Saturday, May 20, 2017

Singapore (May 5 - June 30)

When we left Singapore, with Jenny and family staying behind, a return trip was in our future. We finally picked May 5. Our original plan was to leave Singapore on July 5 and fly to Paris for 2 weeks. We decided to wait until June to book the flight to Paris - good thing, since our plans were changing!

Between the time we booked our flight to Singapore and actually got there, Jenny announced she quit her job and travel the world with her family! Her last day in SG was to be June 30 (a week before we were planning on leaving). The family was flying to Copenhagen to start their adventure . Since we had not booked our flight to Paris, we decided to head to Copenhagen, too.

I'm not about to give a day-by-day, or even a week-by-week, description of our visit. Except for a couple of cases that I'll describe below, it was just like "returning home", where we were comfortable with the roads, food, transportation and shops. We also reconnected with many of our friends. We even attended 2 book club meetings, as if we had never left the group.

First, some quick observations:
  • The weather is still very hot and, according to some of our friends, getting hotter.
  • Our Singaporean friends we met at Central Green Condos, who included us so generously in their lives, happily greeted our return.
  • Lee Tai Fu is still one of my favorite bar/restaurants.
  • Transportation is really convenient and good.
  • Food is wonderful, with no lack of places to eat.
  • It's hot (just in case someone forgot).

Early in our move to Singapore (08/31/2014), Pat and I discovered an air-raid shelter with a virtual geocache (GC4XC21 - TBH Trail - The Labyrinth). We could not enter the shelter, but we followed a video (you can access it here) to search for clues and develop the solution to the geocache. Oh, how we wanted to really see the inside.

A friend of ours started a local tour group - Janes Singapore Tours so we went on a tour of Tiong Bahru where we lived for 2 years. The tour added to our knowledge and appreciation of our old neighborhood.

A surprise addition to the tour, for the first time, they had arranged to enter the air-raid shelter. What a treat. This shelter was designed and built into the building at 78 Moh Guan Terrace, in 1939, before the war with Japan. It has long been closed to the public, except for special occasions. When I enter, I immediately noticed the musty smell - very little ventilation. The florescent light have been added - I suspect it was very dark in here during the war.












In addition to the shelter, another highlight was the murals painted on various buildings in Tiong Bahru.





We took another of Jane's tours, Tiles, temples & more!. This tour started downtown, near the river, and followed what used to be the SG shoreline. It was a very informative tour. Highly recommend this, and all of her tours, if you are ever in Singapore.

We started with a visit to an underground mosque. 
Inside the underground mosque




Yueh Hai Ching Temple
Our guide describes the Yueh Hai Ching Temple history



Yueh Hai Ching Temple (1)

Yueh Hai Ching Temple (2)

Yueh Hai Ching Temple (3)

Yueh Hai Ching Temple (4)




Thian Hock Keng 
A guardian of Thian Hock Keng 



Thian Hock Keng view
Thian Hock Keng is surrounded by modern buildings


Nagore Darghh Indian Muslim Heritage Center

We listened to a history of Indian Muslims in Singapore


Heritage tile collector Victor Lim
at the Paranakan Tile Museum






Another fun day we had in Singapore, was our ride out to St John's Island, a smaller island that is part of Singapore. Pat and I were accompanied by the grand kids and Mary, the helper who lives with Jenny's family.






We also took the boys to see the Yayoi Kusama, "Life  is the Heart of a Rainbow" exhibit at the National Gallery of Singapore. This was a most enjoyable exhibit that even the boys liked.














As mid-June arrived, it was time to start packing and selling stuff. Jenny and Tom had decided to ship a very small amount of things to the U.S.A.; all else, had to go. The boys and Grandma Pat worked hard to organize the toys and books to help decide what got packed and what got sold. With 2 week before the end of June, all the beds in the apartment were sold and taken away. We now moved to the floor. Slowly, the apartment emptied, especially after a couple of days of impromptu "moving" sales.



When most everything had been picked up and the shippers had come, we moved to our friend, Jane's house, while her family were out of town. Great timing and so kind of Jane and Sunder. With a pool table, boxes of Legos and other toys, the boys were happy. Plus we got to sleep in nice soft beds.






Very early on June 30, we left Jane's for our next adventure. The Bonk-Morgans had a 6:40 AM flight; Pat and I, 7:40 AM. We were all headed to Copenhagen, Denmark.

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