Tea, Orchids and Followed by Lamb in Singapore

The Amsterdam docked in Singapore about 2 PM in a pouring rain. We escaped the St. Patrick’s Day’s activities aboard the ship to wend our way through immigration and a crowded cruise terminal that is full of shops and products of every type one can imagine. By the time we got outside, the rain had quit but we were armed with umbrellas! We caught a cab and headed toward the Raffles Hotel. The cab driver got lost, but we had maps with us to assist him.

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We had made advance reservations for High Tea and since we arrived early we walked around all the shops outside the hotel proper taking some pictures. Mary Jane ducked into a shop and Barb lost sight of her and got hopelessly lost on the backside of the hotel at the loading platform. A lovely gal who was scheduled to work High Tea led Barb back to the waiting area and MJ arrived shortly. One of us needs a leash!

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High Tea at Raffles was GRAND! The Tiffin Room is beautiful. The accomplished harpist added ambiance and the service could not be faulted. The Tea experience was one we will treasure for years. After we were seated and given our tea order, a three-tiered tray arrived with finger sandwiches, little cakes and topped with sweets. We were also invited to visit a buffet table at the side of the room where we sampled berry soup, fresh fruit, and luscious layered cakes. As we munched our way through the goodies, scones were served with clotted cream and jam. Two hours later we emerged into the real world and took the Metro Rapid Transit (MRT) back to the ship.

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On our second day in Singapore we first tried to use Mary Jane’s phone card and met with nothing but frustration! Barbara Dempsey was not home and South Carolina family members phones were out of order. Of course, first we had to learn to make the phone card work by putting in some keystrokes not indicated on the phone card; a very helpful transit employee helped us solve that challenge.

Our MRT ride to the Botanic Gardens was easy and, as we exited the station, we walked right into the huge (74-hectacre) Botanic Gardens, which is a green sanctuary in the heart of the city. In 1822, Stamford Raffles developed the first Botanical and Experimental Garden at Fort Canning. About 1860 the Singapore Botanic Gardens was established at its present site.

Our primary destination was the Orchid Garden and off we headed on a twenty-minute walk meandering from one landscaped and undulating area to another past a variety of water features, sculptures, buildings, and plantings. Some of these included a trellis garden, palm valley, rain forest, bamboo garden, ginger gardens, rain forest and symphony lake.

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As we emerged into the Orchid Plaza we were greeted with a beautiful display of the flowers. Over the next several hours we wandered through the orchids bromeliads and ginger taking many photographs. This garden as the park in the whole is divided into sections such as the crane fountain, orchardarium, heritage display, tiger orchid display cool house, mist house, celebrity garden, VIP garden, and golden shower arches. At the end of this segment we visited a lovely orchid garden gift shop and both of us bought several items.

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By this time we were dripping wet, hot, and hungry and chose to have something to eat at the Halia Restaurant located within the Gardens. What a wonderful treat to find ourselves at one of the top restaurants in Singapore! Even thought the day was warm, we treated ourselves to a lamb chop entrée with Chocolate Marquise for dessert! Yum, yum, yum!

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Both were delicious and well prepared and presented with style by a personable, informative server named Kengar. Another memorable meal in lovely surroundings – a totally unexpected experience!

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We took a different route back to the MRT station and sought some relief from the heat and humidity by going underground. Part way back to the ship Mary Jane went on her own, heading to another part of the city near the City Hall. She visited St. Andrews Cathedral before heading down into the Chinatown area to photograph picturesque shutters. After one picture the heat got to her and she headed back to the ship via the MRT and arrived about 5:15 PM very exhausted. So much to see. We look forward to our return trip to Singapore.

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Singapore, an island country and the smallest country in Southeast Asia, is located on the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula. When Singapore acquired independence, having few natural resources, it was socio-politically volatile and economically underdeveloped. Foreign investment and rapid government-led industrialization has since created an economy, which relies on exports of electronics and manufacturing from its port.

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Singapore is known to have the highest standard of living in Asia. Measured by GDP per capita, Singapore is the 22nd wealthiest country with a foreign reserve of $119 billion. Eighty-three percent of Singapore’s population lives in housing estates constructed by the Housing Development Board and nearly half use the public transport system daily.

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As a result of efforts to control motorized traffic, the maintenance of natural greenery, strict regulations on industrial locations and emissions, and other pro-environmental initiatives by the government and the private sector, Singapore has been able to control its pollution level to well within World Health Organization Standard.

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2 Responses to “Tea, Orchids and Followed by Lamb in Singapore”

  1. OMG!  The Raffles Hotel is fab and the gardens are wonderful.

    Sent from my Galaxy S®III

  2. Yum, yum, yum. love it., love it, love it. Alas, I saw nothing to indicate that you popped into the Long Bar to see the bamboo ceiling fans. Such a pity. Such a wonderful reminder of the hotel and of the orchid gardens, which Barbara and I dearly loved on the world trip. I loved Singapore. My favorite city on the trip.

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