The new sentosa
It's back to my weekly playground, but it has been invaded since Feb 14th this year! It will never be quiet again, for the new "IR" (euphemism for CASINO) operates 24 hours. Thankfully, it is built right at the entrance to the island, so neophytes will not venture( I hope!) further if all they do is follow their noses to the "den".
My favorite hotel has closed for a year to renovate, but my preferred restaurant - Barnacles - is still operating. Chefs Joanne and Samson should have a faithful enough following to sustain the business. Tonight I am trying out "The Sentosa Resort and Spa". The deluxe room is compact and warmly furnished. Ouside the window I see a few of the taller buildings of the Business district above the lush grove of coconut and rain trees.
I set out early to fulfill my "10,000 steps" today, but got distracted by views here and there on my bus trip here, and after 10 hrs, still need another 700 steps! I was trying out my new camera, the replacement of the one stolen in Hanoi.
I stopped for breakfast at Novena Square, a shopping mall that I frequented when I lived in the Newton area. I had orange and carrot juice from the fruit stall and then, after snapping away, was told by the duty manager not to take photos. Nevertheless, I got a shot of the foodcourt signboard- Kopitiam - which is a chain of foodcourts in Singapore. Lots of Singaporeans call food courts and hawker centres their "dining room". Many Singaporeans do not cook, so you can find them here for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Finally, at 10am, I found myself at the monorail station for Sentosa. I got off at the waterfront station, following the hordes going to Universal Studios or the Casino. I wandered undered the covered walkways which provide good shade from the tropical sun. I particularly like this shade on "Festive Walk".
Onward I went, past the gigantic Merlion, and along the Gaudi-like fountain, which flowed down towards the Beach Station. From there, I walked to Palawan Beach, picking up another apple juice on the way.
Passing the lonely sentinels of Palawan Beach( fortifications from the British effort to protect Singapore from the Japanese invasion), I was fascinated by a rustic suspension bridge and the variety of vessels plying the waters beyond the protected lagoon: kayaks, motor launches, ferries to Indonesia, and the ubiquitous container ships. Just a few strides later, I found myself at the foot of the steps that led up to the swimming pool of The Sentosa.