Tuesday 15th January

We have arrived in Singapore having travelled overnight on a Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-900 aeroplane. Our flight took us from Manchester to the Netherlands, Dussledorf (Germany), the Czech Republic, the full length of the Black Sea to overfly the Caspian Sea and Iran and later to the south of Kabul (Afghanistan). From here we crossed into Pakistan, south of the Khyber Pass which we last visited in April 2001, over the Punjab and in darkness had an amazing sight of Lahore. Soon we were over India and saw Delhi and Lucknow before ascending to 39,000ft over the Arabian Sea for a landing in Singapore just after 7:00 a.m.

We are now based in the Fairmont Hotel across the road from the famous Raffles Hotel which is one of the last examples of colonial exploration and exploitation which led to the building of Singapore as a crossroads between east and west. It was declared a National Monument in 1987 and is undergoing major restoration and should reopen soon.

Prior to lunch we explored Marina Bay which is a suburb built on reclaimed land which creates a freshwater reservoir. The area is dominated by the Marina Bay Sands Resort which overlooks the Singapore River and the Formula One Grand Prix circuit. On the 57th floor there is an observation deck, pool and bar.

Linking the Marina Bay Shopping Centre to the complex at the foot of the resort is the Helix Bridge. This curved steel pedestrian bridge was inspired by the structure of DNA and affords views of the bay and the Singapore skyline.

The lotus flower-shaped building is the Art Science Museum. Overlooking all of this is the Singapore Flyer, the largest observation wheel in Asia which rotates to a height of 165m.

By 5:00 p.m. the cumulonimbus clouds were building, the wind made the leaves of the palm trees show their undersides and by 5:30 the rain was torrential. There was a short cooler spell but as we write at 8:00 p.m. it has returned to an equatorial 30°C.

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