Sunday, April 6, 2014

Day 85 - Singapore

Saturday, April 5

Woke up this morning to pouring rain so I rolled over and slept another hour.  At 10 I watched the morning show and decided what I was going to do.  My first inclination was to just stay onboard but I still had a day left on my HOHO bus pass and S$47.  So I grabbed my raincoat and set off.  It was much easier going through immigration (but they did check your passport) and get on the shuttle bus.

Since I knew my way around Sentec City I was able to get to the HOHO bus easily.  Because it was still raining I had to sit downstairs and my pictures all have rain drops on them.  When the "Original" tour was done I wanted to do the "Heritage" one again but it was about 45 minutes until the next one left so I went back into the mall and looked through the grocery store that is in the basement.  It was more than just groceries though because they had appliances and clothes.

Got back about five minutes before the next bus left.  The rain had just about stopped by then so I went upstairs to sit.  I had brought a face cloth with me in case I got hot but instead used it to wipe down the wet seat. Rode around and got back around 3 pm.  Walked back to the pick up point and got back to the ship dock around 3:30.  In the cruise centre they have free wifi but it was slower than on the ship.  There were about ten people sitting in the lobby using it but after a half hour I still had not been able to get my email downloaded.  Gave up and got back on the ship and turned in my passport and landing card.

By 4 pm I was getting hungry (had left the ship having only had a half a glass of orange juice) so I went to the Lido for a late, late lunch.

At 7:00 I went up to deck 9 aft to get ready for sail-away.  After sitting for awhile my friend Jim from the dinner table came by and we talked and watched us leave Singapore.

We had ten for dinner tonight.  We have a new couple from Yorkshire and a lady from Toronto.  Went to the show which had a singer named Peter Corry who sang jazz,  a couple of Irish tunes, and opera but mostly show tunes.

Some things I learned about Singapore...
population is about 5 1/2 million
very few people live below the poverty line
there are so many jobs available about 1 million people are brought in from other countries to work each year
about 85% of the people live in government housing (but evidently you can buy the apartments)
traffic is not much of a problem because 1) the tax on a new car is in excess of 100%, 2) car  owners have to buy a "Certificate of Entitlement" that is based on the size of the engine (these start at about $60,000), and 3) the major roads have a toll called the ERP (Electronic Road Pricing) which varies by the time of day - each vehicle has a device that is read by the sensors as you drive down the road and it deducts the cost from a cash card that is inserted in the car's device
Singapore is the second largest exporter of used cars after Japan due in large part to #2 above (since the COE is only good for ten years) so you see very few older cars
Singapore has reclaimed a great deal of land from the sea

1800s "shop houses" - shop on the ground floor and the family lived above

characters from a Chinese opera

from Friday night's cultural show

Smooth sailing until next time!

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