Homeward bound – part 2

After a very pleasant night at the Crowne Plaza hotel at Singapore’s Changi Airport we’re off on our last but one leg home to dear ol’ Blighty … just another 6,914 miles to get under our belt … … simples 😀 Our journey took us over : Malaysia; India; Pakistan; Afghanistan; Turkmenistan; Russia; Ukraine; Poland; Germany and Holland. We passed over some pretty spectacular and rugged countryside especially in...

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Homeward bound – part 1

Well we’re on our way home. This time we travelled on the mighty Airbus A380. A most impressive leviathan of the air. The A380 has a length of 72.7m which is only 1.1m longer than a 747 but can carry 96 more passengers! Its secret lies in the fact that it contains 2 decks. Whilst the interior on the main deck, which we were on, is nearly the same as the Boeing 777 (3; 4; 3; seat arrangement) which we travelled down on on both legs of of journey to Oz, we noticed differences straight away. For one it’s incredibly quiet when compared with the Boeings. On take off it hardly felt the engines were on let alone being pushed to maximum capacity. Another major difference, although one we didn’t see being in “Cattle class” economy class, is the existence of suites … yes suites! In 1st class on the A380, for Singapore Air at least, you can have a suite. A suite is effectively your own enclosed cabin containing video screen entertainment, a recliner seat AND a separate full flat bed and...

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Singapore -Origins

Mar 15, 12

Sir Stamford Thomas Raffles (1781-1826) first set foot on the island of Singapore on 29th January 1819 which was then just a small fishing village. Raffles, an agent of the British East India Company ventured to Singapore hoping to establish a free port and a halfway point for traders along the China-India trade routes. After signing the preliminary treaty with a local leader, the official treaty with Sultan Hussein of Johore-Riau was signed on 6 February 1819, giving the British the right to establish a trading port on the island. However the Dutch protested as Singapore was then part of the Dutch Empire. The dispute was resolved with the signing of the 1824 Anglo-Dutch treaty whereby the British acquired Mallorca, Penang and Singapore while the Dutch gained Bencoelen (present day Bengkulu) and the rest of Indonesia. In August 1824 another Treaty of Friendship and Alliance was signed giving the British governance of Singapore. From the 19th Century, Singapore’s success as the “Great Commercial Emporium of the East” owed much to its free port status and strategic location. The Singapore River became the main artery of trade, where port, trading and warehouse facilities developed along the riverbanks. In 1867 Singapore became a British Crown-Colony after the transfer of the Straits Settlements from the British Administration in India to the Colonial Office in London. It remained so until 1959 when Singapore achieved self-government, gaining full independence in...

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Singapore Nights

Singapore really comes alive at night. It seems to take on a whole new feel and the cityscape vibrates energy especially from the way that the buildings are lit up. One of the most spectacular of all the mega constructions in Singapore is the Marina Bay Sands. It consists if three 55 storey towers each joined at the summit by a long curving structure in the shape of a boat. This ‘boat’ contains a swimming pool, buildings and gardens. The palm trees growing all along the sides can clearly be seen from the marina below. By day …. By night … Here’s the man himself … Sir Stamford Thomas Raffles. This statue of him is on the exact spot where he first set foot on the island of Singapore on January 28th 1819. Nothing can really epitomise more the progress and wealth of the city than the backdrop behind him. Something neither he nor his contemporaries could imagine would happen in only 200...

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Colonial Echos

We rather smugly thought we’d beaten the jet lag and had gotten our bodies into its new routine smoothly. However 4:00am in the morning found us both wide awake so we resigned ourselves to a few more wakeful hours until we would get up for breakfast … 8 hours later though we woke up decidedly confused at 12:30 in the afternoon! Determined not to waste any time we headed out as soon as we could by taxi to that most famous epitome of colonial rule, Raffles Hotel. As we glided up to the front entrance we were met by an Indian concierge dressed in full Raj regalia. As he opened the door of the cab the sense of Imperial decadence I was feeling at this point was somewhat dented when he asked if we were guests, upon which we duly replied ‘No’ and we’re then shown round the back. We had come to Raffles to soak up a little of the atmosphere that must have pervaded Singapore when it was a British colony and of course drink the famous ‘Singapore Sling’ cocktail in the Long Bar. We weren’t disappointed and it wasn’t hard to imagine the British upper classes along with other Europeans languidly enjoying the comforts of the hotel, their footsteps and conversations echoing down the cool marble corridors and upper walkways of the hotel. The Singapore sling was developed by the barman at the Raffles Long bar in 1915. I’ve tried a few in different cocktail bars but the one mixed at Raffles is without doubt the smoothest and best I’ve ever tasted. It’s hardly surprising though as our barman told us that they’d served approximately 150-200 on that day alone … so practice really does make...

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