Arriving back in Singpore was a breeze too and we arrived early enough in the day that we decided to let the adventures continue . . . . Yes, I guess we weren't quite adventured out after all. In fact, the first few days we were in Singapore, we basically hit up all the attractions from the Night Safari, River Safari, Jurong Bird Park and the Singapore Zoo. . . four parks in four days? Sure, why not?
The Night Safari was kinda crazy, we first went and saw the Night Creatures show and it was hosted by a great guide named Sani. Bridget even got called up to feed a civet and we captured it on video. In fact, I've posted a few videos of the week that have been super fun moments that we captured, including the River Safari ride and feeding the elephants and the giraffes. We ended the week visiting the Singapore Zoo and it was really incredible, there were animals there that I've actually never seen before so it was a great experience. We also managed to see Sani again a few more times and he waved to the girls as he recognized them. Super nice guy and it was a real treat for us. Each of the four attractions offered enough variety and seeing completely different things so it wasn't repetitive. The night Safari provided us the most views of the animals out in the open, but was also eerie to be walking around at night time, with very little light to see the paths. All we could hope for was that the barriers between us and the animals were secure enough to keep them and us out of their habitat. The River Safari was cool too and we saw so many creatures we hadn't heard of before. We thought it was kind of ironic to see American Beavers and catfish featured though. The crocodiles were crazy fierce looking and the River Quest ride was our favorite rides. We saw these crazy looking hamster/guinea pigs/rodents called Capyburas. Wow, they were ENORMOUS! We got to see the pandas too! At the bird park, we got to feed parrots right in the palm of our hands, and they were everywhere. Each of the parks was layed out quite nicely and we managed to see everything. The Singapore Zoo was really incredible, it was so lush and green and to see free ranging orangutans swinging overhead completely care-free was quite a sight to behold. Bridget got to feed the elephants and the giraffes and she enjoyed every minute. We saw a ton of great animal shows as well, and both girls got to be a part of the dog show which was pretty cool. We found ourselves in a lorry which was fine of course and we were enjoying the sights, that was until I looked up above us and saw the bats. I was fine, I mean bats only fly around at night, right? Well all of sudden the bats seemed to be waking up and started fluttering their gigantic wings and before I knew it then were flying downwards towards us. Nope, not gonna happen. Gotta find a way out! Oh, there is no way out, you gotta go back the way you came in. Great. So I got braver and approached a ledge where the bat was and he was literally hanging upside down eating some fruit right in front of me. Like RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME . . we're talking inches people. I swear we were staring at each other and all I kept thinking about was Dracula. Wow, can't say that wasn't an experience of a lifetime and I'm totally fine if I don't experience it again. Face to face with a bat - check!
One of the evenings during the performance, a few of the mamas ventured out to check out Gardens by the Bay and went to the top of the big 'tree'. To gain access to the top of the big tree, there is an entry fee of $18 that gets you to the top and includes a complimentary drink (beer, wine, spirits). It was totally worth it to see the view from the top. It's so hard to describe that the photos really depict the magnitude of the park and the sights around us. There are these gigantic metal structures designed to look like trees and there are flowers everywhere. They have a light show at night and it's spectacular. The thing I found the most funny is that the light show is set to the beat of 70s disco songs. At first I head a couple of them and then realized the entire show was set to 70s songs. Man, they love that music here! LOL
Another evening we went and checked out the Singapore Night Festival, which occurs only on two weekends in September. We were pretty lucky we had a chance to see it and all the buildings illuminated with all kinds of designs and decorations, as well as food vendors and arts and crafts. Some of the Annie mamas also got Henna tattoos and the details are incredible. The rest of our time here in Singapore has been spent getting to know the area and figuring out the way to/from the theatre, etc. It's quite a long way from the hotel so it's been a little bit of a trek to go back and forth and takes about 45 minutes to an hour each way. The venue is called the Mastercard Grand Theatre and it is located at the Marina Bay Sands complex. We went to the top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel and got an amazing aerial view of the gardens (see below). The theatre is also part of a giant mall that I pretty much could never afford. The stores here make 5th Avenue look like the slums, and there are thousands of them, most of which have items starting in the hundreds and thousands. Oh Singapore, Singapore, why must you remind me that we are so poor??!!
In fact, most of the malls (and there are a TON here) all have a Rolex store. Say what? Not to mention that Vera Wang is right around the corner from the theatre. I can't even. So needless to say, we are not exactly doing any shopping around the mall, and have been venturing out to Chinatown and other parts of the city that are more affordable.
