SINGAPORE  UNIVERSAL  STUDIOS  TRANSFORMERS  RIDE
(from Australia)

DAY 5 of 6

QUICK INDEX - to jump to a specific page, event or day
DAY 1 - Pre-trip planning, (Tue 20th) flight over there, first evening and local area recon.
DAY 2 - (Wed 21st) Universal Studios.
DAY 3 - (Thu 22nd) Toy Museum & retail toy hunting.
DAY 4 - (Fri 23rd) Vintage toy hunting.
DAY 5 - (Sat 24th) Tourist Bus tours around Singapore.
DAY 6 - (Sun 25th) Singapore airport and return home (Mon 26th).
 

SATURDAY 24TH - TOURIST BUS TOURS

8.30am - wake up. If it weren't for the free breakfast that finishes at 10am, we probably wouldn't have been getting up so early some days.

This day was one that we weren't in a rush for, as it was just meant to be sitting on a sightseeing bus.  We'd seen them driving around and stopping near our hotel, so looking online it said that we should be able to just buy a ticket on the bus (no need to pre-book).
As it turned out, we ended up doing a lot more than just sitting on a bus all day.  The map below shows where we went on the bus in pink (there were three different buses we went on), and where we walked in blue. We started at the X at about 10.30am, and went east (to the right of the map) following the yellow bus route, until we got to the Suntec interchange. By the time we got there I had realised on the timetable that the loop for all three bus routes was only an hour for each. So to make it last longer (the ticket was for all-day travel), I suggested that we jump on the red bus route to do the northern loop, which would then cut back through the CBD to the southern loop (the purple shaded part of the map). That would then take us around the bottom right of the map to head back up towards the ferris wheel... but before we'd get there, we'd hop off at the Marina Bay Sands Hotel & Art Science Museum (the blue line on the map showing where we were on foot).
The reason we were getting off there, was for me to get up close to the building I was so fascinated over (the giant cricket stumps), as well as checking out a Lego exhibit that I came across online, that was currently on show at the Art-Science Museum.
After that we hopped on the Yellow Bus Route (where my blue line turns pink) which took us back clockwise around the bottom right of the map, then up past the Merlion, and looping back to head back to the southern part of Singapore.  At this point we got off again because there was a Collectibles store here called RoboRobo. Then at my insistence, we walked to the China Square Central, which was only about 10 minutes walk away (the long blue line).  I was hoping that we might find the other two stores open since it was a Saturday, but only one was. So then we walked west a couple blocks (my blue line), to catch the purple bus route that would do that big pink loop out to the western part of the map (the left side), to where our hotel was.  If that didn't help make sense of the pink and blue lines I put on the map below, just sit back and enjoy the photos I took while on those busses.
Something to note on the map (which I didn't get a photo of), is the canal at the top of the map that we crossed over twice - was progressively being covered over so that buildings or roads could be build over it.  It was like man erasing nature.

This was the type of bus for the red and yellow bus routes.

And this was the one for the purple bus route.  We're not sure if this one was covered by the ticket we bought on the red bus, but the driver let us on anyway (the last one at the end of the day).

So we hopped on at Orchard Road, and drove along the road we had been walking down several times already... hence no photos today.

We got to Suntec and jumped onto the Red route bus, and in five minutes it left. (the buses are every 10-15 minutes)

The first thing of interest was a war memorial commemorating the surrender to the Japanese in WW2.  It is indeed meant to look like four chopsticks.

The CBD in the distance, with the tallest building in Singapore (I think).

On the north side loop on the tour map was this gothic looking building, with the statues at the top.

The north side was the Indian district.

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It doesn't take long in Singapore to get the feeling that someone with the name "Raffles" must have been very important in its history, as there are so many buildings, places, streets, etc with that name.
And sure enough, he was the English fellow that founded modern Singapore back in the early 19th Century.

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The Arts building was all covered in scaffolding, but the UFO behind it was what caught my attention. Believe it or not, but that's the Courts building.


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This was a new hotel that was nearing completion (one day we went past to see a mountain of mattresses being delivered). It looks fascinating because up close, the layers make it look like an eroded riverbed.

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Yeah... I can't get enough of this building.

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11.30 - This was when we got off the bus... it is just massive.  And you wonder what it would be like falling off its perch.

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The shopping centre attached to that fascinating building.  It has a canal in the middle, with boats to give people rides in like a Venice canal.

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All the posh labels in this posh shopping centre... including a Ferrari (merchandise) store.

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Outside, looking across the bay towards the CBD and where the Merlion is. (a stitched photo)

I was showing off to Julian how good my current camera was, zooming in 20x to get the Merlion from the other side of the bay (in the middle of the photo above).

The Art-Science Museum, from underneath.

Inside was the Lego art exhibition, which was apparently in Australia in the last 12-15 months.

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The map of the floor that held the exhibit.  Plus the ticket to the exhibit (right) and the tour bus ticket (left).

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First section - Introduction.


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Next section - The Artist Studio


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Next section - The Catwalk.


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Next section - Portrait Gallery


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There were two terminals that you could get your photo taken, and it would digitise it to look like your photo was done with Lego blocks.

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Julian talked me into doing one, after he had played with it for a while.
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Next section - The Drawing Board
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Next section - The Emotion Box


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Next Section - The Art of Play


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The guy who built the things...

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Different types of Lego, to give different textures under your feet.

