Singapore

 In Honeymoon Planning
Singapore is the busiest port in the world.  Its position on the southern tip of the Malaysian archipelago allows easy access to the Pacific and Indian Oceans.  Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles saw the potential of this tiny wilderness outpost and claimed it for the East Indian Trading Company of England in 1819.  With the help of local Malay chieftains, Stamford fended off the Dutch navy and established Singapore as a free trade market connecting Europe with the Orient.  The completion of the Suez Canal in Egypt doubled the commercial traffic flowing through the city.  Today, Singapore handles 400,000 tons of goods a year.  The tiny island nation is home to billion dollar skyscrapers and luxury highrises.  The Stamford Hotel is the tallest in southeast Asia.  The amazing Equinox Restaurant looks out from the 70th floor.  On a clear day you can see Indonesia and Malaysia.
Equinox was the most opulent buffet we’ve ever tasted.  They take fresh lobster tails out of the shell and line it up for you.  They had a full table devoted to exotic cheeses.  The Singapore dollar is  less than its U.S. counterpart (1.35 to $1 U.S.)  This amazing luncheon was only $35 per person and included a glass of champagne. The shopping in Raffles City is an ultra modern experience of sight and sound.
The most famous hotel in Singapore is the Raffles. This British Colonial beauty was the first western hotel built in 1899 and renovated in 1989 at a cost of $160 million.  Room rates range from $400/night for a standard to $845 for a suite.  The Raffles Longbar is the birthplace of the Singapore Sling.  The “Sling” was created by Hainanese-Chinese bartender Ngiam Tong Boon in 1936.  The original Singapore Sling is made with Gin, Cherry Brandy, Pineapple Juice, Lime Juice, Cointreau, Dom Benedictine, Grenadine, a dash of Angostura Bitters and garnished with a slice of pineapple and a cherry.  Today’s Long Bar tenders have it down to a science and roll them out to customers like an assembly line.  We stopped in on my 31st b-day and got “slung”.  It was an absolute blast!
You probably wouldn’t guess that Singapore is the safest and cleanest country in the world, but it is.  It is affectionately known as the “City of Fines”.  There are strict rules and fines for Jaywalking, not flushing toilets and chewing gum.  In fact, gum is illegal in Singapore.  At the Malaysian border, a soldier boarded our bus, searched our bags and confiscated our gum.  Don’t even think of vandalism or graffitti in this city.  We all remember the American kid who got “Caned” for spraypainting a wall- yep, it was in Singapore alright.  The city is so safe that Cass and I had no worries walking through the nightclub districts late at night  (the best spot is down by the Quay).  The citizens of Singapore take great pride in law and order.
The top tourist attractions of Singapore are Sentosa, the Esplanade Theatre, The Merlion (half mermaid/half lion statue that guards the city)  and the Night Safari.  Sentosa is SE Asia’s version of Disneyworld.  They have rides, a zoo, a pink dolphin show and nightly fireworks.  You can only get there by cable car.  The Night Safari is the most original we’ve been on.  The concept is that since most denizens of the rainforest are nocturnal, the park is only open at night.  We saw large cats on the prowl that night and I got to go on stage and hold a Siamese Python over my head in an exhibition of American strength.
Singapore is about a day and a half’s journey by plane from OC.  We flew into Thailand and drove south through Malaysia.  It’s right on the equator and every day is about 80 degrees with brief thunderstorms. It’s 12 hours ahead of OC and everybody speaks English.  The mixture of Asian and Indian cuisine is delicious. Our friend Pat who owned Charlie Changs (54th St.) moved out there a few years ago and never came back.  We can’t blame him.  This is one cool city.
– The Rox

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