October 26, 1961 – Singapore

Raffles Hotel, Singapore, Singapore – Clear Warm

      I felt good when I woke up today and found myself in a nice clean bed without any flies or mosquitoes to bother me.  We were up early again so we could go on a tour of Singapore and then move onto see some of Johor.

      I liked Singapore and we saw some wonderful sights and had an informative guide named Leo.  Leo had lived in Singapore since the end of the Korean War and he seemed to know it very well.  From the center of the city we drove past miscellaneous city buildings including several government ones.  Then we crossed the Singapore River to the exclusive residential section where we stopped at the Haw Par Villa with its Tiger Balm Garden.  It seems that Mr. Haw made a huge fortune in the medicine he patented called Tiger Balm that he named his garden after.  This garden was more splendid according to Edith than the Tiger Balm Gardens the tour group had seen in Hong Kong which I missed.  The garden had some wonderful statues mostly of animals and they were funny.

Tiger Balms Garden, Singapore

View 2 of Tiger Balm Gardens, Singapore

View 3 Tiger Balm Gardens, Singapore

View 4 of Tiger Balm Gardens, Singapore

View 5 of Tiger Balm Gardens, Singapore

View 6 of Tiger Balm Gardens, Singapore

View 7 of Tiger Balm Gardens, Singapore

      From the Tiger Balm Gardens we made our way to the Singapore Botanical Gardens where we viewed some truly exquisite Mayan orchids.  It was fascinating drifting around looking at the various tropical flowers.  The gardens also had sacred monkeys wandering all over.  They were fun to watch.

      In addition in Singapore we went to see the oldest Hindu temple there called the Sri Mariamman Temple with its statues of deities such as their Sacred Bull.  I was amazed at the use of colors for the statues and buildings here and at the Tiger Balm Garden.

Mariama Temple, Singapore

Sacred Bull at Mariama Temple, Singapore

      Driving through the streets of Singapore on our way to Johor we saw so much poverty and people with laundry hanging out the window.  As we approached the mile long causeway linking Singapore with Johor I could see several river boats.  Once we reached the city we had lunch at one of their hotels and the food was really quite good.

Singapore River Boats

Another View of Singapore River Boats

Lunch Stop in Johore

      Our first stop after lunch was Sultan Bakar’s mosque.  The Moorish style mosque contained so many fine Persian rugs just in one large hall that I wanted to run my hands over each and every one to feel the texture of them.  The colors were rich and the construction of each rug was incredible and showed wonderful workmanship.  When I looked up at the ceiling I found it was lighted by cut glass chandeliers from Czechoslovakia which sparkled brilliantly.  I was glad when I found there was another botanical garden on the mosque grounds that I would have a chance to walk through.  Each garden was unique in its own way and I loved them.  Once again this one had exquisite orchids and some more Sacred Monkeys. 

Orchids in Johore Botanical Garden

Sacred Monkeys in Johore Botanical Garden

Another View of Sacred Monkeys in Johore Botanical Garden

     Before leaving Johor we also toured a Hindu Marble Mosque, a weaving factory and a rubber tree plantation.  The mosque proved to be impressive in its interior and exterior but I enjoyed seeing the weaving factory and rubber tree plantation more.  I was surprised to see so many of the women doing the weaving looked quite young and made me wonder what their ages were.  I tried to ask our guide but they didn’t seem to understand my question.  We had a chance to see another demonstration of one tree being milked at the rubber tree plantation and even though we had seen one before I still found it fascinating. 

Marble Mosque in Johore

Interior of Marble Mosque in Johore

Rubber Plantation

Another View of Rubber Plantation

      As we traveled back to the Raffles Hotel I couldn’t help but think of the place I liked seeing most today – Haw Par Villa with its Tiger Balm Garden and the House of Jade we saw there.  Many of those statues made me laugh. 

      Back at our hotel, Edith and I got some packages with things we’d bought ready to send home.  Curt had told us Singapore would be a good place to send out parcels but the cost to send them was more than I expected.  After sending the packages off I was dismayed about the charge so Edith bought each of us a Singapore Sling in the bar and we toasted our trip. 

      While we were sitting there Edith told me that her wrist was bothering her more and more so I went to get Curt and let him know.  I was glad when Curt made arrangements for another doctor to examine her, take x-rays and make sure it wasn’t something more serious.  It was a good thing Curt took the action he did too because the wrist turned out to have a little fracture.  The doctor said the bandage the first physician had done wasn’t sufficient to immobilize the wrist properly so it could heal.  The doctor put a cast on her wrist right away and made arrangements for Edith to have some pain medication since it was bothering her so much.  When it came time to pay for his services he needed to be paid in cash just like the other one.  Edith frowned when he told us how much she owed him. 

      On our way back to the hotel I decided I would find out what was bothering her.  When I asked Edith if she was upset about her arm she told me that the problem with her wrist had depleted her money quite a bit and she was going to run short for the remainder of the trip.  I did some quick calculating in my head and then offered to loan her some since I was getting more money from home once we got to Italy.  Edith accepted my offer and seemed genuinely grateful for the offer.  Her meekness surprised me some.

      She was also concerned about how she would dress and do some other things during the next few days.  She thought it was going to be so awkward but I told her I would certainly help her as much as possible. 

      I helped Edith dress for dinner and we joined the rest of the group in the dining room.  Our group thoroughly enjoyed dinner again tonight and I made a pig of myself.  I appreciate the food we were served now ever so much more after my experience in Bali.  I do believe if it hadn’t been for bananas I would have starved.  While we had no entertainment during our meal like in Bali we still preferred being here instead.

      All of us retired to our rooms’ right after we finished eating.  I helped Edith take a bath so she wouldn’t get her cast wet.  I didn’t mind really and I was glad I wasn’t the one who had been hurt.  After making sure Edith was settled in bed I took a bath.  When crawled between the sheets of my bed I was ready to sleep.  Since we had to fly to Saigon the next day Edith and I both wanted to get plenty of sleep.


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