Thursday, May 29, 2008

Phil and I enjoy so many blessings on a regular basis, the most recent being a trip to Singapore. While this would not be someplace that either of us would want to spend a great amount of time due to the heat and humidity that's constant year-round (so near the Equator), it's been another great experience for us to be here for a week. (The greatest problem for both of us: what to do with our frizzy hair!!)
Thanks to Phil, I can share the picture above of our hotel, the Singapore Marriott. The location of the hotel is on Orchard Street, which is where "the" shopping malls of Singapore are located. Of course, there's shopping everywhere, but people come from all over the world to shop on Orchard Street. (The extent of our shopping on Orchard Street has been to see the new Indiana Jones movie! ha)
Our friend, Don Motz of Wheaton, is a retired United 747 pilot, and he has made many, many trips to Singapore. He is now a lawyer, specializing in real estate. (I'll bet he did LOTS of shopping on Orchard Street!) *-*

Following are some pictures we've taken during our week here. Hope you enjoy them. Remember: to view full size, just click on the photo.

Just a sample of the colorful apartment housing in Singapore.

Oh, the trees! Many years ago, someone within the Singapore city government (I presume) did some spectacular planning so that almost all the streets are lined on both sides with trees, providing a marvelous shady canopy just about everywhere! The growth is rich and lush. Also, there are plants growing from so many of the trees, such as the plants in the trees above.

Thanks to Phil for this beautiful shot of lavender bougainvillea. :-)

We decided to make the trip to Sentosa Island so that we could go up in the Sky Tower, which is a large thin construction with an air-conditioned "donut-" shaped unit that moves up and down, and rotates at the same time. We thought it would be fun to have that experience which would also provide us with some lovely views of Singapore.
Our mode of transportation to Sentosa Island? A cable car, which launches from Mt. Faber. So, once Phil and I were in our car, out we went into space, hanging by what seemed like a mere thread! The cable cars go through the building seen in the picture above and on to Sentosa Island. (On our return from Sentosa Island later after our time on the Sky Tower, we would get off the cable car at this building, go down an elevator, and secure a taxi that would take us to The Singapore Flyer.)

A view from the cable car of an expressway we're about to cross.....

....and a view in the other direction of the same expressway.

And, what fun to go over the body of water, and the two ships anchored!

The second, and larger, ship in our view is a Star Cruise ship.

What fun to have the bird's eye view of the upper deck of the cruise ship as Phil and I sailed overhead in the cable car!

Approaching our landing point on Sentosa Island, a very small island located off the southern tip of Singapore.
Look at the huge statue in view!

Just wanted to draw your attention to the tropical greenery below the cable car. That whitish smudgy look over at the left lower side of the picture is the reflection of my shirt in the cable car front window. :-) (Same smudgy look in the photo of the two ships and water previously.)

Views from the cable car:
Above, construction in the foreground and shipyards beyond. I'll have a couple of comments about construction later on. Obviously, the huge areas of shipping loading and offloading accommodate the materials and necessities that come into (and go out of) Singapore.

As we approached Sentosa Island via the cable car, we saw this huge statue which has the body of a fish and the head of a lion.

Tropical paradise? Looks like it. A beach on Sentosa Island.

Ships waiting their turns for loading and offloading in Singapore.

After getting off our cable car, riding down fifteen floors on an elevator and exiting the building, I just had to stop and take a picture looking up at the cable car going over, which is up quite high!

My first picture taken on The Singapore Flyer, which is similar to but larger than The Eye of London. (Remember my recent blog entries during our trip to London?) Although each car, or "capsule," holds 28 people, there were but two people in this car ahead of us.

The car behind us held a large number of giggling school girls. (You can see them smiling for my camera shot. ha)

We were fortunate to share our car with just four other people, who were all Singaporean - a young woman, her niece, and her parents. They were absolutely delightful, and we thoroughly enjoyed our 1/2 hour with them. The young woman, who is a property consultant (our US term would be real estate agent, I guess) in Singapore, was kind enough to take this picture of Phil and me with the city of Singapore in the background. By the way, there are four benches in the center floor area of each capsule, so there is plenty of seating area, as well as lots of room to walk around, looking at the views and taking pictures.

