Orchard Road - or Day 1: Arrival, soaking and seeing some sights
Orchard Road Travel Blog› entry 1 of 23 › view all entries
August 4th, 2008 – by: andytite
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.
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.
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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