Posted by: powellpjc | April 18, 2012

Singapore. Crossroads of Commerce and Ship City.

I motored the last 18 miles into Singapore. There was no wind and a guy needed some agility, so I chugged in. Too many ships of all description anchored or moving about, some at great rate of speed. I’m talking 30 knots or better. Obviously great concern in these waters with smuggling and illegals sneaking in from nearby Indonesia, so the police boats, the coast guard cutters, the Singaporean navy and the air force are on alert. Ships and helicopters and one strange looking low profile stealth cutter. That was the guy doing 30+knots. When he slows down to sneak profile only his windows and gun are visible.

This guy sneaks around, barely visible, until he sees something that he doesn't like, then he steps on the loud pedal.

 

Friendly chap I met in Malaysia arranged a berth for me at the One15 marina which is quite close to downtown Singapore. Well, everything is downtown here. The marina initially turned me away (likely sensing that I was not a supermegayacht)  as they have a large yacht show coming up and are trying to reposition the boats they have. We persisted and here I am.

I’m forgetting about boat jobs and just poking about Singapore, this being my first time hereabouts. Shoepacked my way around Little India where I ordered up 3 shirts. One silk and 2 Egyptian cotton, whatever that is. Be ready tomorrow. Then spotted a corner eatery that specialized in byriani so I waltzed in and ordered a beer. ‘No licence, sir’. I was out of there in a flash to the joint across the street. There, I could read a sign over the byriani shop extolling it’s praises as Singapore’s best byriani. I didn’t know what byriani really was but I skipped the beer and headed back. Mixture of basmati rice and lamb (or chicken if you want) along with a coated hardboiled egg, pappadums and lovely homemade chutney. Delicious even with no beer. The owner showed me his recommendation in the Lonely Planet guidebook after the meal. Sometimes I get it right.

A lot of hookah smokers on one corner, including the attendant with the charcoal and I was tempted. Dropped into the shop and got a seminar on how to operate the hookah and just about bought one until I realized that I don’t smoke. It just looks cool.

These are toys and don't work, but the shop had the proper sidewalk style hookahs too.

 

Wandered over to the Arab quarter and decided to check out the grand mosque. Took off my shoes and slipped in. Was soon ushered out as prayers were in session and I don’t think I looked the part. Quite impressive inside and that was my first mosque. I heard, when in Malaysia, the voices of the ‘muezzin’ many times from many different mosques with their call to prayer and was always impressed with the quality of the voices.

Allowed me in but would not let me stay. Probably a wise decision for both of us.

After a near brush with religion it was off to Raffles Hotel for the mandatory Singapore Sling, the original girlie drink. Fabulous.

The Raffles Hotel courtyard. Swank and at the centre of Singapore history.

And my Singapore Sling, apple vodka version. Delciicous and the original girlie drink.

 

Today I toured Chinatown, interested mostly in the architecture of the shophouses and their breezeways, a design mandated by Sir Stamford Raffles, the British founder of Singapore. The shops had fancy chopsticks and textiles, geared for the passing tourist (me).The breezeways keep you out of the blazing sun and regular cloudbursts. Simple and effective.

A poor photographic representation of the 'shophouse breezeway' but maybe you get the idea.

 

Did one revolution on the Singapore Flyer (giant ferris wheel, similar to Millennium Wheel in London) to get a better picture of the city. Modern, clean, no police to be seen and rich-looking.

A lot of millionaires here, I’m told. And you pretty much have to be to live here. If you want to buy a car you have to get a ticket to do so. The ticket will cost you $80,000 for a $40,000 car. So, now the car is $120,000 and the ticket is good for only 10 years. You don’t see any old cars in these parts. Housing, forget about it.

I feel quite out of place here in the marina. I am surrounded by multi-million dollar stinkpots (maybe 4 sailboats and 100 stinkpots). I’ll collect my shirts tomorrow and steam on out of here.

Ye Olde Chinee apothecary. Bad karma for sharks and rhinos.

 

Next stop, Port Dickson, up the Straits of Malacca. Should be about 3 or 4 days of daylight only motoring. Too much traffic to do anything else, and anchoring at night for some sleep. Just as well. I’m missing a sail.

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Responses

  1. We have a great time reading your posts. We went in the opposite direction few years back. The Malacca Strait is not as bad as people would have you believe. We sailed, day and night. Must keep a good lookout though. Port Dickson is rather unpleasant place, but we can strongly recommend Lumut. One of our favorite places in the Strait. Fair winds!

  2. Thanks, Jana and Petr. You are right about Port Dickson but I’m staying for a few days anyway. Nice marina and I hate the thunderstorms. Will be stopping in at Lumut, though and thanks for the recommendation.

  3. Pedro
    Doesn’t sound like the easiest place to sail and potentially unfriendly. Chalk it up to Moslem influence, I say. Just bad actors!
    Hope all goes well in Port Dickson.
    Walking around without cast.
    Heading to Bali and Cambodia in June.
    Toulouse

  4. Hope this finds you in Port Dickson on your way to Lumut. Flip me an email with your number and Ill give you a ring to catch up. I also have my camera set up now to work. So I can call you via Facebook and Skype. Take care talk to you soon

  5. Wish I was there to have a girlie drink with you honey. Safe travels. Cath xoxo


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