Friday, September 05, 2014

AAR - Singapore - Monday Night Walkabout & MBS

After the rain subsided late Monday afternoon I went back out instead of succumbing to the lure of the soft bed and air conditioning...
Singapore's Chinatown was a few blocks away and I spent several hours wandering the narrow walkways and streets filled with kiosks of cheap souvenirs and really tempting food.

There was quite a decorative display on New Bridge Road-

I was reminded of the very dim memories of my childhood in Chicago when we would visit Michigan Avenue at Christmas time.
Except here it was 90 degrees and smelled awful.

As dinner time rolled around I made some decisions that non-adventurous folks might find questionable-
I decided on dining eating at some of the little alfresco eateries on the street in Chinatown.

I indulged in an appetizer of tasty char sui pork, then I bit the bullet and ordered a dish of chili crab which was really messy and very spicy-hot.

The chili crab is deep fried chunks of chopped crab you pick apart with your fingers - looking for nice chunks of succulent crab meat in the red chili sauce - a sweet/hot mixture that covers the dish and is served with little buns called mantou... I would have preferred some nice slices of French bread like we get in New Orleans to soak up all that liquid love...but when in Singapore, well, know the rest-
Listen to Uncle Jay-
If you go to Singapore, eschew the Raffle's Long Bar and the $40 Singapore Sling-
Hustle your ass over to Smith Street near New Bridge Road and get a Chili Crab.
No regrets.

The next day I had to go look at the site for another part of the event.
The festivities would be held at the Marina Bay Sands complex...
Specifically, in the skating rink, in the mall, across the street from the MBS Hotel.

I was up early anyway, and the place wasn't that far from my hotel so I figured I'd hoof it through the Downtown Core, past The Fullerton and down along the bay.
It was still early and overcast- only 80 degrees yet. What could possibly go wrong?

As soon as I left the Esplanade and got out from under cover, downpour.
I took cover in a tiny overhang near the Floating Stadium waiting for the deluge to stop.
It finally slowed to a drizzle and I made for the Helix Bridge to cross the downtown core inlet of Marina Bay.

Of course, just as I committed to the bridge- more rain.
The concrete on the bridge is glass-smooth- nice on a dry day- but deadly in the rain...
I barely made it over bridge without busting my ass- One hand on the rail for support, one arm outstretched for balance, high-stepping as fast as I can...

I got to the mall and spent 20 minutes toweling off.
(Lately, and especially in hot/humid climates I have taken to carrying a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy-suggested accessory- Carrying a towel at all times.
In this case, one of the micro-cell sport towels. Really soaks up sweat (or rain) and wrings out completely.)
I was mostly composed when my meeting time rolled around.
They could barely tell I had been caught out in the deluge, except when my shoes sloshed and squeaked a bit as we did our survey.

Again- the details would bore you, but suffice to say the event will be interesting.
Kinda wish I was going to be there to see it.
We broke up - I had a wrap up meeting scheduled back in the office near the hotel later in the afternoon, but I had some time to kill, so I took a wander around the MBS before heading back to the Hotel...

The Marina Bay Sands is quite the complex...
Giant three-tier mall including skating ring, a monstrous underground two-floor casino (bottom floor=smoking, upper=non-smoking), and three residence towers, topped by a giant structure containing a bar, restaurant, and pools/spas - it looks like, for all intents and purposes, like a hurricane deposited a luxury yacht on top of a three-building hotel.

The middle portion of the structure is a huge infinity pool...
To which I would have to say "Nofuckingway, Jose".

Seriously- nofuckingway.
I know a little bit about Asian construction standards, and a tiny bit more about seismology.
No. Not going there.

It sure is intriguing though..

If you want to go up and walk around and you're not staying in the hotel it'll cost you $14SD... There's a nice bar- KuDeTa - (Coup d'etat, get it? Heh) where you can go over your plans for World Domination with the rest of the cabal and enjoy an even pricier Singapore Sling ($50SD).
Interesting drink on the menu- Tony Stark's Pepper - peppercorn infused Grey Goose vodka, caramel syrup, lemon juice & seared pineapple.

One Dark & Stormy later (after a long discussion with a really cool bartender and manager regarding their rum offerings and convincing them to look into the Old Bundy line) I was outta there and back on terra firma (or in this case terra moistura) and heading back to the hotel...
The wrap meeting went off without a hitch, and I was back in the hotel working on my survey report all evening. I had a 4:00am departure for Changi on my schedule and I was not taking any chances on missing this one...



Old NFO said...

Geez, the damn Long Bar has gone up AGAIN??? And agree on that infinity pool... Just plain nuts. You CAN get some good food off the street vendors! BTDT!

kx59 said...

Very cool pics J.
The construction on the big buildings might surprise you.
I've had some very complicated cable suspended glass systems come out of Singapore that were fabricated to some incredibly tight tolerances.
The vernacular architecture I'd give the hairy eyeball. The big buildings I wouldn't be so concerned.

The Big Guy said...

Alright KX... You can come along next time and get up-close-and-personal with the hereafter on the edge of the Skypark. I'll watch from the bar at the PanPac.