My Bangalore Trip
Stan Sieler
Friday, June 6 & Saturday, June 7 & Sunday, June 8 (1997)    Trip Report #1

(Itinerary: Leave San Francisco at 1 AM Friday morning, on Singapore Airlines.  
Arrive Singapore around noon Saturday (via 1.5 hour stop in Hong Kong).
Stay overnight in Pan Pacific hotel.  Leave Singapore at 8 PM Sunday,
on Air India, arrive Bangalore at 10:30 PM Sunday.)

[This was a two week business trip, to visit HP in Bangalore, India]

The plane landed in Hong Kong (Kai Tak airport), and we had to
get off while they serviced it.  The Hong Kong airport has a number
of shops open for travelers who have already gone through 
customs/immigration (which includes in-transit travelers), so that
was nice.

We then went to Singapore.  Very large airport (a little bigger
than Salt Lake City), very modern, lots of shops.  (Later, at departure,
the feel of the departure area was very similar to London Heathrow,
or LAX International terminal.)

Took a taxi to hotel, S$15 (at about S$1.4 per US$1).  Checked in.
Wandered around a bit.  Found a supermarket.  Saw an amazing fruit,
the Vietnam Dragon Fruit.  Like a cherimoya gone mad ... green, with
red tongues/wings sticking out all over.  Four of us (me and 3 random
strangers, men from the US!) were marveling over it.

I bought a couple of strange soft drinks, hoping at least one would be
a Dr Pepper knock off, or good on its own: Sarsi, Ice Cream Soda, and
some Cherry soft drink.  The Sarsi was a sarsaparilla.  The
Ice Cream Soda was a vanilla cream soda, sort of.  The cherry was
a terrible cherry thing.  None worth buying again.

In Singapore Garfield appears to be a big thing. 
In one mall, I found a large store that was COMPLETELY Garfield stuff.  
100% Garfield.  The store was empty, but so was the mall ... 
maybe I was there at an off hour, but ...

Most of what I saw of Singapore is a modern, high rise city.  Once,
however, I glimpsed an older section with 2 and 3 story buildings that
must have been 30 to 60 years old ... but you can tell they'll be
gone soon.  However, the modern architecture is quite varied, with
many attractive buildings.  People were friendly.  The busses ran
often, if oddly bunched (e.g., two buses with the same number bumper
to bumper).

I took the MRT (subway/tube/whatever) one stop, to a shopping area.
Didn't find anything.

I managed to stay up until about 10 PM.

Sunday morning, I took a tour to the Singapore Zoo.  Very nice zoo,
allegedly one of the top 10 in the world.  It seems somewhat smaller than
San Diego, and with far fewer bathrooms.  I looked at the Komodo dragon
(the tour said "only a couple are outside of Indonesia" ... and I remember
seeing one at the San Diego Zoo when I was a kid)
The tour was a van to the zoo, a tour guide who wanted to see us show
up at the two animal shows, and then a van ride back to the hotel.
The guide wasn't supposed to stick with us all the time ... which is good,
because I almost immediately disappeared.   I showed up again a couple
of minutes late for the first show ... she was relieved ... she had never
lost a client, and didn't want to break the streak.

I got back to the hotel at 12:30.  I had extended checkout until 2 pm,
so I took a shower and checked out, leaving the luggage.

I took a bus to Sentosa Island, a sort of Disneyland/Marine World/?
place.  (Few big rides, but a lot of themed areas)  It started raining,
and I'd left umbrella/anorak at the hotel, of course.  I took the cable
car back to the main island.  At the end of the cable car, I'd been told
I'd be able to get a taxi.  I got a little concerned when I saw that the
line for the taxi was about 80 people, with only one taxi a minute or less.
I started to walk, hoping to find a bus stop ... and then found I could
flag a taxi down on the street, so I got back to the hotel easily.  And,
as it turned out, this let me get to the airport an hour earlier than
I needed to ... or should have!

At the Singapore airport, you simply cannot check in until they've opened
your flight for check in.  In my case, this was 2 to 2.5 hours prior to
scheduled departure.  So, I cooled my heels at the airport for an hour
or so.

Eventually, the time came, and I was in the forefront of the check in.
Why?  Because I was grubby, and I'd planned all along to take a shower
at the Singapore airport ... and you can't do that until you've
gone through check in, customs, immigration.  The Transit Hotel
offers showers for S$8 (I think), about US$5.

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