|Subject: Report on trip to Sinapore and Indonesia|
On October 20, we left the U.S. via Milwaukee and Newark to Singapore.
The flight was the longest we had ever been on. We made one stop in
Amersterdam. Our ultimate destination was Surabaya, Indonesia and our
son's wedding. Unfortunately, we could not be gone longer than 9 days.
We flew from Newark on Singapore Airlines, which was very nice, even in coach. We were fortunate to get the seats in the back by the windows where there were only 2 seats in the window rows which gave us some extra room to move our legs. The food was very good for airline food, and the flight attendants very nice. The women flight attendants were absolutely beautiful like porcelain dolls!!
Changi airport is quite amazing. I don't think it took more that 10 minutes from the time we landed until we got our bags and were in a taxi heading for our hotel at 6:45 a.m.
You can't help but be impressed with Singapore. It is absolutely, beautiful, clean, orderly, etc, and you see that on your very first impression.
We stayed at the Westin Stamford which is a lovely hotel. We were very comfortable there. Edmund Tan, who is on this discussion group, took a chance and suggested that we get in touch with him, which we did. There was a message waiting for us from him at the hotel.
After a nap, we walked down Orchard Road almost to the end of the shopping center. We also walked around the Raffles shopping Center that includes our hotel. It was kind of a time and space warp to go so far and find all of the stores there that we had just left!! Singapore is HOT, and it was a mistake, probably to walk so far on our first day. We didn't make it all of the way back walking.
We met Edmund for dinner, and had a most enjoyable evening. We ate at a wonderful Chinese restaurant in the Four Seasons Hotel where Edmund is the Concierge. He took us around to see some night sights in the downtown area. Lots of restaurants, all making an effort to get you inside.
The next morning, Edmund met us at the hotel and we walked to Little India, saw the market and walked in the streets that were decorated for the celebration of Deepavali ( I think). As I understand it, this is a month long celebration. The market is filling with sides of meat hanging and all kinds of produce and other food products. As I understand it there are food stalls there too, but we didn't eat there. We ate at a vegetarian restaurant close by called Vila Komalas where we had a wonderful breakfast and tea. Edmund took us to China town with closed streets for pedestrians and for people to sell things from stores and carts. It was wonderful having Edmund as our guide for part of the time.
We ate Peranakan food at the Blue Ginger which was mentioned in the October Gourmet. Peranakan is the combination of Malaysian and chinese food. Although the food was good, it was not as tasty as the light meal that we had at the food court in the Raffles Shopping Center which was some kind of Malaysian curry, I think. We were not sure, but it was wonderful.
Edmund had recommended the night zoo, but we were pretty tired after eating.
On Wednesday we took a cab to the Botanical Gardens which were just amazing. We ate breakfast at the Hawkers stalls just outside the gardens. We tried to have the roti recommended in the October Gourmet at stall 8 but it was not open when we arrived but was by the time we left. We had roti stuffed with egg and onion that was wonderful. As a gardner, the botanical garden was a very special place for me. The orchid, which we hold dear, is the national flower of Singapore and you see them growing wild around trees and elsewhere. The Orchid Garden in the Botanical Garden has over 100 kinds of orchids growing there. There is also an amazing water lilly garden surrounded by topiary. I don't know if it is much cooler very early in the morning, but it was very hot and we could not stay over an hour and half to walk around. The garden opens at 5:30 a.m., I believe. In the December Gourmet there is an article about Singapore, mainly the botanical garden, and also a short article about the 10 things not to miss in Singapore.
To keep in touch, there was a cybercafe just around the corner from the hotel which was $1.50 singapore for a half hour. We were always able to get a computer there.
We left in the early afternoon from Changi for Surabaya. Surabaya is the antithesis of Singapore. It is crowded, polluted, dirty, unattractive, poor. It is not a place where you would want to walk anywhere. It is a city of 4 million, but all tour books say that it is mostly just a transfer point to Bali for tourists. I would agree with this, although our son said that he didn't mind living there when he taught English as a second language there.
Our time there was mostly taken up with our son's wedding, although our new daughter in law's sister took us to get fabric and other things. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Surabaya which was lovely--kind of an oasis of greenery in this city. I had a wonderful 2 hour massage for $20 and the hotel was $44 a night with a fabulous buffet breakfast included.
If you would like to find out about Javanese weddings, please see the site that I put up at http://my.athenet.net/~missnerm/pdwedding.html
Michele Missner Appleton, Wisconsin