Orchard Road - or Day 1: Arrival, soaking and seeing some sights

Orchard Road Travel Blog

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View from the hotel window.
The plane touched down at Changi airport, I received my first stamp in my passport (initially exciting but the novelty soon wore off as the trip continued), managed to find my luggage and my mind so we hit the town. Due to time differences and jet lag, we had the day and were determined not to waste it.

Despite all my preparations, I couldn't believe the heat as we left the beautifully cool air conditioned airport. It is literally like walking into a wall. Luckily taxis in Singapore are plentiful, cheap, comfy and air conditioned which was a real boon. Our hotel, the Grand Central (somewhat ostentatiously named) was in the centre of the main city near the shopping complex of Orchard Road.
View from the hotel window.
We ditched our bags in our disappointingly standard 'Deluxe' rooms and headed out, slathered in factor 50+ (I can burn under a candle).

Orchard Road seemed to be a shoppers paradise - so many malls, so many stores. Amusingly, one of the first we saw was Marks and Sparks, inspiring a Wizard of Oz style "no place like home" minor amusement; before the inevitable slew of American chains popped up. There are still enough small, unique and interesting shops to keep me amused, but shopping wasn't our thing, so we avoided the air conditioned luxury of the gaping maws of capitalism to meander up and down the road on foot. I would kinda have liked to visit the House of Condom though...

Then, the rain came. Suddenly. Explosively. Thunderously. We were caught in the middle on no where, a fifteen minute walk from a mall as the heavens opened and dumped everything they had on our heads.
Orchard Road.
Oh well. Rather wet we sloshed back to the hotel for a shower and change of clothes (also repacking bags to include umbrellas and plastic macs), and undaunted returned to see what else the city could throw at us.

We headed further down town, through the colonial district so stamped by the hand of Singapore's founder Sir Stanford Raffles. I approved of Chijmes conversion of a church into restaurants, and the architecture was soaring, white and interesting. This part of the city bustled with people as it was near the universities, and number of malls thinned slightly as their size increased, which was much more pleasant as less people tried to hawk me a suit ("I make you long trousers at short price!") or digital camera. We passed briefly through the courtyard of the Raffles Hotel, which is incredible both in terms of decor and price. We slung ourselves out of there instead of sipping a Singapore Sling and headed for liquid refreshment elsewhere.

We also saw the war memorial for the first time, a soaring structure that commemorates the damage Japanese occupiers did to the civilian population in 1943-5. It's a great monument, simple, powerful and thought provoking. The park around it is also a pleasant place to sit and take in the atmosphere of the city as you stare at the size and grandeur of the CBD.
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View from the hotel window.
View from the hotel window.
View from the hotel window.
View from the hotel window.
Orchard Road.
Orchard Road.
What a great store!
What a great store!
View down Orchard Boulevard.
View down Orchard Boulevard.
Looking downtown.
Looking downtown.
Trees.
Trees.
A random lizard sheltering from th…
A random lizard sheltering from t…
Singapore Art Museum.
Singapore Art Museum.
Me trying to be arty at the Art Mu…
Me trying to be arty at the Art M…
Modern art.
Modern art.
View of Chijmes, a former church n…
View of Chijmes, a former church …
Another view over Chijmes.
Another view over Chijmes.
Chijmes.
Chijmes.
Inside the Raffles Hotel courtyard…
Inside the Raffles Hotel courtyar…
Inside the Raffles Hotel.
Inside the Raffles Hotel.
WWII memorial commemorating the ci…
WWII memorial commemorating the c…
The war memorial and CBD.
The war memorial and CBD.
Another view towards the CBD.
Another view towards the CBD.
Orchard Road
photo by: travelwithsuz