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At the entrance was a paid photo opportunity, to have yourself looking like Lego Minifigures, with a giant pencil to look like you've been shrunken down too.

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It took less than an hour, and that was taking our time too.

Back outside and it was almost 1pm now, we headed back to the where the Yellow Route Bus would stop.

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Right underneath the Bow of the ship.

We just missed a bus by less than a minute, so we had to wait for 10 minutes for the next one.
This one circled back around to the CBD, before heading north past the Merlion.

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This place was said to be about a hundred years old, surrounded by skyscrapers.

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One more look at the "boat" on top.  Tourists are allowed to go up there, but have to pay a fee though.  If we had more time, we would have gone up, as it would have given a great view of Singapore.

We hopped off the bus after about 10 minutes because there was one more Collectibles Toy store left to check out.  If there wasn't anything here, then I'd be going home empty handed of JP Gen1.
We just had to find the place first.  It was like Falcon's Hanger the day before, in that we only knew roughly where this one was located, based on the source info.
Eventually we found it, as it had a street number, but none of the buildings had numbers on them, nor did the street signs (like they do here).

This store was the best stocked store out of all the ones we saw this week, as it had something from just about every era of Transformers.
I even found three items I was missing, but the prices were 2-3 times what I was comfortable paying, so again, I left empty handed.
(the golden Optimus in the front window was a prize they were giving away, and to enter, you had to spend $150)

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This was a Fire Station that looked like it was pre-war era.

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So after that disappointment, I convinced Julian to walk with me to the China Square Central building, to see if any more of the stores were open today.  I was getting desperate to buy something Vintage.
He ended up agreeing, so about 15 minutes later, we were there. (about 2.30).
On the way we saw the Parliament house.

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And a muddy river that looks worse than the Brisbane river.

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The Law Courts UFO again.

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So the store extra store that was open only had a back room of items... with no toys that interested me, I ended up buying a BotShots playmat, for more than I should have spent on a small bit of plastic.

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We had a quick look at some of the other stores that we'd already seen the day before, and then headed out to catch a bus back to the hotel.
I initially thought about catching a Taxi back, but then figured that we'd paid for these bus tickets... we should use them as much as we can, or else we'd regret not using them.
So walking two blocks west to the nearest bus stop, one of the brown buses came along.  We waved it down and showed our tickets to see if they included this bus. I don't think they did, but he waved us on anyway so that he could keep going (or was being generous).
We were now sitting on our third bus, and were tired enough to not care where it went.
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Even from a distance, it is a marvel of engineering.

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4.15pm the bus arrived at the stop near our hotel, and like the other day, we went into ToysRUs first, as I was wanting to drown my sorrows on some over-priced Asian Generations toys.
Lucky we did, because I found (out of the corner of my eye) newly released Kreon Microchangers cases at some of the Registers.
The next ten minutes were spent frantically finding the full set of 12 from the four cases they had (they have numbers printed on the packets), because one of the figures was almost non-existent. I ended up finding the 12th figure in an odd box.  I also bought some extras for others back home, but not too many, as they were SG$6.90 each (about AU$5.80, compared to AU$4 of the ones here).
I also got a couple of empty boxes from them as well.

5.00pm - back in the hotel room, I quickly checked the global fansites to see if this was a world first find... and even though someone had posted up a sighting, no one had posted up photos of the set or the checklist.
So we spent the next couple hours constructing all the figures, and taking photos of both their modes, then posting up the pics on a couple fansites.

The items bought today - the toys at the top from ToysRUs, and the BotShots playmat from one of the collectibles stores.

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The other side of the playmat.

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7.00pm - being our last night, I told Julian that he was to help me sample Asian foods, by heading back out and finding some non-western foodcourts.

We started off back down to the Far East Centre, as we saw a couple places there the other day.

First up was a filled "crepe" on the left and rice porridge on the right (apparently had century egg in it, which is a perserved egg).
We also had from there, a durian filled pancake.  Durian is a tropical fruit with a really strong bitey flavour that took hours to go away.

Next up was actually a non-Asian thing that I saw at a nearby outlet - deep fried Mars Bar balls.  Like similar deep fried foods, the batter insulates the frozen item inside, so that it doesn't melt during the quick cooking process... it just thaws out the Mars Bar centre enough to give you a crunchy shell and a soft sweet centre.  It was served with icecream and syrup.

Back to the Asian foods...
We headed over to the Ion Food Court, and found a heap of different outlets on the lower levels.

To start with - an omlette with half-cooked oysters on the left, a "carrot cake" in the middle, and "Char_kway_teow" (a dish with noodles and cockles) on the right.
A moment of education for my fellow westerners - Asian "carrot cake" is actually a radish dish, sometimes as an omlette.  The reason it's called "carrot" is because Radish to them is called a "white carrot".

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And finally some Malaysian/Singaporean foods - braised pigs trotters, with "fish cakes" (the white stuff).

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On the way back I grabbed some icecream from a Haagen-Dazs outlet on the side of the street.  But damn... three scoops in a cardboard cup for SG$13.50 (that's almost AU$4 per scoop).  Definitely one for the dumb tourists who don't realise how much they are spending in a foreign currency.  Oh wait... I bought some. :p

10.00pm - back at the hotel, and I got started on the packing.
Got the box taped up, and most of the non-toy stuff packed away.


Someone had some fun setting up the Kreo Minifigures.

1.30am - sleep... the final night in Singapore.



Continue onto DAY 6 OF 6



To contact me --> griffin @ otca.com.au