It was the weekend before Christmas again. It was a Sunday, to be exact, and this time, unlike last year, my wife and I decided not to make a beeline for Orchard Road again, like last year, tempting it may be.
In fact, we wanted to spend our Sunday somewhere less crowded. It’s common knowledge that Orchard Road is ALWAYS crowded, what more on a weekend and what more if it’s the weekend before Christmas.
So we decided to spend our Singapore Sunday somewhere else, somewhere new, for me at least. After bandying some names about, we finally decided on Marina Bay.
As is our practice, we parked our car at our relatives’ place and after ensuring that all parking requirements eg parking coupons etc etc are met, we boarded the MRT to Raffles Place and from there to the Bayfront station.
At Marina Bay, the most notable landmark is the Marina Bay Sands which, as many has come to know, is a huge complex with a hotel, a casino, shopping outlets, a conference and exhibition center, restaurants and bistros to name but a few, all of which are under one roof – The Marina Bay Sands.
Of the main attractions, the giant surfboard of a swimming pool at the very top of the complex AND the eternal optimist’s haven ie the casino has to be the pick of the lot. But then again, its my first time here.
It’s a humongous place and we did not venture up to the very top of the complex. We did however ventured at the shopping area, where if you are brand-conscious shopper, would be just up your alley.
Outlets bearing brand names that would roll off the tongues of all fashionistas, lined the different floors of the shopping complex. Ferragamo, Bulgari, Jimmy Choo, and what else have you.
From there, we made our way to that haven of the forever eternal optimist of the optimist namely the casino. To enter the casino, one must present one’s passport to re-affirm one’s nationality. Sounds a bit like the Immigration counter at the nearest CIQ complex, but it is true as apparently Singaporeans and all those Singaporean PRs have to pay a surcharge if they want to enter the casino. For all others, it’s not a problem and no surcharge.
The casino was teeming with people, either there to make a buck or two at one of the many and different gaming machines available or the Roulette table or the Craps table or the Blackjack etc etc, or to help themselves to the free flow of drinks.
Mind you, the free flow of drinks comprised of either mineral water or tea or coffee. They don’t serve a free flow of alcohol or liquor there, lest someone decided to vent his or her anger at the casino after barely being able to keep a hold of his or her pants.
It’s either that or that somebody might get so juiced up on the free flow of that intoxicating liquid that they win big at the tales by accident. Now, that would be very embarrassing, wouldn’t it?
Leaving the casino floor, we then make our way outside the complex, and sit ourselves by the stage facing Marina Bay. Fresh air aided with a cool breeze helped and soon we were enjoying skyline of the Central Business District (CBD). The towering buildings owned by the many financial institutions belie the huge and voluminous amount of money exchanging hands every day.
Across the Bay from Marina Bay Sands, we caught sight of one of Singapore’s most famous landmarks ie The Merlion. Sprouting water into the Bay with the Opera House just adjacent to it, we are presented with a view of extreme contrast side by side : one reeks of money and one espouses culture.
Apparently there’s a water and light show every night at the Marina Bay Sands, but we thought we save that for another day.
Making our way back, we reflected on our decision to vet away from the maddening crowd and admitted that the decision was the right decision this time around. But next year, who knows where we’ll end up for our annual pre-Christmas Singapore trip?
Date : 21 January 2014