Throughout India and Thailand, we were protected from the pre-Christmas shopping season. Not a Christmas decoration or holiday song did we come across in the entire month of November. Then, we arrived in Singapore, Nov 25, which tried its best get us into the Christmas shopping spirit, as quickly as possible. The airport, which always looks like a shopping mall, was decked out with Christmas trees, 10 foot tall Disney characters in winter wear made of flowers, Mickey Mouse shaped wreaths, and fake snow. Holiday music assailed us and advertisements for SALE, XMAS SPECIAL, and BUY NOW, screamed at us, from every surface.
In the city itself, we walked Orchard road, home to more than 30 shopping malls, and every major international brand name. We gaped at the oversized, rainbow colored, holiday decorations spanning the street. Peeking inside a few of the malls, the bright pink and purple Christmas trees and flashing lights reminded us of the Christmas tree lot in A Charlie Brown Christmas. We did make a few small purchases before retiring to the historic Raffles hotel for high tea. Entering, just before the afternoon monsoon rain began, the hotel lobby was a dry, cool respite from the heat.
In addition to shopping, we ventured out to Sentosa Island where we rode the cable cars and took a nature walk. The warmth and humidity were relieved by the fake snowflakes hanging from the ceiling, and sounds of “White Christmas.”
Our last full day in Singapore was American Thanksgiving. We called home in the morning to talk to the grandparents and then headed out to explore. The Singapore Science Center filled the morning for us and covered our science studies for the week. Boy loved the sound exhibit, and the fire vortex show was most impressive. The museum covered a wide variety of science topics and the interactive exhibits were all well maintained. It was one of the better science museums we have visited this year. Had we known, we would also have brought a swimsuit for Boy. The outdoor courtyard of the museum was a large water exploration area, with a full water playground. Other locals, in the know, had come with suits and towels, and the kids enjoyed the spraying water. Boy stripped off his shirt and shoes, rolled up his pants, and we allowed him to run through the splashing water in his clothes. We dripped a bit on the metro returning to the apartment, but he enjoyed the afternoon. That evening, we headed to the Marriott hotel, for an American style Thanksgiving dinner. There was turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, chili crab, sushi, and dim sum. One of our more memorable holidays.