Tuesday, August 20, 2019


Our Malaysian visas were coming due, so we decided to head to Singapore.  It seemed unlikely we would get to visit with the boat, both because of timing and the fact that Singapore has made it increasingly difficult and expensive to clear in there. But we definitely wanted to see "The Lion City", so road trip here we come!

Esplanade Theatres on the Bay
(known as 'The Durians')
Before arriving, my main impression of Singapore was based on the somewhat embarrassing tale of Michael Fay, the American 'kid' whose family created an international incident when they tried to get him out of being caned for vandalizing a bunch of cars. I'm happy to report that it seems he has gotten his life together and now manages a casino in Cincinnati. Singapore is also known for strict laws against drugs (death penalty), littering, spitting and chewing gum (banned since the '90s).  Needless to say, we were on our best behavior.

Merlion Statue (because it's a lion and a
mermaid), with the Marina Bay Sands boat
on 3 buildings restaurant.

We did get a bit of hassle in Malaysian Immigration, both leaving and re-entering the country. Malaysia, understandably, doesn't want people doing an end run around their processes and staying indefinitely (possibly to work or run a business) by doing 'visa runs' every 90 days. So sometimes people have a hard time getting back into the country. In anticipation, we had our letter from the marina, documenting that our boat is at a boatyard, bleeding money from our bank account (not exactly in those words).

Getting ready to watch 'Spectra - A Light and
Water Show' by Marina Bay Sands

We were not expecting the stone-faced Immigration official to question us so closely as we left Malaysia, but she did. She also asked us a bunch of questions and asked to see the letter from the marina, but grudgingly let us leave the country.

Garden Rhapsody with the Super Trees - Gardens By the Bay

Part of the problem with immigration is that we have numerous stamps in and out of the Malaysia, due in large part to our participation in the Sail Malaysia Rally, which creates a bit of a red flag. After we finished with Singapore and returned to Malaysia, the Immigration officer was friendlier but seemed never to have encountered a cruiser before. We explained that we don't have an "onward" or return ticket because we live on a boat. That just seemed to confuse her more but we stayed pleasant and tried to explain and showed all our documentation. We could feel angry vibes emanating from the long line behind us as the officer went to escalate the situation to her supervisors. Eventually it all worked out and we were allowed back in for the full 90-days. Hopefully that was the last time checking into Malaysia.

Kampong Glam, near our hotel
Enough about immigration and on to more important topics! After the long bus rides from Sitiawan to Singapore, we settled into our trendy hotel (that we got because it was a super special deal--almost too good to be true--which it turned out it was; long story that we won't bore you with, but it eventually worked out) and and spent the next few days exploring. Not surprisingly, it was just as hot and humid in Singapore as in West Malaysia and all the kids wanted to do was sit in the air-conditioned room, eat pizza and watch TV. There was some of that, but mostly we walked a lot and ate from hawker stalls. Many places were closed because of the holiday weekend, but we found plenty to sample.

What's up chicken butt (and head,
neck, and back bone)?

We also took a trip down to the S.E.A. AquariumThere are several enormous tanks filled with all kinds of sea life, large and small. We come from a city with a world-class aquarium and we have lived on the water for years, so we are not easily impressed, but this place was impressive. Even with the crowds (we had to wait in line for 45 minutes just to enter the aquarium, even with pre-purchased tickets), we enjoyed our visit.

Feeding time (there's a diver
in there somewhere)

We also visited the Singapore Botanic Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site. We all (even Mark and Conrad) enjoyed the extensive orchid exhibits, though the finer points were undoubtedly lost on us.

Orchids have bilateral symmetry,
like the human face.

A lot of these cute things in the city.
Also a lot of Porsches. Serious money abounds.

Demonstrating helix arms in front
of the Helix Bridge


  1. Enjoyed the tour through Singapore with you.

  2. Great![as usual] Jen... would love to see the 4 of you pictured together.

    1. Thanks, Tim. Yeah, we need to get better at selfies...


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