Singapore & Cambodia 2007 (part 1)

In late September, Elizabeth and I took a package tour to Indochina with Globotours, which I can highly recommend. Our goal was to see Angkor Wat and other famous temples near Siem Reap in Cambodia, but the tour started us out in Singapore, where we had a relaxed time recovering from our jet-lag.

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Our trip began in style at the Ritz Carlton Millenium in downtown Singapore.

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The hotel from the outside...

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...and our floor looking down on the pool and entry circle.

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Our day started with a delicious buffet cut short by a panicked search for some misplaced documents, followed by a tour in the tropical rain.
Keywords Eliz

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Our tour guide, who explained the mix of cultures that characterized this city-state.

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Little India was full of Hindu religious figures and a wonderful temple, which we visited later.

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First, we had to make a stop to see Singapore's mascot, the "Merlion," or "Kitten of the Sea" in rough translation.

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A fellow tourist took this for us.
Keywords Eliz, Greg

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The rain was lovely and warm, and none of us minded getting a little wet.
Keywords Eliz, nice

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I believe this was the original Merlion fountain, which was moved from its old spot at the mouth of the river when the city expanded, as it continues to do.
Keywords art

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The entrance to the famous Hindu temple.

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The face in the doorway was a little intimidating...
Owner Elizabeth

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Entry is free and open to all, though everyone is asked to remove their shoes.
Owner Elizabeth

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Religious ceremonies and blessings are the purview of the Brahman caste.
Owner Elizabeth

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The rituals involve many substances, mostly edibles, usually burnt in offering. Sometimes the ashes are placed on the foreheads of worshipers. It reminded me of my own attempts at cooking.
Owner Elizabeth

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The gods seem to do a lot of partying.
Owner Elizabeth
Keywords art

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Eliz found a scarf almost identical to the one she wore there, and we brought home others as well.
Keywords Eliz

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The penultimate stop on the tour was a jewelry and souvenir store, where we dutifully looked around at the semi-precious gifts. I was fascinated by the stone-inlaid globes.
Owner Elizabeth
Keywords Greg

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They also had "stonings," some containing little waterworks and LEDs that would light up when you clapped. Oooo!
Owner Elizabeth
Keywords art

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Our final tour stop was a lovely botanical garden, which probably required more care than was apparent from the lush growth and tropical climate.

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Now that the sun was out, the air could hold a tiny bit more mostiure, which it set about doing...

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Eliz & I before we didn't go in to see the orchid garden, which hardly seemed worth it for the short time we had. Besides, entering a hothouse seemed beyond redundant.
Keywords Eliz, Greg

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One of several high dynamic range (HDR) images I took of trees and things. (Any image that isn't named "DSC_blah.")
Keywords hdr

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Some BIG leaves.

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A consciousness-raising circle, where there were repeated and enthusiastic queries from one fellow of "Who is the leader?" answered by many "I am the leader!" replies. It's actually quite funny when you think about it.

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A man-made lake surrounded a concert ampitheater, and in the lake were thousands of koi.

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There were many of these fellows as well. I think it's called a "bird."
Keywords wildlife

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Keywords wildlife

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Keywords wildlife

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Keywords flowers

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A flower with wet leaves. (OK, I happen to know this one is called a "lily" and the blooms are "lily pops.")
Keywords flowers

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Later that afternoon, we set out to explore the downtown on our own.

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Before we did, we decided to have a bite to eat at the local mall. Shopping seems to be the national pastime.
Keywords Eliz

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Here we are on the bridge to the Chinese place we selected from a dozen alternatives.
Owner Elizabeth
Keywords Greg

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This is a 73-story hotel, which our guide told us was formerly the world's tallest.
Comment A 73-story hotel

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A peek at the Esplanade, Singapore's cultural center where they hold concerts and such.

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An HDR view of the larger structure.
Keywords hdr

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Another HDR of a modern office building that caught my fancy.
Keywords hdr, nice

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There were older structures as well -- this is an Anglican church, of which we saw a few.

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I loved these spiral stairs.
Keywords hdr

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Another indoor mall. We saw more than a few of these...
Keywords hdr

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This was probably the most popular market we visited, on Bugis Street.
Keywords hdr

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Bugis St. Market
Did I mention the national pastime?

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I was needing one of these about this point.

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I framed this carefully so you couldn't see the color of the "water."

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Evening was accompanied by gaggles of loitering males in Little India. Women were conspicuously scarce.

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Elizabeth loves windows and their hints of mysteries beyond.
Owner Elizabeth

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Another Anglican church, well-attended this Sunday evening.

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A view from Little Arabia.

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This was right before I nearly passed out from heat stroke. We were trying to find a place to eat, and I was desperate for a place to sit down and cool down. Little Arabia wasn't big on air conditioning, as it turned out.

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The following day, we had a little time in the morning before we needed to head to the airport, so we went in search of the Fountain of Wealth. (We gave up on the Fountain of Youth some years back.) A passerby pointed out the prominent numerals represented on this building. The foggy look is not in the air, but on the lens -- moving from the A/C of the hotel out into the dense humidity outdoors meant I had to wait 20 minutes or so before the condensation on the lens evaporated again.

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We were directed to yet another indoor mall to find the fountain, this one following a distinctive library theme.

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More koi, these occupying an indoor fountain.
Keywords pets

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The fountain of wealth at last. But we already have each other, so who needs it?
Keywords Eliz, Greg, photoshop

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Oh, well, it can't hurt.
Keywords flowers

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Instructions on getting wealthy in several languages.
Keywords Eliz

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Dang! Does everyone want to be rich? People are so greedy.

Next to Siem Reap...

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