23 Mar 2023 – Botanical Gardens, Chinatown, etc

After the equivalent of a full English breakfast at the YWCA we headed to the Singapore Botanical gardens with the intent in visiting the National Orchid Garden. It transpired that in order to get the concession rate for over 60’s we needed to show proof of age. I had neither my passport nor driving license, nor photos of them in my phone. Susan was able to prove her age; and I was let off.

The ticket seller had also suggested I could show my Covid vaccine certificate. Having already received our tickets, at the super discount rate of $3 rather than $15, I found the certificate and went back to the counter to confirm my old fogeyness. Later that day I photographed both my passport and driving licence for future occasions.

We left the botanical gardens by the south entrance and found an MRT station called Napier on the Thomson-East Coast line. This brown line wasn’t on the map I’d picked up in the airport. Lucky for us it took us directly to Maxwell, right next to the Maxwell Food Centre, where we intended to have lunch.

That evening we headed to the Observation Deck at the Marina Bay Sands, then after sunset headed to Satay by the Bay, where we had Satay and a beer.

22 Mar 2023 – Fort Canning & Gardens by the Bay

After landing early at Singapore Airport, Changi, our taxi driver whisked us to the YWCA, Fort Canning. From there we headed to the MRT at Dhoby Ghaut to travel to the Gardens by the Bay.

These gardens, and the massive Marina Bay Hotel, hadn’t been built when we first visited Singapore in 2009. We wandered idly trying to find somewhere to drink.

We didn’t quite make it to Satay by the Bay, so after photographing a couple of transformers, we returned to Dhoby Ghaut and had a pint at the nearest pub to the hotel, the Tap @ 9 Penang, which I’d reccied earlier.

21 Mar 2023 – LHR to Singapore

We set off for Singapore at 5pm on Tuesday 21st March. In flight entertainment for me was Living starring Bill Nighy, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty with Ben Stiller and 3 and a half episodes of 100 foot wave with Garrett McNamara and other big wave surfers at Nazaré, Portugal.

We arrived in the early evening of the 22nd March.

15 Mar – Sydney to LGW

Films in March were slightly different from those in February. I remember watching:

  • A Bump Along the Way
  • A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
  • Auggie
  • Ad Astra
  • The Current War
  • Beautiful Darkness

Susan watched:

  • Motherless Brooklyn
  • ABDITN – see above
  • Terminator: Dark Fate
  • Yesterday
  • Blinded by the Light

14 Mar – Coogee to Bondi and brewery crawl

Saturday, our last full day on holiday, started breezy and ended up wet. We chose the right direction for our walk to Bondi – with the wind. But we didn’t start from Maroubra. We bought coffees from the Grumpy Baker then drove to Coogee.

The wind and the waves were all wrong so there we very few surfers. There were some brave swimmers at Bronte Beach – in pink swimsuits and bathing hats.

I think I was the only one on Bondi Beach. It was quite a different story the following weekend.


We brunched at Brown Sugar then took an Uber back to Maroubra. A couple of hours later we were in another Uber, heading for a brewery crawl. Everywhere was packed, with people queueing at the doors. We visited 4 micro breweries and got into three. At the final brewery Susan and Mike challenged the winners on the pool table. The winners stayed on.

By the time we got back to Maroubra, we were too late for fish and chips, so had to make do with takeaway pizza, from Arthur’s Pizza.

13 Mar – Palm Beach and barefoot bowling

I’ve never watched Home and Away but I’ve now been to where it’s filmed – Summer Bay; Palm Beach in real life. Rachel took us there for a walk up to the Barrenjoey Head lighthouse. A Frenchman suggested we take the shorter, steeper route up; the views were better. They were pretty good at the top too.

We lunched, pizza, at The Newport, overlooking the Bayview Dog Park, then drove back through Sydney as rush hour approached and went to the supermarket for a couple of basics. Some shelves were bare.

That evening we had a booking at Clovelly Bowling and Recreation Club for barefoot bowls. We arrived a little late but got in enough games to be able to determine the winners. Rachel and Mike won in the last game.

12 Mar – Sydney Botanical Gardens drinks and dinner

In the morning around elevenses we visited Mahon pool but didn’t swim because it was high tide and fairly rough. The waves were breaking into the pool. So we just picked up a couple of coffees from the Grumpy Baker.

At 12:30 we set off on the bus to Circular Quay, to visit the Botanical Gardens for a quick lunch, to wander round the Opera house and then to have some pre-dinner drinks at the Rocks before splitting up for dinner. Susan and Rachel were going for Susan’s Xmas treat and I was meeting my friends Katy Taylor and Bruce Baker.

Once again, our eyes turned skyward as we watched a topical message being written.

For our first pre-dinner drink we visited the rooftop bar at The Glenmore. Then it was a short walk to the Blu Bar on 36, in the Shangri-la Hotel. We had to wait a short while for a window seat, but it was well worth it for the views.

Then it was another short walk to the Fortune of War. By this time I needed some food, so was happy to receive Katy’s message that she and Bruce were already at Chat Thai. We had a great time catching up and just had enough time to snap a couple of new SB’s before meeting up with Susan and Rachel again on the bus back to Maroubra. They’d had a great time as well.

11 Mar – Maroubra- Hermitage Foreshore Walk to Watson’s Bay

The first thing we had to do in Maroubra was to go to the beach and watch the surf. Since Rachel and Mike live on the sea front this wasn’t too hard. Next we had to find an ATM. We found one in Maroubra Seals Club.

We had a lazy morning at the flat. After lunch we set off in an Uber with Rachel to walk the Hermitage Foreshore Walk, from Hermit Bay to Watsons Bay, where we were meeting Mike for drinks and dinner. En route we took a few photos of the view.


That evening we wined and dined at the Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel. Starters were Squid Zucchini and Bruschetta Mozzarella.

While Mike and I drank Furphy’s, Susan and Rachel got stuck into Bertoulet Rose. Getting the remains of the second bottle home was a bit of challenge because the restaurant weren’t prepared to give us the screw top; Rachel’s water bottle came to the rescue.