Marina Bay Sands and The State of the Break

Sorry it’s been a bit quiet here on Expat Bostonians.  It’s more than a little difficult to write a blog about experiencing life in Singapore when, due to the break, you’re not leaving the house much.  And while I haven’t been shoveling snow like my beleaguered Bostonian pals, my day to day life in the house isn’t all that interesting. Sure, I could share a cute E story here and there, but my days have basically amounted to “laid/sat in bed surfing the web and watching episode after episode of Nostalgia Critic and Nostalgia Chick, checking facebook and twitter endlessly and watching movies” or “laid/sat on the couch watching toddler tv with E, hanging out with E, having E point to my cast 80 jillion times a day and proudly informing me that it’s “Mommy’s Cast!” and then looking at my other leg/foot (the cast-less one) and dismissively calling it “Mommy’s other foot,” wheeling around the house–which means in the living room as the wheelchair can’t get into any of the other rooms, and occasionally leaving the house for something deathly exciting like a trip to McDonalds because I’m about to lose my fucking mind.

While I was desperate for blog material, at no time have I been desperate enough to turn on local tv.  Just saying.

I go back to the orthopedist on Monday (Jan 31) and get x-rays and such.  With luck, I’ll be able to upgrade to the fiberglass cast I can remove, making daily showers no longer just a fond memory.

We had a bright moment though, as my in-laws came to town for a week last week.  Mostly they got poor Elanor out of the house, leaving me to sleep (to people who’ve broken bones–did you sleep a lot?  I seem to be practically narcoleptic these days…and I can’t blame the painkillers because I’m down to a half dose at bedtime if at all) or use a few hours productively in the pursuit of a shower (not easy to do when you can’t stand up, you can’t get your cast wet, and you don’t want help), and playing bridge (which has always been a big thing when we get together).  Ravi also took an extra day off, and suddenly, BOOM…we left the house several days in a row!

Something I’ve been wanting to do for ages is visit the Sky Park at Marina Bay Sands.  Ravi and I first noticed it back on our first date here in Singapore, when we did the Singapore Flyer (which is only a few blocks away from MBS).  We wondered what that strange three-towered building with what looked like half a cruise ship sitting across their roofs was, exactly.  It was several months before I first heard the words “Marina Bay Sands” in connection with it.  It was still under construction when we moved here, and only began to open some of its businesses, bars, and such over the fall.  At some point in November or December, the SkyPark opened, and since then it has felt like all of my friends have been there (Flora, I thought you’d posted a visit, too, but couldn’t find one–did I hallucinate?).

The Sky Park is located on the 56/57th floor of the MBS hotel (not to be confused with the MBS Casino, the MBS Convention Center, the Shoppes at Marina Bay, the Marina Bay link Mall or any of the other squadrillion things with the words “Marina Bay” or “Marina Bay Sands” in the title).

In a very strange twist, you have to go down a level from the main floor of the hotel (tower 3, fyi) to get to the ticket seller.  In a complex that is chock-a-block full of elevators and ramps, there is no accessible way down to the ticket seller; only an escalator.  This seems like a purely stupid oversight, as I was not the only person I saw in a wheelchair in the hotel/shopping complex that day, or even at the sky park (which is mostly otherwise wholly accessible).

Ravi and Amit got the tickets while I took a few shots of the interior of the hotel.  Then we were escorted to an elevator bank so that we could get my chair up to the sky park.

It was a lovely day to be there…not overly hot or humid (the benefit of our daily monsoon rains), but it was a bit hazy, so while I could make out what I think was Malaysia, I’m not 100% sure.

Singapore ran out of land (or at least out of land they felt like leveling and denuding of trees in favor of malls) so they started a massive landfill project.  The MBS, Ravi’s new office building and everything you see under construction here is all build on landfill.  The curlicue in the top/middle of the shot is Marina Barrage, where the pit stop for the Singapore leg of Amazing Race was (season 16, episode 9...aired in the US right around when we moved here, ironically).  I have no idea what most of the other stuff is/will be.

Zoomed in shot of Marina Barrage

This little jungle island in the midst of all the construction struck me as particularly Singaporean.  Constant upgrading and construction, but constant attempts to keep some greenery, I suppose.

The floating stadium with various hotels and condos in the background.

Click on the photo to enlarge it.  You can see in the lower right the two “durians” that make up the Esplanade Theater complex.  At the bottom left is the Merlion fountain that is emblazoned on all the tourist stuff from Singapore.  The building in the middle is the old Supreme Court (yes?), and if you follow the river in the left third of the picture you can see Boat Quay and then Clarke Quay.  Our house would be just out frame (or maybe just in frame at the very top left).


A view of the docks of Singapore; one of the busiest ports in the world.

After wandering the Sky Park, we wanted to go up to see the infinity pool and the bar (and get a few more views) one floor up.  You could easily walk up a set of stairs from the Sky Deck if you are physically able, but in a wheelchair, I had to go down to the first floor, switch elevator banks and go up to 57.  Again, in a hotel that is otherwise very conscientious of their disabled guests, this seems like a strange sour note.  Why not have a simple lift to get from the viewing deck to the pool deck?  It just seems like a strange oversight.

The pool deck made me want to spend a night at the hotel.  While tourists can see some of the “guests only” features like the infinity pool, the view so spectacular that I desperately want to see it for myself, and not from the veiled off tourist area.