Opening night of Annie was fantastic, and there was an after party thrown by the presenters. It was one of the best we have attended and the girls had a blast. As the night was coming to an end, in walks Peyton Meyer and his Mom. They dropped it to say hi as they had seen the show in LA last year and knew some of the cast members. Needless to say, when he walked in, the girls were stunned and completely went gaga over the kid. We took some great group shots and they spent some time talking to him. I think that might have made their whole year. When I told Hannah about it, the first thing she asked was 'you got his number, right??!!" HAHAHA . . .so star struck. He was the nicest guy though and very down to earth and his mom was super sweet too. If you are reading this and have no idea who I'm talking about, then welcome to my world, and obviously aren't glued to the Disney channel. LOL
We also had a chance to meet some of the parents of the 'guest orphans'. They apparently had a contest/audition here in Singapore to add a guest orphan each night to the show. They don't sing with the cast, but they are on stage a few times when the girls are on. The one thing we have noticed a huge difference here in Singapore is that no one comes to the stage door. In fact, I don't think they even know where it is, or to even think of trying to meet the girls. The theatre even discourages it, but I know I speak for all the orphans and their parents . . that's it is really something they are missing the most. They love their fans, they love taking photos with them and signing the programs, and I guess that's not really part of the culture here. Of course in Jakarta, they were spoiled by that experience, so it's like going 'cold turkey' when they got here. We have all really been missing Jakarta, and this is just one of those reasons.
The first week here was filled with fun outings, and then the weekend hit of double shows so we took it easy the rest of the time. We have gotten to know our way around, transportation is fairly easy, they have Ubers, taxis and the train. In fact, we have been quite entertained by some of our Uber drivers. One told us the ancient chinese story about the ninth son, a dragon. The version he told was not exactly PG, but that didn't stop him from telling us in front of the girls. Once we got their jaws off the ground, we laughed so hard about it. So when we see each other next time, be sure and ask. It's quite the story and will have you laughing out loud. We also have begun using the MRT a lot, which is Singapore's public transit. It is really incredible and quick and efficient. It's also the CLEANEST subway system I've ever seen. They do not allow food and drink anywhere on the train and there are no trash cans. You would think it would be counter productive to not provide trash cans, but it works. I literally had to hold on to my trash until I got out of the station. It also helps that you will get fined $500 for eating or drinking on the train and even more for littering. I guess that's a good deterrent. The thing that cracked me up as well is that there is a "No Durians" sign on the train. You probably get sent to jail for eating or having Durian on the train. LMAO If you don't know what Durian is, no worries . . . the stench is really overwhelming.
Also, speaking of clean, it really is the cleanest city I've ever seen. Everything is so immaculate, and they are constantly cleaning the floors everywhere you go. You could practically eat off the floor, but I wouldn't recommend that, that's probably a jailable offense too.
As for the mall, there is a food court with all sorts of food choices, mainly Asian and Indian. On the off chance you find something that closely resembles anything 'western', it will definitely not taste the same. It will usually resemble something more to the eastern tastes. Don't get me wrong, we like all sorts of food, but we are missing the comforts of home, and I simply can't wait to actually cook again. It's been challenging even for us, but I will be savoring every single solitary bite of an actual American hamburger when I get my hands on one! They also don't really eat pork here, so we still are getting beef bacon, and the breakfast sampling every day is unusual. Luckily we have found a great grocery store in the Chinatown area that we've been able to pick up a few things to prepare back in our room like sandwiches, fresh fruit, veggies, etc. We even found raspberries strawberries for a decent price and enjoyed every morsel!
This past Monday was a "Golden Day" for us, which means that it's basically a day off of no rehearsals and no shows, and we took full advantage and headed off to Universal Studios with the orphans and some of the cast members. We had a blast taking a tour of the park, seeing a couple of great shows, and even got the meet the cast of Water World. The stunts and explosions scenes were incredible, not to mention we were in the 'soak' zone and got really, really wet! Bridget also decided to get over one of her fears and went on an upside down roller coaster. She was pretty proud of herself and feels finally ready to take on Busch Gardens in Tampa. :-)
Yesterday in between rehearsals and the show, I took Bridget to Chinatown to a cool store called Daiso Japan. It's like a Dollar Tree on crack, and they have the coolest things we would never find in the US. We bought some unique souvenirs and even some cute school supplies as school is in full swing now. Bridget is enrolled in Florida Virtual school so we started this past week when everyone else did back in Sarasota. They have great program called FLVS Flex that gives us the flexibility we are looking for in terms of a school program. We can do school at any time of day or night, and as long as she stays on pace and on track with what's required, she has the flexibility of doing it on her own time. With the 12 hour time difference it makes it a whole lot easier to do this program and it will also be great once we are back home.
We have a few more excursions planned for the rest of our stay as we have a couple more weeks before the Asia part of the tour ends. We hope to be back on US soil on September 13th. Stay tuned for another update in the next week or so. As always, thank you for tuning in and following Bridget on this amazing adventure with Annie the Musical.
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