Friday, 19 June 2009

Riding a Hippo

Usually during the school holidays, I would take niece and nephew out for a day or two. This time as we were passing by Clarke Quay, I asked whether they would like to take a boat ride (as there was nothing else to do anyway). The answer was unanimous, of course. Clarke Quay is a nice place because of the Singapore River and the conserved shophouses which had turned into restaurants, pubs and cafes, and it is more happening at night than day. They did not use wooden boats anymore, now they called it the Hippo Cruise ride (the same company which operates the Duck Tours). The 40 minute ride cost $15 for adult and $9 for child. I felt it was not that cheap considering it was a short ride. But I always subscribe to the mantra "Go for the experience!" and I wanted the kids to have the experience of riding our own boat and be a local tourist for at least once.
The river ride could be quite scenic if you did not mind the hot weather, because you could take nice photos! I love the shot of the Central building opposite Clarke Quay because I captured the clouds on the glass of the whole building! Along the ride, we passed by Boat Quay and Raffles Place, the hub of the business district. There were statues depicting life in the 50s, 60s. For example, there were statues of children jumping into the river for a swim. The tour guide said it was what the kids do in those days. We passed by the Cavenagh Bridge the oldest suspension bridge in Singapore, and also Elgin Bridge, a footbridge which was believed to have existed since 1819 when Sir Stamford Raffles landed in Singapore.
Finally the highlight of the ride was of course to see the Merlion. I read from somewhere that the Singapore River has a Feng Shui pattern of The Carp Jumping Over the Dragon Gate. From Feng Shui perspective, this carp is a female one that breeds offspring, creating a pattern of an adult carp leading baby carps swimming toward the bay. The Dragon Gate is situated at the confluence of the river, represented by the Grand Fullerton Hotel, Victoria Theatre, and the old Parliament House.
Opposite the Merlion, we see the Marina Bay and hotels, floating platform an the Singapore Flyer as well as the Esplanade. Our casino is in construction now and it should be ready soon. Along the river, we saw mock up boats, again depicting the life in those days, we saw Samsui women as construction workers, trishaw riders, coolies.After the ride, we went in search of cold snacks to cool ourselves. We passed by Clarke Quay and the used-to-be shophouses and warehouses. There was a restaurant, C Clinic, which was pretty creative in their decor. They used everything medical as its theme. There are patient beds with operating theater lights and table with wheel chairs which served as tables and chairs in this restaurant. But I won't be dining there if I can help it. :)

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