JUstDreamInparadise.......JUDI living in Paradise

Friday, 30 June 2017

Day 9 - Singapore

Linda and Tony had business to attend to today so the rest of us caught a cab to Mount
Faber, the starting point for the cable car ride to Sentosa Island.

From the Web:
"Sentosa is an island resort off Singapore’s southern coast, connected to the city by road, cable car, pedestrian boardwalk and monorail. By Sentosa Station, Tiger Sky Tower has panoramic views that can stretch as far as Indonesia. On the south coast, Palawan Beach is lined with food stalls and bars, and has a suspension bridge to a small offshore island. Palm-lined, crescent-shaped Tanjong Beach is more tranquil."

I love cable cars and have no fear of heights as long as I look out and not down.  The whole system was overhauled in 1983 after a ship passing underneath snagged the line and seven people lost their lives.  There are two cable car lines.  The first is Mount Faber Line. It takes you from Singapores only hilltop destination, Faber Peak, through a skyscraper and across the harbour before landing in Sentosa Island.

The second line that connects at Sentosa Station is the Sentosa Line.  We journeyed over the jungle, sand and sea on this line. If you like, you can stop at the Merlion station, Imbiah Lookout station and Siloso Point station to enjoy the sandy beaches, Madame Tussauds, Sentosa Merlion, Universal Studios Singapore, S.E.A. Aquarium and more.  We stayed aboard and just took in the views.

After the cable ride we had coffee and muffins at Starbucks, by far the best coffee in Singapore.

A very interesting combination of Apple, Cheddar Cheese and Parmesan.  Surprisingly it was delicious.
We then caught a cab to the Sultan Mosque in Arab Street.  We had to cover up before entering the mosque and I have a great photo of Michael in a skirt but I promised not to post that one :-)

We wandered along Arab Street where Philip bought me a beautiful silk "Dubai" Kaftan.  I have no idea where I can wear it but it is lovely to look at....

We once again hopped on board the Hop-On Hop-Off bus as we had purchased a three day pass.  We alighted at Stop 1 and made our way into the mall for lunch.  Mike and Kate found a place where we could sit down to a feed of hamburgers and fries.  Funnily enough it was called the Aussie Restaurant but sadly the burger was not up to Aussie standard!
Ahhh.....not your typical burger
Our hotel was only a short walk from the mall so back there we went for our afternoon rest, this time poolside.  We were all going to meet in the lobby at 5.00 pm so that we could catch a taxi to the Marina Bay Hotel for cocktail hour.  What a great experience!  Fifty-seven stories above Singapore is this fabulous bar where you can purchase any drink your heart desires.  The views from here were spectacular.
The crew.

It is a very busy bar!

The view!
We stayed for a couple of hours before making our way back to the Marina Mandarin for a buffet dinner.  This was also fabulous and once again catered to everyones tastes but I just could not do it justice, however I did get a good feed of seafood.  The scallops were to die for!
We were all feeling weary after our very busy day so we said our goodnights and made plans to meet for breakfast the next day.  The very upmarket, Orchard Road, is on the list for tomorrow.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Day 8 - Singapore

Our plan to go hiking this morning was postponed as we woke to a dreary wet day.  Fortunately for us  though, the rain had disappeared by midday.

A rainy morning in Little India
After breakfast we all piled into two cabs and made our way to Mustafa Shopping Centre in Little India.  Linda had quite a few things to purchase for Tufi and this was the place to buy them.  The centre took up almost a whole city block and was three stories high.  It was a place that you could easily become lost in, but we loved it.  I bought a pair of joggers for half the price that I would pay at home and I also stocked up on herbs and spices.  A giant bag of cinnamon sticks cost me just $3! After our shopping spree we headed back to the Marina Mandarin to off load our goods and then we headed to Chinatown for lunch.  What a wonderful experience that was.  The food was delicious and what I loved the most was that I watched my food being prepared from scratch.  None of those ridiculous bain marie's full of food that we see all too often in Australia.

Chinatown "food hall"
The decorated streets of Chinatown
After lunch we once again headed back to the hotel for a rest.  Kate, Mike, Philip and I decided to head to Gardens by the Bay late in the afternoon to catch the light show that evening scheduled for 8pm.  Linda and Tony had seen it all before so they were happy to do their own thing.

A different view of Marina Bay Sands Hotel
Gardens by the Bay is an absolute credit to the Singaporeans.  The park is spread out over an area of 150 acres of reclaimed land.  It would take many days to cover this park properly so we decided that we would pick the things that we wanted to see the most.  The first on the list was the giant Conservatory - Cloud Forest:

Courtesy of Wikipedia:
"Cloud Forest covers an area of 2.0 acres. It replicates the cool moist conditions found in tropical mountain regions between 1,000 metres and 3,000 metres above sea level, found in South-East Asia, Middle- and South America. It features a 42-metre "Cloud Mountain" and visitors walk around the mountain via a circular path where a 35-metre waterfall provides visitors with refreshing cool air. "

The next place to visit was Flower Dome.  

Courtesy of Wikipedia:
"The Flower Dome is the larger of the two at 3.0 acres. It replicates a mild, dry climate and features plants found in the Mediterranean and other semi-arid tropical regions (e.g. parts of Australia, South America, South Africa). The Flower Dome is 38 metres high and maintains a temperature between 23 °C and 25 °C, slightly lower at night. The Flower Dome features seven different "gardens" as well as an olive grove. "

The three "suspended" statues really caught my attention.

It took us a couple of hours to look through the two conservatories and after we had taken in our fill of these magnificent places we headed to the Super Tree Grove where the light display was to be held.

Wikipedia again:
"Supertrees are tree-like structures that dominate the Gardens' landscape with heights that range between 25 metres and 50 metres. They are vertical gardens that perform a multitude of functions, which include planting, shading and working as environmental engines for the gardens.
The Supertrees are home to enclaves of unique and exotic ferns, vines, orchids and also a vast collection of bromeliads, amongst other plants. They are fitted with environmental technologies that mimic the ecological function of trees – photovoltaic cells that harness solar energy which can be used for some of the functions of the Supertrees, such as lighting, just like how trees photosynthesize; and collection of rainwater for use in irrigation and fountain displays, exactly like how trees absorb rainwater for growth. The Supertrees also serve air intake and exhaust functions as part of the conservatories' cooling systems.
There is an elevated walkway, the OCBC Skyway, between two of the larger Supertrees for visitors to enjoy a panoramic aerial view of the Gardens.  At night, the Supertrees come alive with a light and music show called the OCBC Garden Rhapsody."

We purchased tickets for the OCBC Skyway and we were mesmerised by the beautiful views that we had from the walkway.  After the walkway we took our places under the super trees for the light show.  The show was okay but it only took about 5 minutes and we were slightly underwhelmed.  However we would have been always wondering what it would've been like if we had missed it!

The Singapore Flyer (giant ferris wheel) can be seen quite clearly in this photo and note how high it is! 

The Light Show on one of the trees.

After the show we walked back to the Marina Sands complex for a light meal in the food hall and then caught a cab back to our hotel as, by this stage, it was about 9.30 pm.  We met up with Linda and  Tony for a nightcap and discussed the plan for the next day.  Sentosa Island for us!

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Day 6/7 Singapore

Day 6 of holiday was spent pretty much in transit.  We boarded our Air Nuigini flight from Port Moresby to Singapore at about 2pm and arrived into Singapore at 6.30pm.  None of us wanted to do anything tonight so we settled for a few drinks in the lobby at the Marina Mandarin Hotel where we were staying.  We had been well and truly feed on our flight so nobody was very hungry.  We were in bed quite early for a day of sightseeing the following day.
We woke quite early the following morning.  Excitement I guess, and this is the view we had from our hotel room on the 18th floor.  It is a magnificent golden hour photo with the Marina Bay Sands Hotel with the "ship sitting atop" the three buildings, really dominating the skyline.

We had pre-arranged to meet the rest of the crew for a 7am buffet breakfast.  My goodness, what a magnificent buffet.  There were at least five "stations" loaded with food and absolutely everybody's taste was catered for.  We discussed what we each wanted to do today and it was decided that Kate, Mike, Philip and I would do the hop-on, hop-off bus and as Linda and Tony had jobs to do we decided that we would all meet back at the hotel and walk the short distance to Marina Sands for lunch. Tonight was also going to be special with reservations having been made at Jumbo Seafood for a feed of chilli crab!
Our tour around this lovely city on the bus was fantastic.  It is certainly the best way to see a place and get your bearings, so to speak.  We didn't get off as we were happy to complete two of the four routes back to back.  Our tour took us through the city where the Marina Sands Hotel now dominates the skyline, past the legendary Raffles Hotel, out to little India, back to China Town, down Orchard Road where the likes of Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton have numerous stores.  We also visited the well known Botanical Gardens that looked very inviting but unfortunately not enough time to explore this trip.  What a great morning it was travelling down the tree lined streets, and always looking upwards. We watched window cleaners hanging precariously off the sides of buildings with no safety harnesses.  Workplace health and safety is apparently an unknown here.

Botanical Gardens

Washing fluttering in the wind...

So much beautiful greenery on just about every building

Those little "ants" climbing up the side of the building are window cleaners!
We finally ended our tour at midday and meet up with Linda and Tony.  They had walked a massive 10km around the city this morning....mostly underground where there is a zillion shops!  Honestly the island is so small that every available space is used and underground shopping malls are commonplace.
We walked over to the Marina Sands Shopping Complex and ate lunch in the food hall.  What an amazing choice of food.  It's hard to know where to start but as we were going to be "pigging" out on Chilli Crab tonight we held back slightly!

Lunch at the Marina Sands food hall
After walking off lunch, we headed back to our hotel room for a rest before dinner.  Our reservation was for 6pm so we were all to meet in the lobby at 5.30pm.
Jumbo Seafood Restaurant was amazing..... and the food.....well it certainly lived up to its name.  The restaurant was packed with diners....always a good sign!  The Chilli Crab was so delicious and tender.  I was lucky enough to score a big fat juicy claw and it was truly the best I have ever eaten.  We all sat around the lazy suzan and made complete pigs of ourselves, washing down the crab with the local beer.  Such a nice combination.
Jumbo Seafood.  The best Chilli Crab in town!

Too busy eating to get a photo.  Did get the remains though :-)
The sky was threatening rain all night and we were a little concerned that we had an outside table and would be drenched but as luck would have it,  it only started to rain as we stepped into our cab.  
It was a very memorable night.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Day 5 Tufi Resort

Today, the threatening clouds of yesterday, turned into light rain and then heavy showers.  Sunday at Tufi Resort is Beach BBQ day.  All the guests are taken by boat out of the Fjord and around the point to a lovely little beach area where can swim, snorkel, fish and then enjoy the BBQ lunch.  However with the weather the way it was, the decision was made to have the BBQ lunch back at the resort and after lunch we would board our plane and head back to Port Moresby.
Philip and I had booked ourselves on the morning "Cultural Tour" so that went ahead as planned because we would be back in plenty of time for lunch and our flight.
The tour starts at the Dive Centre below the resort where we boarded the boat that takes us out to sea and then back in to the next Fjord.
Our boat is waiting for us

but first we had to wait for the divers to leave the water.  There is a fantastic wreck, right at the jetty, that divers enjoy exploring.

We passed many villagers on our way along the magnificent Fjord
At our destination we were meet by the locals in their canoes who take us two or three at a time further into the jungle along a narrow stream.  As it was low tide we had to leave the canoe and wade quite some distance through the shallow water to our destination.
Philip and I and one other boarded this canoe for our journey upstream
 As we left the water and walked along the narrow path we were met by two "fierce" warriors who wanted to know whether we were friend or foe.  We assured them that we were indeed friends!

The path that leads to the village
We then walked through an archway where we were showered with flower petals as a welcome to the village.

As we walked along the path there were displays of fire lighting, face tattooing (not real!) and then the elaborately decorated warriors and maidens gave a dance display.  On or way back to the boat the locals had set out their wares for sale.  We bought a bark painting that I will frame as a momento.

By the time we had boarded the boat for our return journey we had become well acquainted with our fellow passengers and chatted amicably on the way home.
We arrived back at the Resort just in time for a delicious BBQ lunch and then it was time to pack our suitcases in readiness for our return flight to Port Moresby. Saying goodbye to Tufi was very hard.  I just loved the place and would return in a heartbeat.
The gang!

Flight check
We had two pilots for our return journey and a different plane but the 45 minute flight was very good despite the cloudy skies.  Back in Moresby at Tony and Linda's lovely apartment we sat around over and few drinks and talked the afternoon away.  That night everyone (apart from Kate and I) went out to dinner at a Thai Restaurant that Philip reported was very good.  In the meantime Kate and I tucked in for an early night in readiness for our flight to Singapore tomorrow morning.