January 16th

Hello from paradise!

Singapore is a beautiful, beautiful nation, as articulated by many students today on our first full day in the city-state. Everywhere we went seemed to bring on more “Oos” and “Ahs” then the last place, and if course, nothing beats warm weather in January.

First, we hopped on a bus and took a driving tour around the city’s different districts to orient ourselves to where we’ll be. After this we opted for a more interesting tour medium; we stopped for a boat tour down the Singapore River. We got to see all sorts of shops that lined the river, and we even got a glimpse of the famous Merlion – part lion, part fish.

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Following the tour, we got back on the bus and drove around to Merlion Park. We got a chance to hop out and take pictures of the awesome view and the iconic statue:

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Next, we were given a bit of free time to wander in Chinatown to check out the souvenir shops – there were many awesome food vendors and the smells were abundant! Following this, we traveled to a nearby mall and were given almost 3 hours of free time to spend however we wished. Lunch was on our own in this area, giving us a great chance to try the local cuisine! In this free time, many students found their way to the basketball court out back where they joined Singaporean kids in a small game. With a large audience of Gettysburgians cheering them on, the teams put up a good match, and fun was had by all. Check out the action:

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We had a bit of down time at the hotel to get ready, then we ventured to the National University of Singapore for the evening’s activity. We participated in a marvelous exchange between our group and NUS’s wind symphony. After a great welcome, we ate at an impromptu reception, then split off into sectionals. The combined Gettysburg and Singapore sections did a wide variety of activities, and great bonding could be found all over their marvelous building.

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We then got back together and played through three pieces together! It was certainly a wonderful and powerful moment for both communities, and we made some strong bonds!

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And just when it seemed about time to call it a night, we head off to something we could only experience long after dark: The Night Safari. This featured an open air tram car on a 45-minute circuit though several settings where live animals were living. We saw so many animals, all ranging from cute to majestic. Some were pretty hard to take a picture of, however, because it was quite dark and flash photography was strictly prohibited.

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Tomorrow, our last full day in Singapore and on tour, will begin with free time at Sentosa Island! It’s sort of a combination of a beach, a resort, a waterpark, and an adventure park. Stay tuned for this final day!

For all of our photos from today (there’s a lot to make up for yesterday’s lack of pictures, I promise!), check out our flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/113489266@N06/sets/72157639833123326/

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