Sunday, April 06, 2008

Singapore History Museum

Once I got over the fact that I hadn't slept much I ventured out for the day. First I went to the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd..... (Dean, tell Joseph I thought of him there!) I had forgotten how impressed I was last time by the really strong choir. Fans were going full bore in there the whole time, and they had this wonderful way of opening up the windows to get a bit of breeze through.
Then map in hand, I actually managed without too many wrong direction turns to find the Singapore History Museum, which was still being renovated last time I was here. They have done absolutely amazing things with the building. They have added on a huge extension out the back, with a modern link between the two bits, and architecturally it is all harmonious. I think it is amazing.
I arrived just as a free guided tour was leaving and I joined a small, very international group for it. What was best was that the guide was a 'local', well able to put a local slant on all she told us about the history. She was a volunteer, and this was her hobby to 'de-stress' from work. Seems like quite a busy way to spend time on Sunday morning to me!
After the tour I walked back in the heat... very warm by now, to the corner of Bencoolen and Bras Basah. Those are names I remember from the accommodation place, and 'eggs for breakfast' place, that Shona and I hung out in all those years ago. Names may be the same, but the streets have totally changed. Our sleeping building gave way to the wrecker's ball many years ago it would seem, and flash modern buildings are there now. But despite any sadness at the loss of old character, I would have to say that the food court on the corner was great, and it was easy to find something I liked.
I returned to the museum after lunch to see more of some of the exhibits, and wore their audio-guide. By the time I came out, the sky had threatening black bits, and I saw some fork lightning jump out of the sky. Fortunately it never came to anything before I got to the MRT stop, and I managed to get back to the hostel as well before any rain hit.
I have showered off all the sweat, and am now looking forward to my evening at Night Safari. But I can't close without sharing something from Auckland Airport that I forgot. The toilets in the gate lounge 'talk to you'. I am not sure what all the non-English speakers make of it - but it is totally bizarre in English. As you leave, the toilet says something like: "Please leave the door slightly open when you leave. Thank you. Please come again. " I mean..... I ask you..... which man dreamed this up!!!


  1. Please forgive any derision you may detect in my use of the word 'man' in that last sentence. After all I am jetlagged. And right now my body is ready for a sleep!

  2. I think you are very brave negotiating these Asian cities. I don't even leave the airport in whilst in transit!

  3. Was that derision I detected in your tone maalie??!!
    Singapore's public transport is very well organised, and it is a very safe place for a woman on her own even at night. And this woman is now going to bed and is hoping to sleep longer than last night!

  4. No not derision, just cowardice (on my part!). I wish I had the nerve to go off into a big city like that. I usually just want to get on...

  5. I once made a direct flight to NZ from London, 29 hours with stopovers, and I decided never again. Hence a stopover somewhere like Singapore or Bangkok. Still have 13 and a half hours left to fly to Paris.

  6. maalie
    my hometown Singapore is in Asia but is not an "Asian" city, it has extremely well organised tourist facilities, without the touristy prices or rip-offs. It is one of the safest city in the world and crime is not tolerated, English is widely used and spoken. An efficient public transport system, clean and free toilet, but ... drug smugglers are hanged, it is also know as a "fine" city as every infringement carries a "fine".

    Grandpa Joe

  7. Yes, maalie, I used the very efficient public transport system to get to Jurong Bird park with ease today. I took the MRT - like the underground but it comes above ground outside the centre city - and it is very clean and nice to ride in. Then there was a short bus transfer right outside the end of the MRT line to the park. Bus was frequent and easy to find outside the MRT station.

  8. After reading your comments, maalie, I forgot to mention to you that Singapore Airport arranges a free tourist tour from the airport to most places mentioned by kiwinomad if your stop-over is more than 6 hours. You will be taken around by a dedicated airconditioned bus with English speaking conductor/driver, allowed to disembark to see the sights, entrance fees are exempt.

    The bus/coach returns you back at the airport - there is no check-in or checkout as long as you hold a boarding pass.

    Try it next time. Only in Singapore though.

    Grandpa Joe

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