FUN-travel: Disembark – 20th Port – Singapore – Day 47

April 5, 2016 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Disembark – 20th Port – Singapore – Day 47 

Saturday, March 12th

  • “Enough is enough!” – quipped the husband, as the couple with suitcases in tow, joined us in the elevator. To which I replied, “You got on in San Francisco too?” After one last hot cappuccino we were so-o-o ready to get off the ship. And apparently we weren’t the only ones who thought “half a world cruise” was about half too long! The “Full Monte” is 103 days. Can you imagine?

- singapor

  • Running the Immigration Gauntlet – A huge ship had come in and the line snaked for miles! Fortunately for us we had the Crystal Express Line so it only took us about 15 minutes. Then we grabbed a cab to our hotel on Orchard Road, dropped our bags, and had more hop on, hop off FUN in this amazing city.

- 90 Singapore 2016

  • Sizzling Singapore – Thick clouds mixed with the occasional blue skies and a brief breeze gave us a SFI (Sweat Factor Index) of 7.5.
  • Well Preserved Boat Quay – Situated on the south bank of the Singapore River this is one of the oldest and most historical areas in the city. The stately Cavenagh Bridge built in 1867 stands like a soldier welcoming visitors and the original warehouse buildings now house hip bars and restaurants.

- 73 Singapore 2016

FUN-find – Wine Connection – and just steps from our hotel! With a retail wine bar, you pick what you want, and take it to your table. An extensive menu with decent pricing made this a favorite.

  • Clean, Green, and Pristine – Modern skyscrapers tower over the occasional Colonial buildings in this compact city with artistic sculptures dotting the city.

- 71 Singapore 2016

FUN-fact – Singapore is the world’s only island city-state. How can an area of only 247 square miles with a population of 5.5 million people not have traffic jams? Cars cost a bazillion dollars!

- 77 Singapore 2016

FUN-travel: Slow Boat to Singapore – 20th Port – Singapore – Day 46

April 5, 2016 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Slow Boat to Singapore – 20th Port – Singapore – Day 46 

Friday, March 11th- 5 Singapore 2016

  • The Singapore Cruise Terminal was like an airport with 2 floors of stores selling everything you can imagine. We found the Duck & Hippo counter (their version of the Hop on, Hop off bus) only to discover that the lone attendant was out to lunch for ONE hour. Fortunately the lady at the next counter told us we could take the subway 2 stops and hop on in China Town.
  • With map in hand we headed to the subway. After attempting to use the self-service kiosk to buy tickets we discovered we needed smaller bills. We were thrilled to find an actual person in a ticket booth to sell us a ticket. But no, that would have much too easy! He gave us change and sent us back to the kiosk.
  • China Town was bustling on a Saturday afternoon. After twenty minutes of map and street sign reading we managed to figure out where the bus would pick us up.

1st and only stop today – Wanna guess what we did? What all tourists do…go to the world famous Raffles Hotel. This colonial-style luxury hotel was opened in 1887 and was named after British statesman Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore. The hotel’s Long Bar is where the Singapore Sling was invented and just celebrated its 100th birthday.

- 43 Singapore 2016

The Most Expensive Beer on Earth!

  • With palm shaped fans swaying overhead, peanut shells littering the floor, and speakeasy music softly playing in the background, we kicked back and sipped a pint. YIKES! The bill came to $51.00 ($38 US) clearly making it the most expensive beer ever!- 10 Singapore 2016
  • Magnificent “Marina Bay Sands” is a 2,561-room hotel complex that contains a mall, museum, two large theatres, seven “celebrity chef” restaurants, two floating Crystal Pavilions, a skating rink, and the world’s largest atrium casino with 500 tables and 1,600 slot machines. It’s topped by a 1,120 foot long SkyPark that can accommodate 3,900 people and a 490 foot infinity swimming pool. All this set on top of the world’s largest public cantilevered platform, which overhangs the north tower by 220 feet.

FUN-fact – Wanna know why Singapore doesn’t have a baseball team? …

They’d all be caned to death for spitting!

