Scorpio in South East Asia

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Time for a Singapore Sling
(Click on any photo or map for a blow up)
On the 30th of September we sailed across the Singapore Strait from Nongsa Point on Batam island in Indonesia to Raffles Marina in Singapore. The distance is roughly 42 miles, but only about 30 as the crow flies, because this is probably the busiest shipping strait in the world. Constant vigilance and square angles when crossing the shipping lanes are required.
A panorama across the Singapore Strait with several ships and the skyskrapers downtown.
raffles lighthouse
Containership crossing ahead
Oil or gas rig
Raffles lighthouse
Once again, we had the good fortune to be able to cross over one more item on the "bucket list": been there, done that!

I'm naturally referring to the sipping of a Singapore Sling at the Long Bar of the Raffles hotel. Unfortunately there's no photo of the drinking session, but proof enough is provided by the images below.

raffles front
raffles courtyard
Yes, where else? Been there, done that!
A Maserati at the Raffles Hotel.
The Courtyard at Raffles Hotel.
long bar
the sling
The Long Bar at Raffles Hotel
Proof of purchase
The Singapore Sling
Singapore was founded as a British trading colony in 1819. It joined the Malaysian Federation in 1963 but separated two years later and became independent. Subsecuently Singapore became a success story; one of the world's most prosperous countries with strong international trading links (its port is one of the world's busiest in terms of tonnage handled). We realize that our readers probably know Singapore better than many other countries where we have visited lately like, say, Indonesia. Nevertheless, here are some amazing facts (according to the CIA World Fact Book):

Life expectancy at birth is 82 years, which is the 4th highest in the world.

Singapore has a highly developed and successful free-market economy. It enjoys a remarkably open and corruption-free environment, stable prices, and a per capita GDP higher than that of most developed countries. The economy depends heavily on exports, particularly in consumer electronics, information technology products, pharmaceuticals, and on a growing service sector.

little india
Little India
Detail of temple roof ornament
Inside Veeramakaiamman temple
Religions in Singapore are: Buddhist 42.5%, Muslim 14.9%, Taoist 8.5%, Hindu 4%, Catholic 4.8%, other Christian 9.8%, other 0.7%, atheists 14.8% - all apparently living in peace with each other.
Chinese temples
The Sultan mosque
Laughing Buddha
Languages: Mandarin 35%, English 23%, Malay 14.1%, Hokkien 11.4%, Cantonese 5.7%, Teochew 4.9%, Tamil 3.2%, other Chinese dialects 1.8%, other 0.9% (2000 census).
View over the CBD from the EU Embassy
Jane and Holger at their residence
We were fortunate to be invited for a stay of a few days to the home of old friends Holger and his wife Jane, who shared their local knowledge of Singapore with us. Holger is the EU-Ambassador to Singapore.
Raffles Marina is not a bad place where to pamper yourself for a while after 3 months in Indonesia,
but as always: it is nice to arrive, but also to leave - in the long run, after all, this is not really our cup of tea!
The photo above is a panorama of 3 merged images, but the angle is still not wide enough to show 3 more pools!

I am uploading this report at Raffles Marina on October 13, 2009. Tomorrow we plan to sail to Malaysia, where we will probably clear into the country within 3 days at Port Dickson, some 140nm further up the Malacca Strait. Pirates beware!

Stay tuned...

To view some of these photos as a (manual) slide show, look HERE.