Category: ‘Singapore’

Photos from Singapore

May 12, 2009 Posted by suefairview

Sean recently gave me a scanner and I am just a scanner crazy gal! Here are some photos from my trip in 1997 to Singapore.

Below: This me in Nirvana. SHOPPING FOR JADE! The only issue is that I was not fabulously wealthy. But these lovely ladies were having a ball negotiating with me. I bought the two necklaces on the wall (left) and then showed them to a Malayan colleague (I was there to work, cough) who told me I got a really great deal, so I went back again and bought more!!!

I tried on so many bangles that my hands and wrist hurt! They had a lavender one that I was in love with, but it cost too much!!! But I did buy a bangle for my twin sister. It was mostly white with a dark red band and some bright green cloudy lines.

Below is a photo of me in the Chinese / Japanese Gardens Bonsai section. It was taken by a Japanese woman tourist who was there with her young son.

Here is a “small” sidewalk hazard that I saw in Holland Village. A chasm just opened up in the middle of the sidewalk, but never fear, there was a handy concrete tie that nimble pedestrians could step over to avoid falling into the bottomless pit!

Really!!! Could you imagine seeing this in the US??? Could you imagine the lawsuits??? I don’t recommend that people dependent on wheelchairs visit Singapore, as in general things were not handicapped compliant at all that I could see.

If you want to read about the rest of my Singaporean adventure, just click on the label “Singapore” and they will all appear. Magic!

Singapore, Addendum

April 24, 2008 Posted by suefairview

I just had the opportunity to scan in some photos of myself during my trip to Singapore in 1997 and thought I would add them to the blog. If you would like to read about the rest of my trip, just click on the label “Singapore”.

In the first photo, I am at the Hong Won Jade Co. with the lovely lady proprietors from whom I purchased all of the jade on my trip. Click to enlarge photo. I dealt mainly with the younger woman on the left. The older woman in the flowered blouse was the one who got so upset with my bargaining. The two necklaces hanging on the wall are the ones I ended up buying. So many bangles to try on, I’d better get busy!

Here I am at the Chinese-Japanese Gardens Bonsai Garden. I really enjoyed traveling to Singapore even though I was by myself and wouldn’t hesitate to go again.

Singapore, Finale

April 12, 2006 Posted by fairviewsue

So, there I was on the MRT, feeling kind of faint, with my water bottle in my lap, when I noticed that people were giving me looks. Then, it dawned on me that if I drank on the MRT I would be breaking the law in Singapore. Ouch! I put the water bottle away. I listened to the conversations of the nearby neatly dressed students. They were speaking in English, with very little accent about what colleges they would attend in the fall and what careers their majors would lead to. That seemed a bit different from what their counterparts in the US would be discussing at this point in their lives: prom, girls, boys, drugs, music, sports, bitch about school, etc.

We arrived at my station and I walked on to Little India. Once again, I could smell the spices before I got there. I went into the Gold Smiths of Little India and asked to see some of their 22 carat gold post earrings (the earrings pictured are very common). I focused in on the ones that were about 15 millimeters in diameter and tried to decide which I liked best. While I was doing that I was served some fruit juice. I asked the young clerk why the gold prices were higher here than in Chinatown and he replied that all of the pieces were hand made. So, I sat there trying to decide and sipping my drink and suddenly he lowered the price. I was thinking, but I am not waiting in order to bargain, so why did he lower it? But, then I thought I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, so I didn’t look up. The price kept getting lower, until he was jumping up and down saying that he wouldn’t make any money if he went lower, so I bought the pair for US$62. The way I see it, right now in the US they would go for about a grand.

I had some very nice dim sum at a Chinese restaurant on my way to the Singapore Art Museum. At the museum there was a Leonardo Da Vinci exhibit, but the drawings were very tiny. Also, there were modern paintings, some of which were very nice, tantric art, and very colorful and restful pieces by a Chinese artist inspired by his trips to Bali some 87 years ago.

The following day, I finished up my shopping. I walked back to CK Tangs with my calves cramping the whole way and bought batik shirts for my sibling in-laws. I also looked over the ceramics closely and there was nothing I couldn’t live without.

Back to the Ana hotel; it’s only noon and the monsoon was starting. It didn’t seem that it was going to let up, so I rested my weary bod and flipped on the tube. I watched some Singaporean soaps. The plots advanced so much more quickly than in the US soaps. For example in one half hour: Boy rapes girl, girl agrees to marry boy that raped her, girl tries to murder boy at wedding, boy lives, girl goes to jail, ex-boyfriend fights kick boxing match with boy to free girl and get revenge, ex-boyfriend wins match, everybody happy, story over. The violence was amazing. The whole story could have taken a season in the US.

The next day it was time to bid a fond farewell to Singapore. Back at Changi Airport I found the absolutely best koi pond in all of Singapore ever! There were huge, colorful, bright and fantastic koi swimming lazily about in crystal clear water. I must have been dreaming.

