I remember so well the first time we talked about the possibility of traveling to Singapore. I was waiting for my boys at the school pickup line when I received a call from Dad. We do this from time to time. Calling each other to check how the day is going so far, or just to say hello. That day we started talking about Formula 1 (season was just starting). And out of the blue, he asked, “We could go to Singapore… what do you think?” Of course my immediate answer was a yes!!
Several destinations were involved in that trip, but this memory belongs to Singapore.
Singapore is a city-state located in Southeast Asia and a very important finance, commercial and transport hub.
No place in the world is perfect, but generally speaking from a tourist point of view, it is admirable how Singapore has taken advantage of its location, natural resources and potentiality to develop itself into a beautiful, modern and orderly city. We were impressed when we arrived.
And then there’s the extremely warm weather and humidity that had us sweating as soon as we were out on the streets. It was horrible! But you can always bypass those things when you’re having a vacation. So we enjoyed ourselves in spite of the city being a giant sauna.
The first day we arrived Dad immediately went and picked up our GP tickets. We were tired and jet lagged so after that we just went directly to sleep.
We stayed at Orchard Road. Singapore’s famous shopping street. Since we were there during F1 weekend it felt really crowded, but still we liked it a lot. Ample sidewalks, many restaurants, high-end shopping complexes, Orchard is so full of life! We toured around for a while, including ION and Paragon malls.
The Waterfront Promenade is another area that was so pleasant to wander along. We went there one afternoon, experienced sunset and stayed there until late. It has amazing architectural views and a variety of restaurants. Some of the views from the Marina included the iconic Marina Bay Sands Hotel, the ArtScience Museum and the Singapore Flyer.
If you stroll on the other side then you see part of the downtown skyline. Sitting down while having some drinks, talking and watching people pass by was something we savored that day.
At nights, the Marina Bay Sands displays a light and water show. The photos taken do not reflect the beauty of the show since we opted to see and enjoy it instead of taking pictures. Also, this was from a while ago, I imagine today´s showings are way better 🙂
The main reason of our travel was the Singapore Grand Prix. It was a race we wanted to experience because of its unique characteristic of taking place under the lights at night. Heat and humidity physically drain the drivers, making the Marina Bay Street Circuit a tough and challenging one, even during nighttime. We were continually sweating on the stands, can’t imagine the drivers on the track.
Having experienced other GP events, I have to say this one was quite entertaining. The view from the stands added an extra touch to the race, just breathtaking! But in terms of logistics, concerning the way they handle the exits of the venue, it was really awful! It took hours for us to leave. They had us contained, forcing us into long and extremely crowded queues. It felt so claustrophobic! Instead of letting the traffic flow naturally like they do it in other places. Honestly, that was unnecessary.
It was an interesting race… Hamilton retired with a gearbox failure, Maldonado as well with hydraulic issues. A crash by Karthikeyan involved a safety car deployment and Schumacher collided with Vergne. In the end, Vettel got first in podium, followed by Button and Alonso in third.
Maroon 5 and Katy Perry were the two concerts held among other events during the weekend. We went to both shows. Needless to say, this was a romantic getaway. Our children stayed home this time.
The day after the race we continued our touring of the city. We started with the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple located in Chinatown. After that we went to the Sri Mariamman Temple which is the oldest Hindu Temple in Singapore.
After visiting Chinatown we headed to Kampong Glam and Bugis junction. It was interesting to see from neighborhood to neighborhood how their cultural diversity reflected in their architecture. The Sultan Mosque, Arab and Bussorah Street, Haji Lane, we walked through the area for a while before leaving to Clarke Quay.
All throughout the day we got to taste, live and learn, even for just a little, the multicultural Singapore.
And saving the best for last, on our final night as a farewell, we ended our day at Gardens by the Bay.
I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to stay there and absorb as much as I could the absolute beauty of it all. 101 hectares sitting in the heart of the city. How many people involved in this project? Landscapers, horticulturists and gardeners, engineers and developers, management experts and so many others, what a magnificent and elegant work they achieved!
Opposite the Gardens and connected by a bridge is the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Another landmark.
We cherish so many good memories from that trip to Singapore. But if I close my eyes, the one memory that comes right away and takes me back like it was only yesterday, is that last night at the Gardens… sitting there, absorbing the view from the distance, with the love of my life by my side.
Lights, nature, peace and above all gratitude.