A couple months ago, before my little half-hiatus, I wrote another article on Singapore, but never posted it. Just didn’t feel right at the time. But it’s been sitting here aging, so I thought I’d let it out. Now, with AFA 111111 being officially announced, I’m hoping to go to Singapore again.
That being said, the original post (written at the beginning of Spring) is below (stay tuned tomorrow, I think I’ll post some art):
It’s Spring now… the cold wintery days are behind me. One thing that I rather missed about Singapore while I was suffering the cold winter weather here in Canada was definitely the beautiful sunshine, and the relaxing resort of Hard Rock Hotel. I don’t miss the heat though.
As I had said before, even within just a single year, so much of Singapore changes. “It’s always under construction.” This year was no different. Even visiting old places like Central proved fruitful.
I shot this one from across, in a clothing store that had a balcony leading out. What you see isn’t even ground floor. You can see on the right that it goes down even further. It must have been a pretty cool view up there.
I love how some of the buildings have a distinct European style to them, most likely from times of ages past, but kept in such a well maintained manner, and also being alongside the more modern buildings. It’s old, yet integrated like a symbiotic harmony.
An unusual Christmas tree. I’ve always wondered what happens to all this stuff once Christmas is over. Especially considering that the decorations are generally different every year. Does this mean that they don’t get stored, but are thrown away? The efforts of those “going green” then are not a big enough influence on a global scale if this is the case.
The 304 was another new mall that I had never been to. We all love this place, right? I know my wife does at least. I couldn’t believe how many floors there were. This was the biggest Forever21 I had ever seen.
I didn’t understand the reasoning for this. It’s almost redundant. Does it actually guide people to be orderly and have only two people max per step? I did find it aesthetically appealing through. The lighting here is a bit over-exposed. It looked great with high contrast lighting.
My advice: don’t eat here. The food was mediocre, the price was high.
This was a sort of “window display” at a “clinic”-like stall at the 304. While this sort of treatment is no longer unique, this was the first time I had ever seen it myself.
One of the older shopping plazas, this was at Raffles Place, if I recall correctly. Even for a plaza this old, the architectural design was very interesting.
I hadn’t been to Sentosa in several years. When I was in Singapore the year before, Sentosa was pretty much under construction. I was excited to see what sort of changes were made, though what I ended up seeing was greater than my expectations.
I had never seen this sort of underground drop off. I didn’t even know that there was a new casino. Already things were starting to look interesting. This parking center would make an interesting backdrop for an open-arena first person shooter.
Entering “The Forum”, I was amazed at how different things were. “We’re in a building…? So where do we go to get to Sentosa?”
“This is Sentosa.” what? They had dug up the ground, and I was actually at the basement level. Above me on the “second floor” was actually the ground level. In addition, we were actually outdoors. I could feel a bit of the heat, but also the coolness of air conditioner. At this point, I was constantly bombarded by how different Sentosa had become. This whole Resorts World thing was quite cool!
We headed to our hotel. We ended up choosing Hard Rock Hotel because its theme and style, as well as price seemed more our thing. I liked what I saw already.
As I was walking along the outskirts of the pool area, I couldn’t help but notice how incredibly open this all was. Anyone could walk in here and take a dip. “Is this the front of the hotel?” It was a pretty epic entrance if it was. Turned out that we had taken the wrong way around and was at the back of the hotel. Makes sense. You want to give your hotel guests some privacy. Though it’s not much privacy if anyone can just waltz in through the back.
The check in area at the front foyer. I liked the paintings a lot. I checked in at the Elvis painting. There was some minor construction going on, and I could smell fresh paint and a overwhelmingly nauseating smell of toxic glue. That might have explained the lower rates for this hotel. It wasn’t a deal-breaker though.
After checking in, we went back outside and decided to explore what Resorts World had to offer. The pool would have to wait.
Click on the image for a panoramic view of the area. At the fountain area of the Resorts World courtyard. It wasn’t big, but it was very nice looking. I had a strange feeling of familiarity as I looked to the stairs on the right, but I couldn’t put a finger on what it was.
Walking up the steps, we reached the plateau where some sort of event was going to happen. I found the artwork displayed quite amusing. I’d always felt that Singapore’s “art styles” were interesting. It’s as if it didn’t really have a style all its own. The painting techniques are there, but the style itself is like an eclectic collection of kick-knacks, with no sense cohesion. The buskers were very amusing, btw. It was a great event throughout Sentosa, almost all of which were not Singaporean buskers. I wish more events like these would happen.