Some shots taken while on The Singapore Flyer. The above photo is looking up at the gigantic mechanism from our car or "capsule."

A view of the city, as well as more construction, of course. We learned from watching the Singapore Tourism Channel that there is no agriculture on the island of Singapore; therefore, unless a man is a "white-collar" worker, he is among the men of Singapore who are employed in construction, as taxi drivers, or in service jobs such as hotel employees or retail shops/stores.
The constant building provides jobs for many, many people. As a matter of fact, two huge casinos are presently in various stages of construction. The construction of them provides employment, and the eventual jobs available once the construction of the casinos is completed will provide innumerable jobs for the residents of Singapore.

At the top of our 1/2 hour rotation, I took this picture of apartments in the background with a young boy standing in the capsule ahead of ours. (As in most Asian countries, the majority of the population of Singapore is housed in apartment complexes....very colorful buildings, mostly!)

The capsule on the other side: lots of teenaged girls, evidently on a school field trip. Behind, a view of the tall buildings of downtown Singapore.

The amount of construction going on in Singapore is amazing. We've been fascinated by the work being done on a structure across the street (above photo) from the Marriott Singapore Hotel where we're staying. I've sat at the hotel room window watching the cranes hoisting materials.
Just to the right of the construction site I just mentioned is the intersection of Cross and Orchard Streets. Orchard Street is "the" street for shopping in Singapore....and shopping is "the" thing to do.
Beautiful sunset in Singapore
Another sunset in Singapore

(Let me remind you that if you'd like to view any of the pictures on my blog in full size, just click on the picture.)

The above photo is a "close up" of the intersection of the streets below our hotel room.
This is the same intersection when I "play" with my camera. :-)
Above: lights on one of the HUGE cranes at the construction site across the street from the hotel.
Sunset in Singapore

One of our outings in Singapore has been a dinner cruise on the above vessel. We had a nice Chinese meal, and had the lovely advantage of seeing the skyline of Singapore from out in the waters off the coastline.
It is absolutely amazing to see the vast number of ships and vessels just sitting in the waters, waiting their turn for loading or unloading. I took the photo above not only to show some of the vessels but also because of the beautiful clouds in the sky.
Just a portion of the skyline of Singapore, showing The Singapore Flyer (larger than The London Eye), just recently opened. Also note the hot air balloon.
Singapore skyline at sunset

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Halfway through the cruise, our river boat paused so that we could watch a colorful water fountain display. I love the winged effect of the spouts of water.
If you've followed my picture-taking on this blog, you know that I love playing with the camera at night. The above photo and the two that follow are of the Singapore skyline taken from the river boat. :-)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Phil and I spent the first weekend of May in Phoenix with our two daughters there, Kim and Karma, and their families. It's always a joy to see them, Kim's husband, Paul, and our five precious grandchildren!
Above is our oldest grandchild, Antonio, who just turned eleven!

Raquel is eight years old, and our family artist! She has nine pieces of art displayed online at Artsonia cooperates nationally with schools, providing a place online to display paintings, drawings and all sorts of artwork done by the children of each particular school. Various articles such as tote bags, cups, cutting boards, mouse pads, luggage tags, etc., can then be purchased adorned with one's choice of artwork. A percentage of the proceeds goes to the child's school.

Lalo will turn three years old in October.

JJ is big sister to JP, who is a 2008 Leap Year baby!


Phil and I flew to London last Friday evening, May 9th, in order to spend the weekend there. This was the first picture I took on the trip, the United 777's wing with the rising sun beyond, and I took it very early Saturday morning, May 10th, as we neared our destination.

As we did a bit of circling prior to landing at Heathrow Airport outside London (our flight was arriving early!), I took this picture of some fields of rapeseed, which appear to be in the process of blossoming. When the rapeseed is in full bloom, the fields are brilliant yellow against the green grass and green trees. Absolutely beautiful.

Heathrow's new control tower. I love this stuff! ha

Departing Heathrow Airport, May 12th, for our flight home to Chicago