Asia 2012:
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Saturday, April 7, 2012: Early the next morning, all was quiet on the bay. There were no boats at all on the water and just a handful of tourists at Merlion Park..

We had decided to enjoy the infinity pool in the morning, rain or shine.
Our fantastic luck with weather did not let us down. We never could tell what direction we were facing when we were in Singapore, but we're pretty sure now that this was east.
The Club staff greeted Debbie with "Welcome back, Ms. Schilling" as soon as we walked up to check in for breakfast. Impressive! The Club's breakfast buffet was great: fruit, vegetables, cheese, sliced meats, smoked salmon, pastries, muesli, hash browns, bacon, sausage, ...
... and all the shrimp dim sum Debbie could eat. Tableside service included jams and a tray of butter, ketchup, and chilli sauce, plus several Coca Cola Lights.
With the sun coming up, it was time to get in the infinity pool. The pool was divided into two main sections: no kids allowed on the right side, and ..
... kids allowed on the left. We opted for the kidless side, which was nearly deserted at this hour.
Next up: the mandatory photo of us on the edge of the pool. Here's Tom ...
... and here's Debbie.
How does an infinity pool create that effect? We'll show you.
The water is refilled constantly, with overflow falling to another pool a few feet below. Additional railings keep everyone completely safe.
It's nice to relax on the edge and watch Singapore start to come to life.
There was some sort of military marching exercise happening at Marina Bay Floating Stadium. A marching band played while people practiced formations on the floating field.
Here's the view from the edge of the pool looking back toward the lifeguard stand with our pool chairs to the left and the Club in the building behind the lifeguard stand in the middle of this photo.
Here's the view looking toward the sunrise to the left.
Back in our room, we packed up our bags and got one last look at the view ...
... and Merlion Park, now in full swing.
We checked our bags at the bell stand, and headed to the MRT station again.
Debbie's brother had given us two EZ-Link cards with credit on them, which was our incentive to try it out, and we ended up using it to get everywhere. It was easy, clean, fast, cheap, and air-conditioned.
We passed this billboard several times. Taylor Schilling? How dare an actress use Debbie's last name?
We took the MRT to Vivo City again, this time heading to the ferry terminal. It was located in a mall that had a toast cafe, and we had some time to kill before our ferry left, so we made good on our vow from the day before.
We ordered Kaya Toast with Butter and Kaya Peanut Toast. We had never tried kaya before, even though we had bought a jar the day before, but we expected to like it and we did. It's a pale sweet spread somewhere between the consistencies of peanut butter and jelly.
We bought our tickets, cleared immigration and security, and were on our way to Indonesia for the afternoon on the BatamFast ferry.
Leaving Singapore required cruising around the island of Sentosa, so that was a nice treat.
These were a series of cool buildings, photographed as we rounded the end of Sentosa Island in the direction of Indonesia.
We passed iFly Singapore and the Siloso Beach area, ...
... then our beloved Sentosa Merlion. This photo finally gives him some scale relative to the rest of the island.
We passed brand new condos, ...
... where the wealthy people (and their boats) live.
We passed Marina Bay, ...
... and endless ships on the ocean, ...
... and in less than an hour, we were heading into an Indonesia bay ...
... and arriving at the gateway to Batam. First, we waited in line to purchase our visas-on-arrival for $10 US. Then we waited in the only line reserved for day tourists with visas-on-arrival. It took us 40 minutes to get through the line, averaging one person every two minutes. The other immigration officers went off duty as their lines ended, and only one line remained. We estimated that some of the people on the ferry would have taken over an hour to get through.
We headed to the mall attached by walkway to the ferry terminal.
There was something going on in the mall atrium, but it took a little while before we figured out what it was.
To celebrate the fifth anniversary of the mall, they were having a cake-decorating contest, sponsored by a local cake company. Teams of two women each used their own supplies on their cakes. We'll check in with them later.
We already had a little bit of Indonesian money, courtesy of Debbie's brother, who had visited Indonesia during his stay in Singapore the previous summer, but we knew it wouldn't be enough, so we exchanged some money. We had lunch at Bistro Godiva, starting with delicious fruit smoothies, followed by tasty Indonesian noodle dishes, Buluh Goreng and Nasi Goreng.
Back at the cake decorating contest, all of the cakes were finished and the announcer was discussing the results. As you can see from the crowd, most of the women wore hijab scarves as the majority of Indonesians are Muslim.
The only purchases we made at the mall were at this bakery. There were so many great things to choose from, but ...
... we ended up going with these three things. The two rolls were incredibly delicious, with a texture and light taste of angel food cake, with a marshmallow-like outer ring. The layered cake was a specialty of Indonesia, apparently, because we saw specially-packaged boxes of these in the gift shops at the ferry terminal, designed to be brought as gifts when heading elsewhere. It had the consistency of pound cake, with a very buttery taste.
Less than two hours later, we were headed back to the ferry. Indonesia's time zone was an hour behind Singapore's, so we lost an hour going back.
Here's the view of the back of the ferry. We sat on the open, covered deck. There was also an indoor deck below.
At low tide, people were out on the reef fishing and gathering seafood.
Back at the ferry harbor in Singapore, it was looking like rain.
Eleven minutes later, we had docked at the pier, made it through customs, immigration, and security, and were in the adjacent mall where we could see that the rain had just started to come down.
We took the MRT back to Marina Bay Sands and collected our luggage.
Here's a cool glass sculpture on the back of some bench seating in the lobby.
We took the MRT to the airport and cashed in the credit remaining on our EZ-Link cards, then checked into the Crowne Plaza attached to Terminal 3. We were surprised to take the elevator to our floor and find that the corridors were open air, ...
... but they offered nice views of the control tower, ...
... and the full moon over the airport parking garage, ...
... and planes right outside our hotel room's front door. Fortunately, with the door closed, we could hear almost nothing.
The room itself was very nice, ...
... featuring plenty of floor space for a last minute rearranging of stuff in our suitcases, ...
... and this gorgeous glass bathroom that offered ...
... zero privacy for the toilet unless you rolled down the blinds. It was all quite pretty though.
We hadn't eaten since lunch in Indonesia, so we set out to find a restaurant without a 20 minute line. Singapore had one more Merlion surprise for us: this 26' topiary Merlion. We must have one for our garden.

We finally found a restaurant with only a 10-minute wait at 8:30 PM on a Saturday night, and enjoyed shrimp dim sum, spring rolls, prawn horfun, beef horfun, and two servings each of refreshing honey green tea.

Day 15 >

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