Arab Street and Little India

Awaking the next morning we were raring to go. First stop: McDonald's for a junk-food breakfast. One thing about Singapore is that it is up on all the junk food joints. No problem finding whatever you want in Singapore. Our destination this morning: Arab Street.

If you haven't guessed by now Singapore is a city for shopping. From what we gathered many of the tourists are drawn to Singapore because of the excellent shopping that can be found everywhere. Orchard Street has all the fashionable shops, including all the designer names, and department stores. For the more adventurous you can wander around Singapore's Chinatown, Arab Street and Little India districts. Each has its own flavor and its own special items of interest. Anne and I, however, were not in Singapore to shop. We were there to enjoy the flavor and excitement of the city.

Baskets were bargains on Arab Street

Arab Street

Anne checking a street
vendors offerings

Arab Street
While we were not there to shop we did enjoy the browsing. It's amazing what you can find in some of these places and Arab Street was no exception. There were many interesting articles, especially antiques, that kept us busy for quite some time, but not the entire day.

Masjid Sultan

The main walkway
to the
Masjid Sultan

An interesting
walkway on the side
of the Mosque

Yours truly standing
at the entrance to
the Mosque
The building (immediate right) was located next to the Sultan Mosque. I am not sure as to its function or significance, but it was an interesting building because of its color.

The minaret of the Haijah Fatimah Mosque (far right) is said to have been modeled after the spire of the original St. Andrew's Cathedral. For some unknown reason the minaret is built so that it leans at a 6-degree angle.
Singapore's Little India district is a fascinating place to visit. As you can see by these two photos they streets were jammed with the wares the vendors were selling which included brightly colored clothes. Little India is also known for its gold. Anne and I browsed a number of the shops.

The most fascinating thing about Little India was the food. Food vendors were everywhere and the smells were absolutely fantastic. Anne and I soon found ourselves hungry and searching for a place to eat. Many places the food looked great, but the services, well, they left something to be desired. The food was served "au natural." By that I mean on banana leaves with no eating utensils, no fork, no spoon and no knife. We passed and looked for a more conventional restaurant which we soon found.

I have to admit I learned something during this meal. Anne and I have always been fond of Indian food and have gone to a number of Indian restaurants in the U. S., England and some of the islands. But this is the first time we'd ever been to an Indian restaurant as authentic as these were. We sat back and enjoyed the air conditioning while waiting for our food. An Indian gentleman dressed in a western style suit came in and sat at the table next to us. Watching him eat was an experience. He ate without utensils using the naan bread to scoop up his food. When he finished his plate was as clean as a whistle almost as if it had been washed. You could tell by watching him that he thoroughly enjoyed the food. When he finished a quick dip of his fingers into his water glass and he was ready to run off. I've never seen anyone eat this way before and it was interesting to watch (without trying to be conspicuous that I was watching!).

Leaving Little India we saw another interesting Hindu temple with an elaborate gopuram. (Believed to be the) Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple was built in 1881 and is dedicated to Kali the Courageous, a ferocious incarnation of Shiva's wife, Parvati the Beautiful. It's hard to see, but on the right side of the building are located several Coke machines which totally ruin the view of this temple.

Leaving Little India Anne and I headed toward Colonial Singapore and the Raffles Hotel.

Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple

Fountain at the Raffles Hotel

Anne standing by the entrance to the Raffles Hotel
The Raffles Hotel has a long history especially during World War II. It was, at first, a center for British refugees, then Japanese officer's quarters, and, finally, a center for released Allied prisoners. After the war the hotel deteriorated and survived mostly as a tourist site. In 1991 the hotel was reopened following extensive repairs and upgrades. Today it is Singapore's most expensive hotel. It was here at Raffles Hotel's Long Bar that the Singapore Sling was first created. Walking through its lobby it is much like any other luxury hotel today, full of shops and high-priced articles.
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