It turns out the boat store located in the Raffles marina complex was the right store for us. Raffles Marina has won awards as being one of the best marinas in Asia. It is a popular marina with cruisers. We decided not to go there because it is pretty far out of town and we wanted to check out the highly touted brand new marina One degree 15. Pretty far out of town is right. It was a 30 minute train ride west from Vivo City to the Boon Lay train stop the end of the line. From the train we took a 15 minute cab to the marina. Out here there is something we have seen virtually none of in Singapore to date: vacant land. What is weird is there are high rise complexes that look kind of like low income housing in and amongst the empty fields.
Raffles Marina is absolutely beautiful. Like One degree 15, it is a private club. It is just as nice, if not nicer, than One 15. One 15 is very sleek and modern, Raffles is more colonial opulence, kind of like Raffles hotel.
There is a website we look at sometimes written by a cruising couple from Seattle that are about our age, Warren and Steph on Micro Verde (see Useful Resources). We knew they were staying in the marina, so we found their boat and knocked on their door. Warren was home and seemed happy to meet us. We went and got lunch at the marina restaurant. This restaurant is much cheaper than the one at One 15 (though still on the high side compared to the rest of Singapore). They allow non-members in, offering a discount if you are a member or staying at the marina. One 15 won’t let you in the door of the restaurant if you don’t have your membership card in hand even if they recognize you. People staying in the marina have to pay a 10% surcharge for not being a “real’ member. It is also much calmer in this marina, with boats not rocking nearly as much as they do at One 15.
Lunch was nice. We compared notes about our journeys. They had followed a similar route, but had gone slower and have been out for 4 years now. Interestingly enough, unprompted by us, Warren commented that being in Singapore is like being in Disneyland. So we aren’t the only ones who feel that way.
After lunch we went to the boat store, and were pleased to see that they had almost everything we needed, so it turned out to be a worthwhile trip. We found out there is a free bus that will take you to the train station that was due in about 20 minutes, so we relaxed in the Raffles lounge on the comfy couches until the bus arrived. An hour later, we were back at Vivo City, where we got dinner and did some grocery shopping before heading back to Kosmos for the night. And of course, we stopped by the deli.
Side note 1 — it turns out the Vivo City train station is low brow compared to many of the other stations we have seen since. Most of the other stations have additional dÃ©cor planters with lots of flowering plants, or giant wall murals, or expensive looking marble floors and walls. And to think we thought it was nice when we first saw it!
Side note 2 Smoking is strongly discouraged here. You are not allowed to bring them into the country at all if you arrive by ferry, all packs of cigarettes in your possession are confiscated. Smoking isn’t allowed anywhere in public. Cigarettes are readily available just about everywhere, but we are told that they are unbelievably expensive to buy. But to really discourage smoking, the Singapore government requires that the label have a very large and graphic close up picture of cancer in a very advanced stage with a warning that this will happen to you if you smoke these cigarettes.
Side note 3 — In Singapore, they are very tough on crime. You already saw the stiff fines for getting caught eating, smoking or carrying flammable liquids in the subway station. The sign below will give you a good sense of how seriously they take security. It is posted every few feet along the gate around a radio tower on Sentosa. In America it would say “Do not enter violators will be prosecuted”.