A family sits in one of the jacuzzis, looking through the glass (sorry for the glare) at the many container ships waiting to enter the port.  There are three to five of these on the side of the tower overlooking the water.

On the other side of the tower is the infinity pool.  Built with a glass side, you have a totally unobstructed view of the city of Singapore.  It is a truly breathtaking view, and I was certainly envious of the guests who got to enjoy it.  Most of the guests made a point of taking their camera into the water (it looked like it was no more than a meter deep…3 feet, maybe 4) and taking shots of the city, as well as getting someone to take their picture leaning back against the glass in what (cropped properly) would make for a spectacular shot…you floating in mid air among the skyscrapers.

After our viewing, we explored the Shoppes (I hate that spelling) at Marina Bay, but I’ll save that for another post.

This entry was posted in Acts of Supreme Clumsiness, Attractions, general places, hotels/serviced apartments/resorts, Pictures, Singapore, Travel, Uniquely Singapore, With Kids and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Marina Bay Sands and The State of the Break

  1. kierstens says:

    I’m still plotting ways to get in that infinity pool without paying for a damn room……….

    • Crystal says:

      Maybe we all chip in (like 8-10 of us) for a “room” and then keep getting extra room keys because we “lost” them? Probably too elaborate a plan.

  2. floramoreno says:

    Kiersten, how about I accidentally push you in, and you pull me in with you. Wear your bathing suit under your clothes that day!

    Crystal, I have yet to go up to the top of the Sky Park, but I posted about the Singapore Flyer. http://www.jeffreyandflora.com/2010/09/singapore-flyer.html

    • Crystal says:

      I like this plan.

      Ah, ok. You also did the gorgeous shots of the Marina Bay area lit up for Xmas, which my mind may have confused with the MBS. (too many things with the same name).

  3. bookjunkie says:

    thanks so much for the link back. I have been missing your posts.

    You are brave to attempt doing this in a wheelchair…I think I would be just too lazy and would rather stay home with books. But I guess after a long time it might get a bit stifling to stay home.

    I never noticed that tiny tiny little jungle island before.

    When I look out I am not sure if I see Malaysia or Indonesia either (I have absolutely no sense of direction). I think from Marina Bay Sands which is in the East mostly what I saw was the East Coast from a distance.

    • Crystal says:

      It does get stifling. At some point the walls just start closing in on you and you have to get out no matter how much hassle.

      LOL…seriously? It’s just more of Singapore? That’s so rich!

      • bookjunkie says:

        there are also some itty bitty islands that belong to Singapore besides Sentosa and Pulau Ubin that I haven’t explored yet. But I think some are off bounds. When I was a kid I had a camping trip at St John’s island. We stayed in army type barracks. Very spartan…I can’t do spartan anymore. I am quite spoilt in my old age 😉

  4. Zach Woods says:

    Keep getting better sooner!

    I am guessing the poor accessibility is due to successive construction projects that were often not planned ahead. As a new addition was built it was too difficult to connect it more sensibly for them to bother.

    • Crystal says:

      Likely, but I wonder how difficult it would be just to put in a small elevator? Not having any knowledge of construction, my question is totally ignorant.

      Good to see you here, Z! How’s the little one?

      • Zach Woods says:

        Hi Crystal –

        Zane is doing well – we may see CJ later today! Zane is in Pre-school Tuesdays and Thursdays for half a day and enjoying it – although he is exhausted come noon!

        It’s been fun to see the pictures of Elanor and hear about how she is doing.

        I imagine the small elevator is a cost vs. benefit vs. regulation issue. Probably the Singapore accessibility regulations don’t have enough teeth and the cost of even a small elevator outweighs the complaint headaches that they receive. If the construction is structural concrete it can be very difficult / expensive to make these sorts of changes if they were not planned from the start.

        Zach

      • Crystal says:

        You’re likely right…buildings here tend to have much heavier walls (you need to hire a handy man to hang pictures…they drill a hole in the wall…it’s impossible to use a hammer) so that makes sense. Thanks for helping to explain it.

        Glad to hear Zane is doing well. Did you find adding pre-school changed his nap routine?

      • Zach Woods says:

        Zane has been trying to lose his nap on his own. He finishes his half day exhausted and hungry but lunch picks him up quite a bit. Then he fights against the 2PM nap time because he is recharged and feeling ready to go. If he naps for more than 1 to 1.5 hours he won’t get a good nights sleep – if he doesn’t nap he can be pretty cranky in the afternoon and evening.

  5. kirsten says:

    I haven’t been up to the Sky Park yet! This is because I am a cheapskate Singaporean who has figured out that I will have to go up to the Sky Park as an Obliging Host at some point when I have to show visitors around my country.

    So, being totally stingy like that, I am saving up the Sky Park visit for when my boyfriend FINALLY comes to Singapore, so that I only have to buy the ticket once. Pathetic, I know, but I am not only a Cheapskate Singaporean, I am also on entry-level pay. That’s my justification, anyway.

    I also hate the “Shoppes” spelling. Adding an “e” does not make you European or classy – it just makes you a bad speller.

    • Crystal says:

      I was like that with Boston touristy stuff (wait until someone comes to visit). And to be fair, it is my in-laws visit that spurred the trip to the Sky Park, but I would’ve likely gone once I was mobile again.

      It sucks to be entry-level. Believe me, I lived there for a long time (and it’s really only R’s salary that makes a difference…if I were still a teacher, I’d be living paycheck to paycheck) so I empathize.

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