When I saw the Merlion it was then that I put the pieces together. I had walked on this path before. Except back then, the Merlion seemed bigger. The path seemed longer, and there were no buildings on the left and right side. They had completely torn up everything leading up to the Merlion and rebuilt it. The old beautiful garden with the fountain running its length was now gone.
Coming back down the path, I could see the remnants of the old design. The fountain path was still there, sort of. It just looked entirely different now.
A shot of the reflection of the ball in the center of the fountain. It kind of gives you an idea of the layout of everything.
We took a break for lunch, heading back to The Forum area, finally deciding to hit up Ramen Play. I’ve never been to another Ramen restaurant outside of Japan and Vancouver. It was a choice I don’t regret.
The ramen was absolutely delicious. I hadn’t had ramen this good since the last time I visited Tokyo. If you want an authentic ramen experience, this comes the closest, in my opinion. You Singaporeans are lucky to have access to such delicious and authentic food.
Takoyaki balls, except inside it contains chicken. These tasted SO GOOD. They were fresh. The little flakes on top were constantly waving around from the updraft of heat radiating from the takoyaki balls.
Also ordered this fire-grilled chicken that is encased in a bamboo shoot. Also very delicious. I love the presentation of it! My mouth is watering right now! Isn’t yours?!
After lunch, we wandered around Resorts World some more, and stumbled upon this neat store. The M&M characters and Jellie Bellie mascot were situated outside for tourists to snap pictures with. There was also a massive candylicious chocolate bar just at the front. I took lots of pictures.
I don’t think I was allowed to take photographs inside the store, but I did so anyway. A risk for my readers. I really liked this phrase, and try to use it as a mantra for myself now.
I like this shirt as well. It’s a bit girly though, so I wouldn’t be wearing it. I’ve also never eaten a Peeps before. Are they just marshmellows and that’s it? They’re awfully cute.
I was so tempted to buy one of these stuffed toys, but decided not to. I’ve got too many stuffed toys as it is. Adding one more to the collection won’t make it better, and it’d just be forgotten.
I don’t think I really need to explain this. 🙂
There’s a sort of corridor under Resorts World that links with a different hotel. This corridor contained a row of expensive high end boutiques. It was eerily quiet with almost nobody around except for security, janitors, and shop staff. It resembled the shops in the Asian malls in Vancouver, except those shops were unknown brands at average prices. I wonder how these places make money.
There are some superstitions that it’s not good to take photographs of elephants or dragons. Is that true? I’m not sure if this would be considered an elephant, since it looks so… unusual. It’s pretty cool looking – like something out of a trippy Beatles song. goo goo g’joob!
This is the other end of the corridor, which also linked back to the Hard Rock Hotel. Michael Jackson. I thought it appropriate to respect. I thought this painting looked quite interesting.
The main entrance to Hard Rock Hotel. It was just a drop-off really. I liked the design of the metal made guitars.
The elevator inside the hotel is covered entirely with crystals with a mirror backing. I found this interesting because there were no visible lights, yet the entire wall was practically lit. Prism refracting lights and all that coolness.
Our room. It’s VERY nice, and well designed. I’m sure someday I can make my own bedroom look this good. The glass wall section is the bathroom. The lighting looks really good, and the bed was very comfy. I really like the contrast of the purple walls against the wooden headboard and white bed. The streak of orange totally adds flavor to the overall design.
The rockstar bathroom. I wish our bathroom looked this good at home. But I’d have to pull out all the stuff that’s already renovated and start from scratch. That’d be a waste of money. Dig the guitar supply case.
The other side of the room. That hanging light is so rad. It’s a plastic reflective cylinder, with light escaping only from the top and bottom, making it impractical, but very cool looking. The etched design in the wood headboard looks awesome. I love how they made the headboard run along the entire wall, creating a uniform blend, while creating a nice division. There is also a daybed next to the window with lots of comfy pillows.
A couple of mementos we got from the pool. I had my wife wear the flower in her hair for the day.
