Oct 11, 2019

Known Design Co

For me the journey begins long before the actual departure or the arrival…… it is the anticipation, the imagining what it will be like if it is an unknown destination, thinking about what I would like to get out of the experience, the research on foodie experiences and the recommended things to do in Singapore. Then the packing begins, and I can only say, I am not one for travelling light, as hard as I try. Who knows what you may need, so in it goes… especially the shoes, a girl must be prepared! I do also for a trip such as this one, need my books both spiritual & lighthearted holiday reads, my journals, headphones, laptop and so on, not to mention the cosmetics and girly paraphernalia. Oy! So poor Gavin ends up schlepping these bags, and wishing for a low maintenance girl I am sure!

Finally, all is done, suitcases closed, unhappy animals following my every move with those soulful eyes, willing me not to go yet again. Guilty feelings, hurried cuddles, pats and reassurances. How do you let them know that you WILL be back! Last minute instructions to my team, and into the waiting Uber. That is when I feel like I am on the way, when all is done, and what will be will be.

I love everything about the travelling, from the check in to the departure lounge, well… maybe not the security, but hey, it’s all a part of it. Fortunately due to the high volume of flying and voyager miles for upgrades, we are privileged to fly in Business Class, and of course I know this makes all the difference. We had never flown Singapore Airlines before and looked forward to the experience. What a pleasure to clear customs in Cape Town, an get straight onto the international flight. We did touch down in Jhb, but stayed on the plane for an hour or so, just enough time to send a few more urgent mails.

Wow, the seats are amazing! More like First Class, super big and space to pack all your things. Love it! I never ever get tired of this, or the feeling of being spoilt, and appreciating every moment of it. I read the menu, look at the movie list, check out the wines on offer…… Gav & I are just the same here, and I am sure the staff always think it’s our first flight ever! But in life it is so important not to take anything for granted. We are truly blessed! Being a morning flight, sadly it wasn’t champagne time yet, so we settled for tea & coffee, and a light snack.

The menu was designed by several chefs, and I have a picture of these along with the menu. The airline staff could not have been lovelier, gorgeous ladies in their floor length floral dresses, sleek dark hair immaculately coiffed, and make up done perfectly. Just lovely, and these ladies were tall, I hadn’t expected that, as generally the Asians seem to be petite. But Singapore seems to fit outside the mould in so many ways. Food, wine…

The meal was very excellent, and the service to go with it.

How lovely to do a daytime (for us) flight, as you get to watch the movies. I saw THE GLASS CASTLE , which was so beautiful. Then the bed was swiftly turned down, and I managed to get a few hours sleep before we were served breakfast and then landed in Singapore in the early morning, which was of course for us around midnight. From Johannesburg it is a short 10 hour flight.

I didn’t know much about Singapore, and fast learnt that basically the city, is the country. It used to be a part of Malaysia, until there independence.


Though physically small, Singapore is an economic giant. It has been Southeast Asia’s most modern city for over a century. The city blends Malay, Chinese, Arab, Indian and English cultures and religions. Its unique ethnic tapestry affords visitors a wide array of sightseeing and of course, the culinary opportunities from which to choose. In addition, Singapore offers luxury hotels and great shopping! . The country includes the island of Singapore and 58 or so smaller islands. Because of its efficient and determined government, Singapore has become a flourishing country that excels in trade and tourism and is a model to developing nations. The capital city, also called Singapore, covers about a third of the area of the main island.
Located at the tip of the Malay Peninsula, Singapore’s tropical climate welcomes both leisure and business travelers year round. The island republic’s excellent infrastructure enables visitors to enjoy its many sites and attractions in a safe, clean and green environment. Award winning Changi Airport provides airlinks to major cities around the world. The train and subway systems are clean, fast and efficient.
In the city, there is no need for a car. Public transportation is excellent and walking is a good way to explore the city . The visitor is struck immediately by Singapore’s abundance of parks, nature reserves, and lush, tropical greenery.
Singapore’s progress over the past three decades has been remarkable, yet the island has not been overwhelmed by development. Visitors will discover a wealth of historical treasures from the past, in the beauty of older buildings, values and traditions that have survived in the face of profound social and geographical change.
Lacking any noteworthy natural resources, Singapore’s early prosperity was based on a vigorous free trade policy, put in place in 1819 when Sir Stamford Raffles first established it as a British trading post. Later, mass industrialization bolstered the economy, and today the state boasts the world’s second busiest port after Rotterdam, minimal unemployment, and a super efficient infrastructure. Almost the entire population lives in upscale new apartments, and the average per capita income is over US$12,000. Singapore is a clean, safe place to visit, its amenities are second to none and its public places are smoke-free and hygienic. Forming the core of downtown Singapore is the Colonial District. Each surrounding enclave has its own distinct flavor, from the aromatic spice stores of Little India, to the tumbledown backstreets of Chinatown, where it is still possible to find calligraphers and fortune tellers, or the Arab Quarter, whose cluttered stores sell fine cloths and silks. I wandered around these quarters, absorbing the different spice aromas, the food markets and the hustle and bustle of the street traders.
It’s a modern metropolis where you feel safe walking the streets, and it’s an Asian business centre that’s a model of efficiency. Singapore is also a multicultural city, and close to one-quarter of its population are expatriates or foreign workers from all over the world. Known for its desire to become the technology hub of Asia, Singapore is the most wired country in the region.

