Merlion

Merlion

The 26th Singapore River Regatta brought together hundreds of fit competitors and provided us with special memories.  Heats of five boats with ten paddlers, a navigator and a drum beater competed enthusiastically in the Boat Quay area.  Hawkers tried to lure us to eat at their riverside restaurant.  We lunched on Indian food near the South Side Bridge and drank the local Tiger beer.  The River Walk was shady but the high humidity wilts me.  We boarded a Hippo River Cruise just escaping a short downpour.  The Merlion, a lion with a mermaid’s tail, is Singapore’s national logo.  Of course no trip to Singapore would be complete without stopping at the Raffle’s Hotel Long Bar for a Singapore Sling.  Every day they serve about 1,000 of their signature drink created in 1905.  At $22, they’re making money.  Our day started by participating in part of the English language service at St. Andrews Cathedral which was built with convict labor in 1862.  We then crossed the Padang where a rugby scrum was taking place.  The neo-classical style City Hall, completed in 1929, and the Supreme Court, built in 1939, were visible across the flat field.  We took an underpass to the Esplanade Theatres on the Bay with its distinctive “Durian” shape.  Christine was our informative and talkative volunteer guide at the Asian Civilisations Museum.  She gave us a quick overview of the Southeast Asia and China Galleries with an emphasis on the current special Lafayette Photographic Collection of asian visitors in London.  After the tour we viewed the Singapore River Gallery.  The diorama of Chinese laborer’s living conditions gave some indication of the hardships these men faced and why opium would relieve the pain of daily life.  Until recently the Singapore River was a cess pool.  Now the entire area is attractive and inviting with plans to make the river a reservoir of fresh water.

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