How can you NOT have KFC? Keep in mind that during this time, I was still slightly sick. My cough hadn’t gotten better yet. And my wife was also catching something. Despite that, we couldn’t resist. It’s great that we don’t look (too) fat, even though we eat all this junk food. ^_^
We took the monorail to the next station. It was weird that this monorail only had two stations… back and forth. The voice you hear is typical Singaporean station announcement stuff. The MRTs sound like this. “Next station… City Hall Interchange.”
At the beach. I found it a quite surreal to see this calm natural view of the beautiful scenery, its horizon ruined by the black forms of ships and industrial happenings.
I took this shot from the monorail. It’s quite the zoom on this little point and shoot. It seems EVERYBODY takes this same shot.
One of the other hotels. Not really our style, but it seriously reminds me of something from Jules Vern.
Sentosa had some sort of strange art thing going on using bottles and plastic to create art. I liked this Christmas tree thing. I don’t know why, but the Merlion seriously looked a lot bigger several years ago. Heck, Sentosa felt a lot bigger several years ago. Why does it seem so small now?
Coming back down, I had a strange sense of deja vu. I don’t know why it seemed familiar. This familiarity wasn’t that of the old Sentosa, but it’s as if I had seen this whole thing before. I really loved the blue lights.
That incredibly high Christmas tree with the star was from the Universal Studios just further off. I’m lead to believe that this height was intentional for the purpose of viewing it from here. There was a light show going on.
Resorts World had a nightly water and lights display at a musical fountain. It just happened that during the evening we were staying, Vivo City was celebrating an anniversary of sorts, and setting off fireworks at the same time that this was happening. Truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Finale if you’re interested in the music and lights afterward.
For dinner, we went to the Hard Rock Cafe. It wasn’t attached to the hotel. We were hesitant to go here because the prices were a little high, but we were given a coupon when we checked in, so it was a little more worth it.
My wife’s dinner. I have to say that the food was pretty good. It’s not something that I haven’t had before, but the standards were there so the food tasted pretty much as I expected.
By this time, the pool had already closed. But I decided to take a night shot anyway. This little point and shoot is pretty good at low-light conditions too! The scene looked great. I would have loved to take a dip at this hour. The pool is actually a man-made beach.
Early next morning, when we exited the hotel, we could hear loud music. We thought that we were missing some sort of performance early in the morning. There wasn’t anyone around, and most shops were still closed, but there in the center of the plaza were some people performing to Little Drummer Boy (Michael Jackson version?). It was a little surreal since the music was so loud, yet practically nobody else was around. I couldn’t decide if it was a rehearsal or an actual performance.
I wasn’t all that happy with the breakfast here. It was a bit expensive for the quality it offered. I was too hungry to argue, especially since I had already paid for my food. It was needless to say “unforgettable”.
We hadn’t really planned our events. So we figured “why not go to Universal?” I looked at the brochures, and it really looked like just a smaller version of the Universal Studios theme park in America. I was mostly right, but since I hadn’t been to Universal Singapore, it was worth a go.
I found it interesting how different the atmosphere was once you stepped into the Universal “area”. They had what sounded like Jurassic Park music playing on loudspeakers, and it really felt like you were in the movies. I hadn’t had this feeling in a long time, so it was a welcoming sign.
We decided that we would go in the afternoon, but bought tickets first, because we knew it would sell out quickly by the afternoon.
So before checking out of the hotel, we hit the “beach”. I will never forget this incredible experience. What you’re seeing here is a man-made beach pool. Beautiful white beach sand covers the entire “shore” and in the water. It looks and feels incredibly natural.
Sitting in the water was an incredibly relaxing feeling. The sand grains were thick, and their draining system was sophisticated. The larger grains is probably how they make it easier to filter the water. I decided to dig into the sand to see how deep I could go, and how much sand there actually was. I managed to get about half a meter deep, and still hadn’t hit bottom. Of course, this made a small section of the pool rather unnaturally deep, so kids watch out!
They also had these amazingly serene canals that ran on the outskirts of the pool. Check out the accompanying video to get a first-person run through
You can see how it connects to the “beach” in the last quarter of the video.
After the dip, it was time to check out. Unfortunately, I had to give up my key to relaxation and luxury here…
Just because we had checked out, didn’t mean we couldn’t enjoy ourselves. It just so happened at the time that the Hard Rock Hotel’s restaurant was having a 2 for 1 buffet special. This was an exceptional deal, and again I was glad we made this choice. Another meal I won’t soon forget.