Marina Sands:

The resort is designed by Moshe Safdie, who says it was initially inspired by card decks. In addition to the casino, other key components of the plan are three hotel towers with 2,500 rooms and suites, a 19,000 m2 ArtScience Museum and a convention centre with 110,000 m2 of space, capable of accommodating up to 45,000 people. A continuous lobby at the base linked the three towers. The resort’s architecture and major design changes along the way were also approved by its feng shui consultants, the late Chong Swan Lek and Louisa Ong-Lee.

A distinctive feature of the hotel is the SkyPark, a three-acre park on top of the building with swimming pools, gardens, and jogging paths. The structure bridges all three towers with a segment cantilevered off the north tower.

What an incredible place! The hotel was magnificent, and we were on the 34th floor of 57. The rooftop is just insane, with restaurants, yoga deck (and yes, I did this at sunrise, overlooking the city as it wakes up, a real experience), the rim flow pools, bars and so on. The Singaporeans are just so friendly, so efficient and everything works. They should run the world, seriously! We had the privilege of being at a talk/interview with the Prime Minister of Singapore for our YPO experience, and he is a legendary, visionary man. So impressive what they have achieved here in a very short time. And they have a 50 year plan, all the land that they are reclaiming from the sea, and the buildings scheduled to go up. Absolutely fascinating! They actually have no water and import this from Malaysia, then clean it, and send back what Malaysia needs. So they are actually in a vulnerable position if ever Malaysia decided to turn off the switch!

Amazingly we didn’t hear much noise, no hooting, no sirens, and actually very little traffic. We never experienced rush hour or grid lock, in a city with 5.5 m people in a small radius, this is incredible. Private cars are discouraged, and are taxed heavily. People use taxis & Ubers, as well as the Underground. PICS OF HOTEL

We were privileged enough to have one of the events we attended hosted in the Dome indoor gardens a short walk from the hotel. They housed plants from around the world, in different grouping, and amazing lighting to go with it. We had the place to ourselves, the convention group, so this was a treat. Singapore is renown for its Gardens and Parks. These keep the city green, and are very visible.


I did some research and came up with Cookery Magic, and found that this site drew me to it. The charming hostess contacted me, and we set up the class. I jumped into an Uber and headed to the suburbs, as she also had the studio in her home. There were only 2 of us, so we really got the hands on, and got to ask loads of questions and so on. I went for the Indian style of cooking, as I found a lot of the cuisine to be Chinese, which is not my favourite. We did a Dahl and a Fish Curry, as well as Rotis. We then sat down and enjoyed our meal together. What a great experience this was, and just o chat to the locals and find out where they would eat, and which markets to visit.

We were there for a convention, so we were honoured enough to see and experience the most amazing speakers over two days. We were spoiled for choice, with everyone from the Prime Minister, to Billy Jean King, and many motivational speakers with different messages, from business advice to spiritual awareness, and everything in between. So much information in such a short time! And what a smooth operation it was, not an easy feat, as there were around 2500 to 4000 people over the 5 day experience.

The Social Events planned were off the charts. We had an event in the National Gallery amongst the Monet and other amazing artists. They hold an incredible collection of masters, and what a privilege to wander around from room to room. They had various set ups for the food on various floors, from a variety of local cuisine to classic French Bistro fare, you name it, it was all available, just so many choices! They had a dance floor on the roof, with lady DJ’s rocking the place. From here you could see the city my night lit up, which was quite a sight!

We did a street food market experience with one of the breakaway groups, and this turned out to be quite an experience. There was so much food, from barbecued chicken wings, to duck pancakes with all the trimmings, to my personal favourite, Peppered Crab. I devoured this with my hands, of course, not a pretty site, nor one I allowed anyone to capture. They only served beer or coke, so one of the guys went off to a bar to source me some wine which he produced with flair from a brown paper packet and sneakily filled my glass from time to time. I mean really, a meal without wine!!!! Thereafter we were whisked off to a night club on the top floor of a nearby hotel with unbelievable views! The DJ was quite amazing too. We had a VIP area, complete with French champagne, giant bottles of Belvedere vodka, whisky and gin etc etc, and popcorn to help yourself to. Wow! I hadn’t been to a club in yonks! Gavin decided to make like John Travolta, and hit the dance floor. I did notice several lovely looking local girls also decided to dance then….. mmmmm, coincidence? I think not! You need to hold onto your man in a place like this clearly! But being who we are, we sensibly left after an hour or so. We like to make the most of every day and with late nights and too much alcohol, this just doesn’t work.

Gavin’s meetings started at 6.45am every morning, so we were up and about before the sun was up every day.

The shopping malls are something, and it is hard to resist the fabulous labels on display. We ate in a great Dim Sum bar the first day, so delicious and freshly made in front of you.

We left Singapore for Koh Samui, a short hour and fifteen flight, knowing that we would be back to explore this amazing city in more depth sometime in the future. Everything works, and one thing we noticed, there was very little noise, as in hooting and sirens and so on. We didn’t experience much traffic either, as they have managed to reduce the amount of private vehicles by offering great alternative transport. The Uber driver told me that cars are taxed with an import duty of around 500%, as well as a heavy annual road tax making them unaffordable to most locals too.

We could all learn a thing or two from this inspiring place…. perhaps we should send our guys for some training!