So, I boarded the jet, first class, and the passenger next to me was this gorgeous guy who was deathly ill. He was pale, waxy, sweating profusely, and shaking. There was some sort of Asian flu bug around and he was returning from Hong Kong and I thought, shit, that’s all I need is to bring home this crap. But, he stayed wrapped in his blanket by the window, and I never got sick.

The flight was longer than the one going there and took 22 hours because of head winds. I went through US customs and declared everything since I had heard that people coming from Asia were regularly searched for drugs and I just didn’t want to fool with that on this trip. The customs officer read my declaration looked at all the stuff I had bought and asked the purpose of my trip. I told him that I worked on pharmaceuticals for cancer and AIDS and he looked right up at me. He said, “That is very important work. Do you also work on heart medicines?”

I replied that my company did have some cardiac medications although I myself did not work on any. He muttered something about very important work on drugs, drew a line through what I owed and wrote down half the amount! What a deal.

I was quite popular that Christmas at home and really enjoyed seeing everyone’s faces as they saw the trinkets brought from the Orient especially for each of them. The biggest treasure by far are the memories, which I have now shared with all of you.

I would like to thank Gretchen, the wife of an ex-pat, who helped me plan what to do, where to go, how to shop, what to wear, what to eat, etc. Thanks Gretchen; great job!

Singapore, Day 7 – II, Chinese Gardens

April 10, 2006 Posted by fairviewsue

Once over the bridge, I proceeded directly to the enclosed Bonsai Garden. The entrance to that garden was marked by topiary in the shape of four Chinese characters that I wished I could read. The garden itself was chock-a-block with over 1,000 artful and well tended bonsai. I am always extremely impressed with the creativity used for these miniature environs as well as the different shapes and types of pots used. Most impressive was the large and ancient looking bonsai grown into a boulder. By the way, the man in saffron robes seen wandering around the garden is His Holiness Sri Swamsii who visited the garden in 2003 from India. There was even a small koi pond with clear water and well tended, but not too large, fish. A comely Asian woman in the garden agreed to take my picture in exchange for me taking her picture with her son in front of a fountain. All in all, the bonsai garden was unbelievably beautiful.

The remainder of the Chinese Garden was in the Imperial Sung Dynasty style. I visited the tea house with another koi pond with a ‘natural’ stone bridge out front, more moon doors, and the court yards with square pools and carp statues each spewing a water arch into each other’s mouths, a waterfall, and the stone boat. Most of the koi are kohaku (red and white) or black on red. I also saw a monitor lizard. There were so many, you had to be careful not to trip over them. I went to the concession stand and bought some water as it was very hot now. I climbed the seven story pagoda, though I thought the heat would kill me, and the view was worth it. I used my last two pictures on the bonsai garden. I drank almost all of my water and headed for the MRT to continue shopping!

Singapore, Day 7 – I, Japanese Gardens

April 4, 2006 Posted by fairviewsue

The next morning I went to the Deli France for a cappuccino and an apricot turnover. Yum! Then I walked to the Orchard Street MRT Station. The Metro was just like the one in Washington, DC, clean, modern and efficient (see picture). The ticket to the Chinese/Japanese Gardens was S$1.40. The ride took 30 minutes and I was already really hot. Getting out of the train, I put my hat on.

I bought a ticket for S$4.50 and went to the Japanese Gardens first. The garden was already filled with workers sweeping the walks, raking the lawns and pruning the shrubs and trees. There was a pink lotus pond that seemed past bloom. Across the pond I saw an iridescent blue kingfisher with a ruddy belly, which turned out to be a common kingfisher, sitting on a rock. I also saw the most interesting shrub that was both bearing orange berries and pink flowers simultaneously. I would still love to know what it is.

The river water was reddish brown from all of the monsoon rain. On the water, I noticed a brightly colored red motorized paddle boat with the prow already filled with cut boughs and another little flat bottomed boat with a man with a very long saw pruning trees overhanging the water.

The garden signage impressed me the most. Characters were carved deep into rock that had been placed as if it had been there naturally for thousands of years and then the inside of the grooves were painted in red. Compare that to the dreadfully cheap signage here in the US or anywhere else for that matter.

Smaller bridges were formed from simple broad planks of hard woods then artfully placed and naturally littered with pine needles. Other paths and bridges were of huge slabs of stone, again artfully placed and worn to look like they had been there for thousands of years.

Arched wooden bridges were carefully built and painted red; very Japanese.

There was also a beautiful pavilion housing large colorful paper lanterns from a festival I supposed (see below). One large pond, over which the pavilion looked, was filled with native fish and turtles, so I threw in some of my apple to see if there were any koi. There were three reddish koi and one yellow. They were all thin and pathetic as if they were competed out by the native fish.

Each inidvidual aspect of the garden was very special. Overall the garden was simple, elegant and serene. I spent quite a bit of time there and didn’t really want to leave. I must admit that I sat and meditated a while. (If not in a Zen garden then where?)

Then, reluctantly, I decided to cross the 65 meter (71 yard) bridge to the Chinese Garden.