Subject: Re: Singapore Suggestions?
Hi to all,

I haven't seen any mention of Raffles Hotel in the posts re Singapore. It is probably such a touristy, cliche kind of thing you may not be interested, but my travel companion and I enjoyed it -- even to a Singapore Sling in the Raffles Bar. To me it's tantamount to going to NYC and not seeing the Empire State. Yes, everyone does it, but it seems right. At the time we went (in the 80's) we were able to visit some of the rooms, the one the writer, Conrad, always used, for instance. I knew zilch about Conrad, but it was interesting to see what the sleeping rooms were like - all light and white wicker, pretty chintzy prints, etc. I would have loved to stay there just for the nostalgia....sort of going back in time.

We also spent a whole afternoon at an antique collector's place rather far out in a residential area. We had asked our guide about where to find a good collection of jade, and she called and made arrangements. A very nice young man picked us up at the hotel in a new Mercedes and drove us there. It was far enough that, at one point, we looked at each other with some degree of apprehension, wondering if we "were being taken for a ride". I have kept his card all these years but, naturally, cannot locate it right now when I want it. After a while, he excused himself for a few minutes.

Someone came in with a lovely tea service, including a full tea, and then our host returned with a key to a heavily padlocked door in a corner of the main room. He said he had secured permission to show us his Grandfather's collection of ivory...and that he had not been allowed to go in that room himself until his 21st birthday. We could scarcely believe our good fortune and our eyes. It was a room about eight- or ten-feet square centered with an oblong table, on which sat a carved ivory sailing ship, probably four feet long, with all the rigging and crew scrambling on the deck - unbelievable! The walls were lined with shelves and cubicles to display this fabulous collection. He said his Grandfather (originally from China) had traveled back there a couple of times each year for many years, to visit family, and always returned with more pieces for his ivory collection. He was now too old and frail to make the trips. It was an absolutely enchanting afternoon. While the things on display (not the ivory) were for sale, we each bought only a couple of things, but there was no "selling." It was more just a social visit - one I shall never forget. I will continue to look for his card, but if you talk to a guide they could probably put you in touch - or even a concierge at your hotel. It would be worth your time.

Lou, in Lakeway, TX