Sunday, May 02, 2010

Helix Bridge and Marina Bays Sands Integrated Resorts

Singapore is a very interesting island. In a country where land is a premium, there are always new places of interest, built for social and economic interests which never fail to enthrall Singaporeans and friends from all over the world!

The latest iconic place of interest is inevitably the Marina Bays Sands Integrated resort and the Helix Bridge! Marina Bay sand resort was
officially opened on 27 Apr at the Chinese auspicious timing of 3.18 p.m. The opening of the DNA looking Helix bridge soon followed last Saturday amidst a fanfare of celebrations and fireworks!

It has really been some months that my Dear and I have actually had a night’s out in the city due to our commitments. With some spare time, we went on our first date in several months to the newly opened Helix bridge! We exited the Citylink Mall from the Esplanade and took a slow walk to the Helix just located next to the floating platform. The floating platform was out of bounds to members of the public as there was some construction work and some dancers practising their moves there. It must be preparation for the National Day or the Youth Olympics. Minutes later, my Dear and I reached the Helix bridge!

Singapore’s newest pedestrian bridge of pride was filled with hundreds of visitors, Singaporeans and foreigners. Being Labour’s Day, a Saturday and a public holiday, it was a splendid day to come to the Helix and the Marina Bay area. The weather was cool, neither too hot nor humid and the scenery at the Marina Bay was splendid, even though construction work at certain parts of the Marina Bay Integrated resorts were still ongoing! We followed the hundreds of people who rocked the Helix bridge, pausing at times to admire and snap photos of the show-stopping skyline of the Central Business District and the Marina Bay area of Singapore. The vista of Singapore’s prized district would sparkle even more when it gets deeper into the night.

The Helix is built of quality and firm steel and all of us felt secure even though many of us were up here on the bridge. This is no “London Bridge is falling down…”, this is The Helix, Singapore’s newest and most iconic pedestrian bridge which has joined its much older and historical predecessors at the Singapore river.

My Dear and I jostled among the crowds of ‘bridge-visitors’ and soon we reached the end of the bridge which was not really the end as the last quarter of the bridge was closed to visitors with construction work still undergoing.

My Dear and I hence joined the 30% of the bridge-visitors in continuing our scenic walk while the rest of the 70% of the bridge-visitors headed back (reversed) to the starting point of the bridge. Our walk next took us to the newest casino on planet earth at The Marina Bays Sands Integrated resort. The resort is truly iconic with its three pillars pointing to the skies. Do not belittle the design of the 3 pillars! I truly love these pillars and there is a lot of Fengshui underpinnings and elements when it comes to the design of the integrated resorts.

As my Dear and I continued our ‘discovery’, we were amazed to witness hundreds of people at the taxi stands, waiting for taxis at a building just opposite the ‘pillars’. “What is this building?” I asked my Dear. Our queries were soon answered as we asked a security guard while pointing to the hundreds of people inside the posh entrance of what we thought is a hotel. “Casino”, the security guard answered. “Can we enter?” I asked excitedly. “Yes, go by the main gate there and pay $100 each to enter” The $100 admission fee is not surprising to us as it was announced so many times in the media that Singaporeans would need to pay $100 to enter the casino so as to limit excessive and non-discretionary gambling among the locals. What surprised me was the fact that there were hundreds of people, bulk of whom were Singaporeans in the casino! Singaporeans are indeed rich for each of the people we saw behind the glass pane we peered at paid $100 each. Those who made a killing at the casino must be also those waiting in the taxi queue as taxi fares are not cheap in Singapore.

I always thought that the casinos are located in the 3 pillars, hence it surprised me that there is one outside the 3 pillars. As my Dear and I walked on, the skies have darkened and we chanced upon a huge underground shopping mall next to the Casino filled with very high-ended labeled shops, understandingly catering to the high income pundits.

As we walked on, we were also frantically hunting for the nearest MRT station. It would be no joke to turn back and re-jostle with the crowds back to the Helix. I was shocked when the security guard I asked highlighted to me that the nearest MRT station would be the Marina Bay Station as that would be quite far. The bus stops were also packed and my Dear and I continued our hunt for the nearest MRT station in the growing darkness of the skies. As we walked and walked, our stomachs sent a signal to us but we did not complain any bit as it was quite a time since we have dated in the city and we continued walking; it was no chore to us as both of us are able to walk for long distances (if you are free, read the “Places” and “Events” label of this blog to see the number of places we have visited in Singapore!)

Our walk was rewarded handsomely! We came to a (quite a secluded spot) along Marina Boulevard, which presented a show-stopping, spell-bounding evening vista of the integrated resorts, the Central Business District, the Esplanade, all laid out neatly as one! The vista was spell captivating and I doled out my camera once again to capture this magnificent moment! This spot was hardly known to Singaporeans. The dozens of foreign construction workers at the adjacent construction sites shared the “viewing platform” with us as they rested after a day of hard work.

After admiring this beautiful scenery, we founded ourselves headed towards Raffles Place MRT station and we proceeded to Wendy’s Singapore and devoured hungrily three quarter pound meals each! The queue at Wendy’s is now half of that in its opening days. However, kudos to Wendy’s as it has now built a partition to better manage the queue. As we ate, I saw a group of Singapore lugging their professional camera paraphernalia into the restaurant. Like us, they also spent their weekends doing their favorite hobbies and being Sunday once again today, like many Singaporeans, I can only wish that the weekends would also come once again fast so that we can indulge in our personal little things that we enjoy! I hope you enjoy reading my post and do continue to patronize Singapore’s most SINCERE blog right here at Singapore Short Stories!

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