Sunday, March 28, 2010

Singapore: One Fullerton

My second day in Singapore was a very long day, but while I was with my colleagues the entire day, we had a fun evening after our day time meeting. We went over to One Fullerton which is an area by the water with many restaurants. Across the water, there was a new hotel being built that is composed of three towers connected at the top by something which to me (and it seems it's only me) looks like a boat.



This was also the area where the Singapore Flyer could be seen. This is basically a huge ferris wheel (I believe the largest in the world), which is beautifully lit at night. There is also some sort of sphere being built - I am not sure what this will be when complete.



Singapore is a large city with many different areas, but I would equate the One Fullerton area as being part of "downtown". I believe downtown is actually considered a much larger area, but this is the area with all the large skyscrapers.



Singapore's most famous symbol seems to be the Merlion. My understanding is that there are 5 of them in Singapore, this one being the original and the second largest. Apparently it is meant to represent the fishing industry that no longer exists in Singapore and the lion that Raffles saw when he first founded Singapore (which means Lion City). The Merlion is shown on most souvenirs as a symbol of Singapore, including cookies, chocolates, etc., shaped like the statue.


Merlion




The Fullerton Hotel

Singapore: Chinatown

I was recently asked to attend a meeting in Singapore for work. I'd never been overseas to either Europe or Asia, so I jumped at the chance to go and see a different part of the world. I was there for about 6 full days (with a very brief detour to Malaysia). While I had a good bit of business to attend to, I was also glad to have some free time to explore. For the next few days I will be posting pictures from different aspects of this trip.

The very first day I got there, I ended up getting a pretty bad cold, but I didn't want to stay in the hotel the whole day so I decided to go over to Chinatown and walk around. One of the main things that brought me there was the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. I had seen it in my guidebook and it sounded like a really interesting place.


Buddha Tooth Relic Temple




entrance


incense

As I was arriving at the temple, there was a ceremony going on. The main room was filled with people, both praying and observing. The room was very large and two stories high (with a mezzanine level above). There were flowers everywhere, decorations hanging from the ceiling, large statues of Buddha at the front, and as you can see from the pictures, it was extremely colorful. There was also a lot of food to buy as offerings, as well as candles and incense.


ceremony


praying


alter

There were several more floors above this main room that included various more ceremony rooms, a Buddhism library, a museum about the life of Buddha, a tea room and shop, and apparently a garden on the roof, but since it was pouring rain, I didn't get to see that.


dragon drawing


guardian lions

In the Buddha museum, there were obviously many different depictions of Buddha. Here's some of the more interesting ones...


my favorite Buddha statue











After leaving the temple, I explored the rest of Chinatown and found an area with many different shops selling mostly tourist souvenirs. It was an interesting area but not too much different than the various Chinatown areas in US cities.





I also went to another area of Chinatown on another day when I was looking for a yarn shop (of which I found only one the entire trip). I loved how pretty this street was with its amazing flowers and trees (some of which were silk on closer inspection!) and pretty bridge.