FUN-photos: 2016 Crystal Cruise – Bali to Singapore

March 31, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

Slow Boat to Singapore – Indonesia & Malaysia

  • The last segment took us from Bali to Singapore with another 6 ports of call and 4 days at sea.

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  • And we had a lot of firsts on this one!
  • Borobudur – the single largest Buddhist structure anywhere on earth. Lovingly restored after 14 painstaking years is one of the world’s truly great ancient monuments.
  • Kuala Lumpur – Petronas Towers (and KL’s claim to fame) are the “Big Boys” and the official titleholder of the World’s Tallest Twin Towers.
  • Penang –  a temple here, a temple there, a temple everywhere! And the only Burmese Buddhist temple outside Myanmar.
  • Langkawi – Bikinis and Burkas dotted the Beaches.
  • Singapore – The Most Expensive Beer on Earth! In the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel and where the Singapore Sling was invented and just celebrated its 100th birthday.

Word Of the Week #607: Efficiency

March 23, 2016 by · Comments Off on Word Of the Week #607: Efficiency 

Efficiency – skillfulness in avoiding wasted time and effort.

How skilled are you at avoiding wasting time? When you have errands to run to do you plan your route based on traffic patterns? Do you have good time management skills at work?

I LOVE this word! And I DETEST wasting time or having to do things over. The old saying goes, “Do it right the first time, or don’t do it at all.” Efficiency at its finest!

We just got home from our “Slow Boat to Singapore” trip and I was so impressed with Singapore and how efficient the “world’s only island city-state” is. The master plan was for citizens to have a high quality of life and efficiency plays a large part in making that happen. How can an area of only 247 square miles with a population of 5.5 million people not have traffic jams? New York City has 8.8 million people living in 305 square miles. Can you imagine NYC with no traffic jams?

For starters they wanted to limit the number of cars on the road. So in order to even attempt to get a car you have to apply for a Certificate of Entitlement (COE). Wanna guess how much that costs? More than S$80,000 ($60,000 US) to successful bidders! And the permit is only good for a period of 10 years after which the vehicle must be scrapped. No old cars breaking down here. Oh I almost forgot – the tax on that new car? A whopping 100%!

The good news for those lucky car owners is only 12% of the Singaporeans have one. That keeps traffic down. But just in case they might have a traffic problem, say at rush hour, they have Electronic Road Pricing (ERP). Electronic gantries are placed over the road at designated locations. Cars are equipped with an In-Vehicle Unit (IU), which deducts the toll price from a CashCard. The more cars, the higher the toll. That keeps traffic down too. There is no charge during certain non-peak times. Efficiency at its finest!

1 efficiency

The majority of people live in condos, don’t have the luxury of a home with a yard, and can’t afford a car. The upside is that they are part of an ‘estate’, which has a neighborhood center comprising of shopping malls, food courts and restaurants, a library, supermarkets, clinics and sports/recreational facilities. You go to work, you come home, and you don’t waste precious time that takes away from your quality of life. Efficiency at its finest!

Without a doubt Changi Airport is the best airport in the world. We walked in and were greeted and ushered to the ticket counter with no line, then we proceeded through customs with no line, and directly entered the terminal shopping area. All signs had the amount of time it would take to get to your gate. Not distance. Same thing at the restrooms. The sign with an arrow directing you to the next restroom read 2 minutes. Our bags were scanned at our gate. No line there either!

Then we landed in San Diego and I was utterly amazed and thrilled to find we now have Automated Passport Control (APC). Instead of long lines zig-zagging to go through customs they have installed self-service customs kiosks. In less than three minutes it had scanned my passport, took my picture, and spit out a single copy of it all. Then we continued to the customs counter with no line, got our passports stamped and headed to baggage claim. The total time from deplaning to curbside was less than 30 minutes! Efficiency at its finest! And I am so glad to be home. America is by far the BEST place on earth!

This week’s focus is to all about efficiency. Would you like to have a higher quality of life? What would that look like to you? How much more efficient could you be at home and work?

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