July 30th, 2005

krazy koati

Down by the riverside

Now today was a chance to do some honest touristy exploring downtown, in the vicinity of the Singapore River. This got us off the MRT at Raffles Place, which is not the exit for Raffles City or the Raffles Hotel. Singapore severely overloads its street names, to the point that it has such absurd things like Ang Mo Kio Street 64. But this got us past a fanboy store (selling things like Lord of the Rings swords and My Little Ponies and other such items too collectible to play with) out to the river.

The Singapore river was a centerpiece of commerce through to the 1970s, with abundant unloading of cargo from ships at sea and brought to shore in bumboats for trade there. Then to promote tourism and clean up the polluted river all the actual commerce types were bought out, skyscrapers built on the river sides, and the entire river bank covered with a dense layer of restaurants, statues, and plaques commemorating where historical sites were before they were moved to somewhere more convenient, a recurring theme in Singapore development.

Now, one of the many tourist attractions is the Wacky Duck, a duck-painted boat. We didn't go on this. We instead went on a more ordinary boat tour, that went from a point a bit below Clarke Quay up to Riverside Point, then turned back, went down the business district side so we could see the statue of boys tossing one another in the river, out to Merlion Park and some great places to take pictures of the small and the normal Merlion statues (we haven't been to Sentosa for the giant Merlion yet). Then we got back, and took pictures of some standard things, like the statues of cats, or the Coleman Bridge. We did get pictures of the warning sign about bringing vehicles of more than 3 cwt onto the Cavenaugh Bridge, which everyone entering Singapore has to photograph, by law. The large letters outside Esplanade reading out ``I WAS HERE'' aren't required, but we got a picture there to be safe.

A couple other parties of tourists asked me to take pictures of them, at the ``I WAS HERE'' sign or from Merlion Park opposite the river from the Esplanade. I have no explanation for this phenomenon, except that I'm a friendly-looking guy with a beard, so probably I look like I know how to take a competent picture. (I think I do, but how would they know?)

Trivia: The word ``bacon'' comes from Norman French. Source: The English Language, C.L. Wren.

Currently Reading: Longitude, Dava Sobel.