10.06.2007 - 17.06.2007
We were in Singapore a few days early as we were doing a cruise on the "Super-Star Gemini," calling in at ports along the Straits of Malacca. This gave us some time to see the sights of Singapore.
Singapore is hot and humid, in places were water misting sprays that helped to keep you cool
One of the most pleasant sites we visited, was the Jurong Bird Park, set in tropical surroundings where I found lots of birds I had never seen before. The Bird show is not to be missed as the birds are clever and great fun to watch. The park was clean and well run, one of the best I have been to, in-fact, I have returned on another visit to Singapore. By going here, I was able to see the birds found in Singapore and surrounds, including many different species of Hornbills.
Fort Canning Park is a large, green area, where Fort Canning is located, established in 1859 as an Arms store, Barracks and Hospital. it's situated high on a hill overlooking the city.
At the entrance are Gothic Gates from 1846, walking through these lead me into the cemetery area. This pleasant area was once a burial ground which was used until the end of 1822. Instead of see tombstones, they have all been moved and embedded in the wall. 1821 is the oldest Tombstone [ John C. Collingwood of the ship 'Susan], other prominent people are buried here alongside early pioneers including Chinese Christians. The gravestones and memorials were imported from Calcutta, India.
This historical cemetery took me back in time, and made me realize that many people died young in early Singapore because of disease. Now, Singapore is nearly sterile, it is so clean!
As I climbed the many, many steps to Raffles terrace, there were more walls of carvings. I don't know their history, I wish I did, they were lovely and looked to tell a story.
I walked beside the river and saw some lovely bronze sculptures named the "People of the River sculptures, ' which tell the history of the people & the lifestyles of early inhabitants along the river.
A fun sculpture is located near the Cavenagh Bridge, showing five boys happily jumping into the river, a common scene in the old days.
Nearby is another which looks like merchants negotiating a deal and the coolies busy loading goods onto a bullock cart. There is signage with information about each sculpture.
We saw Bum Boats and did a cruise on one of them along the Singapore river, not very comfortable but nice to see sights from the water.
From the water, we were able to get a close up view of the Merlion, the symbol of Singapore, a half lion, half fish statue - strong and lithe. Its lion head relates to a fabled beast that once roamed the ancient island state, and its fish body symbolizes Singapore's origin as a prosperous seaport.
Well, the day had come and it was time to head to the Cruise Terminal.
We had cruised before, only this time, it was a much smaller ship than on previous cruise ships. Our experience began by standing in a very long queue just to book in, then it was another half hour for luggage, and another half hour to get onto the ship. As our first experience with a small ship, we were not impressed!
It was night when we sailed out of Singapore, a toot of the horn and we were on our way to the sounds of "Sail Away" being played by the band. This was an experience not to be missed. There were hundreds of ships in the harbour, oil rigs and good views of Singapore, islands and to top it off, a lovely sunset. What a romantic way to start our cruise!