Thursday, February 05, 2015

Singapore

Getting to Singapore was painless. The Airport Bus zipped us from Bogor to Jakarta Soekarno-Hatta airport in jut over an hour. Check-in, etc, was easy; we snagged exit row seats, and the Lion Air flight left 20 minutes late but arrived on time at 2 pm local time in Singapore (we lost an hour).

Note to travelers: Lion allows one free checked bag but offers no free amenities to economy passengers; you'll pay for your water or snack. And at Soekarno-Hatta there is no place that I could find to refill my water bottle after passing through security. In fact

We were not sure what to expect from the famously ordered and controlled Singapore. Strictly planned economic growth, no spitting, no jaywalking, etc. Would there be only glistening buildings rising to the sky with obedient citizens traveling between them on spotless sidewalks and 100% efficient pubic transport. Or, as the guide books promised, would there be enough ragged edges and heterogeneity to make Singapore exciting.

Let's look at the photos to see what we found.

Soon after settling in our hotel in Little India we met up with our friends Chu Wei and Z for some veggie Thai food and a boat cruise on the Singapore River.
Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

The next day; a self guided walking tour of Chinatown where preparations for Chinese New Year on Feb 19 are in full swing.
Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

It's the Year of the Goat. Check out the goats in this shot of the Art Deco Majestic Theatre.
Singapore

And some night shots from the next evening.
Singapore

Singapore

We meet Chu Wei for lunch at a vegetarian restaurant in Fortune Centre and walk through the Colonial District.
Singapore

Singapore

Raffles Hotel.
Singapore

St Joseph's School is now the Singapore Art Museum which had some very good exhibits. Not to mention the bonus nap while watching a movie from the bean bag chairs. ;-)
Singapore

Singapore

Strolling home through Little India.
Singapore

We start Monday with a bus ride to the Botanical Gardens and straight to the amazing, best ever, biggest ever, Orchid Garden.

But first, a humongous leaf.
Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Then bus over to Gardens by the Bay to see the Supertrees in the daylight and at night. Supertrees are a metal superstructure covered with vines and air plants, and are solar powered.
Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

Singapore

But the best is saved for last. Sun-Ling decided we would stay in Little India in hopes that our hotel would be convenient to the Hindu festival of Thaipusam. And it was!

Wikipedia: On the day of the festival, devotees will shave their heads and undertake a pilgrimage along a set route while engaging in various acts of devotion, notably carrying various types of kavadi (burdens). At its simplest this may entail carrying a pot of milk, but mortification of the flesh by piercing the skin, tongue or cheeks with vel skewers is also common.

Thaipusam - Singapore

This devotee is pierced through his mouth, has small pots of milk hung from his shoulder flesh, and is carrying a pot of milk.
Thaipusam - Singapore

Thaipusam - Singapore

Sun-Ling's reaction.
Thaipusam - Singapore

The devotee usually walks - in Singapore it's a 3km long route - with friends and family.
Thaipusam - Singapore

Thaipusam - Singapore

No piercing for these devotees; their burdens are pots of milk.
Thaipusam - Singapore

Preparations in the Hindu Temple.
Thaipusam - Singapore

Thaipusam - Singapore

Crowds on the route.
Thaipusam - Singapore

These devotees are pulling shrines with ropes attached to hooks in their backs.
Thaipusam - Singapore

Thaipusam - Singapore

Video link click here.



Thaipusam - Singapore

Thaipusam - Singapore

Thaipusam - Singapore

Nearing the end.
Thaipusam - Singapore

Thaipusam - Singapore

Thaipusam - Singapore

Lunch.
Thaipusam - Singapore

And a tailor works just one meter from the route.
Thaipusam - Singapore

And it's quiet in the back streets of the Arab quarter.
Thaipusam - Singapore

Thaipusam - Singapore

Thaipusam - Singapore

Thaipusam - Singapore

4 comments:

Crash Eddy said...

Not viewing the parade in person, only by your photos and video, my reaction is exactly the same as S-L's, jaw dropping. Confirming that people do the nuttiest things in the name of religion, but needles through ones mouth and hooks in ones back takes the prize.

Singapore is very colorful compared to Cary, heh, heh.

Kathy said...

I saw the prep for Chinese New Year in Singapore in 2011 (rabbits, not goats) but am VERY VERY glad I missed the Indian festival!

Sun-Ling said...

Thaipusam was fascinating, even I could hardly allow myself to look too closely. John did more reading afterwards and got some idea about the "piercing" - non-penetrating contraptions. Now I want to go to Thaipusam again and stare at every "piercing" trying to see through the tricks. It'll be so much more fun!

Liz said...

The orchids are beautiful / festival shocking!