After travelling approximately 16,290 miles the time came when we had to leave Australia and head for Singapore. We had many good memories, not least of which was the friendliness of the Australian people, so it was with heavy hearts that we said farewell to that great country. We wanted to stay there!
On arriving in Singapore we remarked on how fresh it felt after the stifling heat and humidity of Darwin. The temperature was a mere 25°C!
Ensconced in a hotel some twenty minutes walk from the centre, we realised that so much building had been carried out since our last visit to this city state. The harbour had been enclosed and a huge triple building, the Singapore Casino, stood on the shore line, and more hotels had been built masking the tall Pan Pacific Hotel in which we had first stayed; also, the F1 race track had been constructed.
However, our goal was the casino, not to play roulette, but just to have a look, and, perhaps, go to the top.
Through the base of this enormous building was an arcade of shops and a large canal, with Venetian style bridges and gondolas floating on the water.
Outside we looked up and saw a boat-shaped platform on the top of the towers with what looked like palm trees, and people walking on the platform high above. Eventually we found ourselves in a foyer where we paid five dollars to ride in a high speed lift to the 56th floor and from there we walked up a flight of stairs to the Sky Park.
The building is not just a casino but houses a hotel with 2,561 rooms and the Sky Park, as it was aptly named, had real palm trees, bushes and gardens on its 1.5 acre expanse. It also had an ‘infinity’ swimming pool 478 feet long. The view was dizzying as we looked across the pool to the harbour some 627 feet below, where the water seemed to be on the very edge of the building. There was, however, a 12 foot gap from the pool to the edge of the building. The Sky Park is the world’s largest public cantilevered platform being about 1,122 feet long, 200 feet of which overhangs the North Tower. It seems that everything they build in Singapore is bigger or better than in the rest of the world!
After touring the main Sky Park (half of which is only open to hotel guests) we walked on to the overhang and looked down onto the harbour below and the high rise buildings of the city stretching hazily to the horizon. On the other side was the open sea, literally littered with ships of all sizes – although from this height, all of them seemed small. A friend had told me that at any one time there are about 800 ships within the Singapore area and we must have seen at least half of them!
This was the last of our many adventures and, by the time we got home, we had travelled some 23,000 miles in six weeks and had taken 1,200 photographs to keep the memories afloat.
by Terry Took © 2014
Terry Took was born in Yorkshire but has lived in Tynemouth for over 50 years. He spent 45 years in the Merchant Navy which included 27 years as North Sea Pilot. He then spent five years as a lecturer at the Marine Department of South Tyneside College.
He is now an Elder Brother in Trinity House and Marine Director.
If you have any comments or would like to contact Terry then please e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.