Singapore & New Zealand
The record of our trip: January 27th to March 3rd 2003
After Mike and Gill have kindly taken us to Heathrow's Terminal 3, getting us there for 1:45pm, we are soon relaxing in Singapore
Airlines' Business Class Lounge (named the Raffles Lounge) prior to our take-off at 7:12pm on Flight SQ 319.
The aircraft is a Boeing 747-400 'Megatop' and our seats in Raffle Class are upstairs, with the front section of the plane being accessed
by a separate door from Economy. The Business Class seats are superbly comfortable and we are served impeccably by the beautifully
attired staff who constantly address us by name. After the customary champagne before departure, we are served an excellent meal and
from the wide range of cocktails available we obviously choose Singapore Slings (right).
Our route is via Prague; north of Iran;
northern India; the Bay of Bengal; the Straits of Malacca; and the west coast of Malaysia. We land at Singapore at 2:52pm, having
flown 6,761-miles in 10 hours, 40 minutes.
A driver is waiting for us and in less than an hour after landing at Changi Airport
we are in Room 2418 of the Conrad International Hotel.
The weather is very humid, with a cloudy sky and the temperature about 88F. With the assistance of the concierge desk we book for
tonight's Night Safari, then take a short walk to the waterfront to view the Merlion - a water-spouting creature that is a cross between
a mermaid and Singapore's emblem: a lion
The Night Safari commences at 6:30pm when a coach collects us from the Conrad. After other pick-ups we transfer to another bus that
takes us to the north of Singapore Island. A tour of the park is then made on a tram from which the various nocturnal animals can
be seen in the special lighting. The tram passes through eight different 'regions' of the world: Himalayan Foothills; Nepalese River
Valley; Indian Subcontinent; Equatorial Africa; Indo-Malaya; Asian Riverine Forest; South American Pampas; and Burmese Hillside.
the 45-minute tram ride, our tour guide takes us along the Fishing Cat Trail before the 9pm animal show, only for this to be cancelled
due to light rain. Independently, we re-walk the Fishing Cat Trail and then walk the Leopard Trail. The highlights of all these viewings
are a Red Panda; the Fishing Cats (we see one catch a fish); a Clouded Leopard; and the Otters.
Arriving back at the Conrad at
11pm, we make use of the excellent shower again before retiring. It is almost exactly 24 hours since we woke up (yesterday)
Day 3, Wednesday, January 29th: this morning we take a City Tour that has five distinct venues: Little India; the Singapore River;
Chinatown; a jewellery factory (of little interest); and the National Orchid Garden. The weather is again dull, hot, and humid
The Little India area of Singapore is located to the north of what was historically the British Colonial district. The legacy of the
Indians (many of them convicts) brought here by the East India Company is their shops, and the smells, sounds, and sights that
we experience as we walk through the area
Arms folded and looking thoughtfully out to sea, the white polymarble statue of Raffles at the Singapore River is a copy of the original
bronze statue (below) located at the Victoria Memorial Hall
Anderson Bridge on the Singapore River