My wife’s plate of food. Notice the health factor.
My plate of food. Notice the health factor. ALL of what was on this plate was delicious. The prata with egg was pretty good, but not very authentic. The roast pork had just the right amount of fat, and quality meat, the chicken was delectable, and the yakisoba was better than I expected.
My second plate consisted of more delicious meats, and a piece of cheese.
I decided to take a bit of a break and head to the washroom. I was surprised at how nice it looked. Urinals never looked so classy.
Smoked cheese! It actually exists! Nyaro~n!
One of the most delicious ice cream desserts I had ever had at a buffet. The vanilla was very smooth and creamy, the chocolate drizzle was just right, the nuts tasted fresh, and the chocolate rice crispies added a perfect crunch. The frosted bowl kept the ice cream from melting. I was already full by this time, so this was only a small sampling. I wish I hadn’t eaten so much so I could enjoy more ice cream!
The pillow had a nice design.
After eating, it was off to Hollywood! Having just entered, I was immediately bombarded by sensory overload. There were so many sights and sounds, all of which were artificial, but melded so well together. The atmosphere was very good. Over top, the familiar Resorts World roof overhung the “city street”, making it look more artificial, but allowing natural light in such a dispersed manner, that it was more like clouds above.
Then this guy walked by. It was more like danced by, as he did his display of flurrying “kung fu moves” obviously to keep tourists away. He did not want us to take pictures with him. He rushed off, and went into a door.Probably his shift was over and he needed to get out of that damn hot costume. It’s indeed a tough job.
My wife lucked out. Along the path where the Panda had walked, she found $10. I really wonder if she’s Haruhi sometimes.
Not far off, Frankenstein’s monster showed up. He was super rad. Took a few pictures with him, and he reminded me of a good friend. My wife was a little afraid of him though. I love the Christmas scarf.
“Mel’s Dinettes”. These girls probably perform every single day, doing exactly the same routine, rain or shine, live, in this sweaty humid weather. They are attractive, and they do know how to sing. It’s interesting to think that perhaps in some parallel world, these girls could be superstars making millions of dollars.
We took pictures with a few cartoon characters and other dressed-up people. No, my wife is NOT an anime character. But thanks for asking.
BE PREPARED FOR MYSTERIOUS MONSTER MAYHEM!!!
This street resembles New York. Wall Street up ahead.
Supposedly a New York scene. It’s half-slum… speaking of which, did you know that Sesame Street is supposed to be a low-income slum?!
Who’s that dude in the middle? ^_^
I have no idea what that is. All I know is that the door over there is closed.
I don’t actually watch BSG, but I know of it. It’s unfortunate that ride was shut down due to safety controversies. My Singaporean friends, has it re-opened yet?
Unfortunately, my wife was too scared to go on a ride… which meant that I didn’t get to go on the ride either. 🙁 Then again, look at the wait time on the side. I wasn’t about to waste 25 minutes of my life standing there for a 5 minute ride. Actually, it’s a good thing I didn’t wait. If we had taken our time, we would have gotten soaked in the rain.
A nice view. You can see the other side of the park from here. That roof is situated on top of the entrance “Hollywood Blvd”.
How can anyone NOT like this. I want a Popcornasaurus!!
There was a “ride” here, and since there was no line-up, we decided to go for it. Unfortunately, it was a disappointing waste of time. The 3d was good, but the “ride” aspect was weak. It’s a far cry from the Back to the Future ride.
After the ride we noticed that it was going to rain. We hurried back to Hollywood Blvd, just in time. It started pouring. We spent a bit of time exhausted and sweaty, at one of the cafes where they charged you an arm and a leg for something as simple as a waffle. It was delicious, but way overpriced. They also didn’t have maple syrup, but instead had honey. It was a little strange eating waffles with honey… eh?
A cool view from above, showing the floor below. It’s a Christmas tree in the center.
And so, our day ended as we took the monorail out of Sentosa and back to Vivo City. Sentosa had changed a lot. Some for the better, some not. I didn’t get a chance to check out the other side of the beach, but it seemed to me from the guides that it was mostly the same. I can’t wait to return again to see some of the other changes they’ve made since last year.
It’s pretty cool that I was living with my in-laws during this whole trip which saved us a lot of money. But taking a night to stay at a hotel, just to experience the resort/tourism aspect of Singapore turned out to be a very good idea.
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