictures suggest.
Dec. 4th, 2013 09:02 pm (UTC)
Uwaaaaaaaaaaaaa *Q* //stary eyed staring

Oh my goodness, those places look gorgeous! Yeesh, this makes me want to ditch my university exams and hop on the next plane to Singapore.

Aaaa all those HQ photos, not a story update but a pretty good substitute! Hope to see a lot more photos! <3

//WHEEZE worst time to get sick ever //crawls back to books
Dec. 5th, 2013 12:31 pm (UTC)
Good luck with exams! And get well soon!

Hopefully a story update next week, sorry~
Dec. 5th, 2013 03:00 am (UTC)
Saw that picture below /have been playing too many video games, clearly., could only think, "Hey, is that Kingdom Hearts?"

So yeah. Clearly that applies to both of us.

Come to Japan already Siiiiiin! BTW, do you have any plans for Tuesday afternoon? =P
Dec. 5th, 2013 12:28 pm (UTC)
Video games make so many scenes more interesting. Rolling fog ruined the view? But it's Silent Hill! Bugs and flowers? Oh hey I saw these in Animal Crossing!

I've landed in Japan! Catching up with a variety of people over the weekend, and the Ghibli museum tomorrow. But Tuesday the 10th has no plans yet, did you have something in mind? :)
Dec. 5th, 2013 10:31 pm (UTC)
Welcome then! I'm so excited. Last time we were in Capcom we got personalized voices and names, it was awesome!

I was thinking about coffee/tea/whatever after work on Tuesday. You seemed interested in Artnia too, I think... ;)
Dec. 5th, 2013 11:54 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Sure, sounds awesome, name a time and place to meet up. :)
Dec. 7th, 2013 09:56 am (UTC)
Hmmm... 17.30 at Shinjuku sanchome on Tuesday? If that works for you I'll be PMing some more details ;)
Dec. 7th, 2013 12:50 pm (UTC)
That works, I'm in. :)
Dec. 5th, 2013 02:14 pm (UTC)
Ahhh, Singapore ^^. It looks like you had a wonderful trip =D. How long were you there for? In Japan now =O?! How long is this trip and which countries are you covering?

I stayed with one of my high school friends there for about a month end of 2007 in Toa Payoh and I got quite comfortable and used to it there. The little things like the vines growing on walls and trees growing from trees and crazy things like that were really memorable. They have such cool buildings there and I'm so jealous at how boring Australia is.

Did you pass by the Supreme Court building?


I mean damn, if that's not a spaceship, I don't know what is!

Have fun!
Dec. 6th, 2013 12:13 am (UTC)
I didn't see that one! Bummer, it looks epic. I was only there for about a week.

My trip is a little open-ended so not sure how long yet! But unlikely I'll be back in Aus before March. Whenever I run out of money. Going to spend a good chunk of time in Japan.
Dec. 12th, 2013 03:53 am (UTC)
Wow! That's a nice plan xD. I guess your contract finished and you wanted to have some fun?
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )