Singapore Day 1

                                                                  Supreme Court Building

March 18, 2012

Ah, Singapore!  This is our third visit to this wonderful island.  This time we were docked at the container port, since the cruise port was fully occupied.  The container dock is absolutely amazing.  It is the second busiest shipping port in the world, after Shanghai, and it is huge.  When we arrived in the morning there was an automobile carrier unloading.  Six hours later they were still unloading it.  We had time to observe the method they used to do this.  They use two van drivers who each ferry six drivers back after they move the cars.  They reverse the process to reload the ship.  They barely stopped the process during a thunderstorm - they just waited until the thunder and lighting were past and started up again.  Singapore is a distribution center for the cars.  

For our first day here we had an American Express tour scheduled.  This one concentrated mostly on feng shui, with a stop at a tea shop where we learned a lot about tea, and some time for souvenir shopping. 

Apparently feng shui is a very complex subject, and in all of Singapore there are only two tour guides who are certified to do feng shui tours.  Despite our guide’s training, we did not end up knowing much more about feng shui at the end of the tour than we did before we started.  Our guide tried to explain the principles to us, but he was difficult to understand, and apparently there are exceptions to almost every rule in feng shui.  If you grow up in that culture, it probably makes sense to you, but for us it just seemed like people would do crazy things because of their beliefs.  The example that stands out in memory is a banker who spent the equivalent of $1 million on a sculpture of a fat bird, because the bird’s tail was like the upturned palm of a hand, so it would catch the money.

Supposedly he is doing very well in his business.  We heard many stories about people doing poorly in business if they don’t follow feng shui principles, and doing very well if they do follow the principles.  We remain unconvinced.  The best thing we can say about feng shui is that it has produced many beautiful buildings in Singapore.

Fortunately the tea shop was very  informative, and a pleasant experience.  The owner taught us about how to choose and brew good tea.  The shop owner was as entertaining as he was knowledgeable.

Our final stop was in Chinatown, where a calligrapher wrote each of our names in Chinese characters on a red paper fan.  That made a nice souvenir to take home.  (Susan left, Harry, right).  After that we had a short time to walk around before getting back on the bus to return to the ship.

The photos below are of some of the interesting buildings we saw.

In the very late afternoon our ship moved from the container dock to the cruise terminal where we spent the night and the following day until it was time to leave for the next port.

There are more photos in the album.

                                                      Marina Bay Sands Hotel, Singapore

© Susan L. Stone 2015