Saturday, January 30, 2010

We sail tonight for Singapore

Our cruise ended back in Singapore Harbor. There, as the boat was coming in, finally we got some rain. Only perhaps half an hour of it, but the kids and I went and did some happy rain dances out in it on the deck, then gathered our things and disembarked.

Sunset at the entrance to Singapore Harbor

Fireworks over Singapore Harbor, also as seen from the ship

and the Fullerton Hotel

Back to our old haunt, the luxurious Fullerton. Sometimes you have to suck it up and deal when you travel. This was not one of those times. Now we were on the top floor on the other side of the hotel from our previous room, overlooking the Marina Bay, the great lit wheel of the Singapore Flyer in the distance. We were gifted two commemorative golden Christmas ornaments in the shape of the Fullerton to hang on our tree when we returned home and a soft knock at our door produced two waiters carting plates of beautiful exotic fruits, glasses and a bottle of wine.

Honestly, had we been so inclined, we could have spent every waking hour at the Fullerton comfortably sloshed. I saw several persons in good dress but unsteady walk while we stayed there. Champagne breakfasts, in-room wine, the afternoon tea which included wines or beers, and then the evening cocktails...good thing we are such models of restraint, or we would have spent all our time in Singapore snoozing.

Plus, we had that great coffee maker which distracted us from such pursuits. Well, mostly.

Thomas settled into the sumptuously deep bedding with an apple after we scientifically tested for springiness:

Thomas and the bed both bore up well.

We had no plans, and decided to go for a ride on the Flyer and then to dinner to have some crab. Just the right level of plan for your last day of vacation, I think.

The Singapore Flyer is, at 165 meters high, the world's largest observation wheel. It takes 30 minutes to rotate slowly up into the sky and then back down again.

You may remember, I am not overly fond of heights.

View of the Singapore Flyer from our balcony

I spent most of the ride firmly seated in the middle of the capsule, alternating between trying not to freak out when, way up in the sky, the kids repeatedly crashed and pushed against the doors that I knew could, theoretically open...we'd come in through them after all, and being irritated with myself for being such a lily-livered namby-pamby milksop sissy wuss.

Bethy looking over the panoramic view and the Fullerton way below

Singapore skyline

As I was looking a little gray, Mike asked me flat out why I'd suggested an experience I knew would make me miserable. Well, the Flyer is what you DO when you're in Singapore, therefore we did it!

Sometimes he asks the silliest questions.

Back on the ground, the capsule doors having done their job and stayed closed when they were supposed to stay closed and opening only when it was time to let us back out (oh, thankyou thankyou thankyou ye Gods of the Flyer for giving us safe passage, we praise thee,) we went in search of some crab.

Pepper crab is the dish you're supposed to eat in Singapore. And we almost ate it. But then we started to order, the only whitefolk among all the Asians happily ingesting seafood and raucously toasting one another in a nicely upscale restaurant, the waitress interrupted, "Pepper crab?" before we'd even gotten the words out.

It's possible we'd already annoyed her by asking for what was bland enough for the kids to eat and probably also by singing the "fish heads" song, though come ON, who wouldn't have with this page on the menu:

and then chortled over the "Live Frogs, minimum 2 frogs " page,

but even so. Who wants to be that predictable? Pepper crab indeed! I quickly asked instead for the chili crab. Ha!

Thomas conked out early. Fortunately, on this side of the earth, they bring the kid's food first and the adult food a bit later, so at least he ate some rice and noodles, and had already had a good time staring google-eyed at the seafood swimming around in a huge wall of tanks with fish, crustacians, octopi, eels, the lot.

Those poor fish could stare out at the customers on one side as they ate their brethren, or they could watch their fellows being cooked in the kitchen on the other side. At this point I can only hope the sealife represented there has no comprehension of such things.

As for our crab, whether it knew its fate or not, it was delicious. A whole crab in a giant puddle of garlicky spicy sauce, full of sweet meat, with bread to mop it up, and since Thomas was snoring quietly we had ample time to linger over it and lick our fingers.

Quite messy. Good times.

A long walk back to the hotel, after deciding not to wait in the seemingly endless line for taxis, arms aching from carrying Thomas who was both heavy and noisily sad, past the huge silver spiky Esplanade building that Singapore locals have affectionately nicknamed "the Durian" and the Merlion, lit up in the darkness. Our vacation was essentially over.

We had an early start the next morning, a taxi to the airport and then flew home on Emirates. I can see why many people refuse to fly any other airline...the in-flight entertainment was truly exceptional. Lots of choices and the flightcams are great, especially as you come into Dubai.

Almost home

My views from my seat. I think if you squint you can almost make out the Burj Khalifa (the tower formerly known as the Burj Dubai) on the righthand side of the screen there as we begin our descent and turn towards the airport.

OK, so just take my word for it. It was cool.

Then, as we flew Emirates, we got to go through their exclusive terminal, wait for it, YES, the world's largest building by floorspace ( more than 370 acres) built for a paltry 4 1/2 billion.

Yeah, it was pretty nice. And considerably less walking than if you fly with another airline which all have to drop their passengers off at Terminals 1 or 2. A bonus for a tired little family, full of wonderful travel memories and more than ready for baths and laundry.


Cindy Napier said...

What beautiful pictures! You'll have to show me how you get the nightscape ones to turn out. Mine never do! Incredible vacation, Natalie-- and a very fun read! :)

Anonymous said...


ConnieMotz said...

Great blog! I love the details as if we were traveling right along with you.
take care,

Jean said...

A great journey. Thanks for taking us along.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Librarian said...

I'm behind and read the last 3 in one sitting.
I love the massage story and the bus story and I have to say I'd have been singing along to Fish Heads too. I'm glad your kids know that song!

Will & Cheyenne said...

I fully expect a Frog Dinner when you come home.

Anonymous said...

Supposedly Sea Tac Parking garage is the largest building in the world under one roof.

Natalie said...

Well, is it the biggest by floor space? Being lazy, but trivia inspired, and curious as a cat, I surfed a little (and you know how reliable THAT is!) and found that a bunch of buildings claim that honor, Bejing Terminal: "With a floor area of more than 10 million square feet, the Norman Foster-designed terminal is second only in size to Aalsmeer flower auction house in Amsterdam" ( and (the architects of SeaTac parking structure) says: "This is the largest single structure parking garage in the United States with over 13,000 parking stalls." Emirates says their terminal is: "about 1,200,000m2" with 32 gates and "Five and four-star hotel facilities with over 200 hundred rooms". How about we go with luxurious and huge and let Guiness fight it out? Love the SeaTac info! Awesome! Thanks Anonymous. (PS. don't be's OK to sign. All are welcome here.)