Archive for January, 2010

Singapore

Our friendly taxi driver was waiting for us at the airport to drive to the hotel while pointing out the various landmarks on the way. The highlighting of the various airport college essays for sale terminals less useful than the war memorials and churches.

Sarah in front of our HotelWe settled into our hotel (The Fullerton) and wandered down to take in The Merlion, Boat Quay, Clarke Quay and the various shopping centres around the CBD/ Chinatown area. Having never visited Singapore before, my preconceptions were all I had to go on, and were predictably shattered by the reality. Singapore is probably the most overtly prosperous city I have ever visited, by which I mean, well organised and clean while still being bustling and vibrant.

Our expedition to Raffles hotel, delayed by what at this time of year is the inevitable rain storm of the day, resulted in he equally inevitable Singapore Sling. The Long Bar certainly evokes a certain colonial romance, with the distinct architecture, odd fan arrangement on the cieling and the straw furniture. They could charge whatever they wanted for the aforementioned beverage in Raffles and the tourists (the colonial harking British ones at any rate) would still flock. Well that seems to be the policy. It was fun and definitely worth the visit.

Next stop was Muthu’s Indian restaurant on the¬†recommendation of a friend – Thanks David! ¬† Meal was great and the waiter pretty much ordered our food for us, even saying at one point to one of our choices “that is no good” – fair enough as the food was great!

I later watched an American history program on the ancient ruins of Rome that exist below modern Rome provided a contrast to BBC approach to documentary film making, placing enthusiasm way above factual content in terms of screen time… Cut to presenter… “unbelievable”… cut to graphics… “Look at this”… “Wow! Incredible herring bone paving… called that ‘cos it looks like fish scales” – no shit. I kept watching, so I suppose it worked.

We also took a trip to the Night Safari which was really great.

Brisbane City and Australia Zoo

On Sunday 3rd January we headed into Brisbane city to have a look around the State capital.

Our first port of call was The Brisbane Wheel, located on the South Bank… which is not a monument to the invention of the wheel in Brisbane which would have been a bold claim indeed… rather a mini version of the London Eye that affords great views of Brisbane and a commentary to boot. As a way of getting a quick feel for where you are in location to everything else it is ideal.

We decided that as the weather was a little ropey, we would take in Sherlock Holmes at the cinema next to where we had stopped for a drink. It is a thoroughly enjoyable romp so long as you don’t think about it too much – devoid of much of Guy Richie’s standard cockney pishilating, it is actually pretty good.

On the Monday, with Simon working we decided to attempt to go to Australia Zoo again… our first attempt at a visit having being aborted due to an over successful cereal packet promotion.

The great thing about Austraila Zoo is how close and personal you can get to the animals, and it would certainly be fantastic for children of nearly all ages. We saw crocodiles being fed, stroked the kangaroos and had parrots flying so close you could have grabbed them in the main arena – magical!

The highlight was the tigers, simply brilliant and a wonderful demonstration of the majesty of the animal and why it should be preserved in the wild – there are less than 3,000 left.

The slight downside is the disneyfication of the attraction and incessant promotion of the Irwin family which rubs me up the wrong way. Bindi Irwin’s singing was just plain odd.

New Year in Maroochydore

Sarah, Simon and RachelWe headed to Rachel’s dads brewrey (how handy was that) to pick up the beer before we headed North up the coast from Brisbane for Maroochydore to move into our apartment and celebrate New Year.

The apartment was ideal – two bedrooms, sea views and a roof terrace.

The previous evening we had booked (after many frantic calls) a table at Belissimo, a restaurant on the front in Maloolooba. Our expectations tempered by the lateness of our booking, we headed along the coast from our apartment towards Maloolooba. We were not to worry as although not about to make any Michelin guide, it was perfectly placed in the centre and near the beach and provided a perfect vantage point for the ensuing mayhem.

As an aside, I really wish Australia would force restaurants to have toilets… just really annoying.

We were not only see in the New Year but the arrest of a young man and a crowd pleasing brawl involving two young female revellers.

We left our table for The Bells, catching the New Year fireworks from the beach which was fantastic – being the first time I have seen in the New Year in the southern hemisphere, it was a delight to be able to enjoy the balmy temperatures and enjoy the waves lapping against the shore while watching fireworks.

Thanks to Rachel and Simon for sorting it all out and inviting us along!