Carelbi in Singapore September 2007 and February 2009

Thu 12 Feb 2009 15:58

                                    CARELBI IN SINGAPORE October 2007



A bustling street in Chinatown where the market stalls crowd in front of the original shops. You can buy just about anything there.



We spent a morning walking the Singapore Quays where, once upon a time, the old sailing boats would tie up with their cargoes of tea, spices, silks and goods from Europe and the Far East. The modern city celebrates its varied past with groups of beautiful life-size bronze statues depicting scenes of everyday life throughout their history.







We took a ride on a bum-boat along the river. That amazing building below is Singapore's theatre and concert complex, known affectionately to its citizens as the "Durian". A durian is a large nobbly fruit much loved by the peoples of the Far East; I personally think it smells like a strong gas leak, and hotels have been known to put up signs reading "No dogs or durians!"






A visit to the Haw Pah Villa is an absolute must. It is a typical Chinese merchant's house of the 19th century and was owned by the two brothers who invented Tiger Balm, still a major best seller for aches, pains, sniffles and just about anything you might have wrong with you today. The gardens have been turned into a show-piece of Chinese legends and history.




The cruising life does not offer the body much exercise,and Singapore was much too hot and humid to do much walking.  The climate is really its only drawback as a place to live. I spent a good hour a day using my Aqua belt and running in the Raffles Marina swimming pool, particularly in the early morning.














We decided to leave Carelbi in Singapore at Raffles Marina, knowing that we had a good friend called Hung Tatt (HT) who could keep an eye on her from time to time while we returned to France for Christmas. HT, and his lovely wife, Pauline were great hosts and  we loved Singapore. Good public transport, clean modern city, wonderful food and superb museums! Chris and HT are looking at a model of the city, which, although it houses around 20 million people in the tiny island space available, has a spacious feel with plenty of parks and wide streets.


Sir Stamford Raffles, the original big daddy of Singapore
Above you can see peasants bringing produce from the countryside while merchants haggle over the price, while, on the left you can see the old-style money changers, and a modern forex trader.

In this group above, merchants are bartering while my favourite scene is this gaggle of little boys jumping into the water; their joie de vivre is infectious and one really wants to jump in and join them!

The Chinese love bright colours and this is one of the bridges leading through to Chinatown. The "Mer-lion" is another example of the Singaporean sense of humour, welcoming visitors entering the quays from the harbour.
The imposing entrance to Haw Pah Villa.
Our favourite show item was this wonderful old Rolls Royce which the "marketing" brother had converted into a tiger and in which he toured around selling his balm to all and sundry. It was most effective and fortunes were made!
HT's wife, Pauline, ran a crèche for small pre-school children, which I visited. It was a really happy place.
We really enjoyed our time in Singapore and recommend it as a fascinating place to visit, whatever one's interests. We also visited the History Museum, the Asian Culture Museum and the Open Air Zoo, which are as good as any in Europe. We also hardly ever cooked a meal because the food was so cheap and varied and the restaurants such fun to check out. Thanks to the far-sighted policies of its first Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, it is the most modern, clean, crime-free and pleasant cities we have visited.