Saturday, March 12, 2016

Singapore again

The train trip from Butterworth to Johore Bahru was comfortable enough but very long. I made it to the kiosk just as the grumpy attendant closed up nid-afternoon, so survival rations consisted of a tiny bag of cashews and one packet of potato crisps. Lovely spicy treats made by Karaikudi, but not enough to fuel a whole day. It was still dark when I left Chulia Mansion to walk to the ferry terminal and it was 11.00 pm when I arrived at JB. By which time I had a such a headache food was the last thing on my mind (I think the caffeine habit was making itself known).

A long wait in the middle of nowhere - probably so the driver could go for makan. Or did I just have makan on my mind?

Nothing a cup of tea and a mee soup the next morning didn't fix. Me and a million commuters crammed into buses for the short trip over the causeway from Malaysia to Singapore.

 The MRT highlights the differences between the two countries, with it's air conditioned platforms, plentiful signs and maps, an efficient ticketing system and escalators that actually function.
More space to observe people too. Now why would a lad go through the pain of having this done to his leg?

And for seniors there's a special button that makes the green man stay around longer so we can shuffle across safely. That's Singapore for you.
To be fair, I have to add that the buses in Penang go up and down. They crouch down to let the elderly embark and then with a sigh, rise back up to drive away. 

I met up with Helen for a tour at the Peranakan Museum, then she went off to do a walking food tour of Chinatown. I walked past Treasury and Parliament to the Asian Civilisations Museum. Lots of memories of this part of Singapore, which is just so impressive these days, though I remember what it was like before the river and quays were cleaned up and the bumboats were removed.

Highlights at the ACM

  • the Tang Shipwreck display
  • the Southeast Asian collections
  • section on ancient religions.

A huge haul of 9th century Chinese ceramics and other artifacts were recovered from a wreck found off the coast of Sumatra in 1998. Many of the ceramics are in perfect condition, and they are all very beautiful.
Changsha Bowls

This buddha, protected by a naga, is from Cambodia and was made in the 11th century.

And this is Quan Am, an 18th century Vietnamese representation of the same Goddess of Mercy as watches over Penang from her pedestal on the hill in the Kek Lok Si temple complex. 

A bronze statue by the river. This was a common sight I remember from my
very first visit to Singapore when I arrived by ship. 

So different today.

Yes, we have to photograph the funny signs

Let's just hope that these heritage buildings can remain.

I got lost walking to Chinatown but had a great time wandering.
Finished up at Gardens by the Bay for part of the light show. 

That rooftop pool and garden just amazes me every time I see it. And I'll just say it once, but (Wow) - laksa. 

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