Friday, May 01, 2009


Probably hundreds of times I have driven down Cavenaugh Road in Singapore. It's lined with condos on one side, and on the other, the double yellow zig zag lines that mean, "Cars may not stop, slow down, or even THINK about slowing down here." Not that you could do anything, because there is a big barbed wire fence hidden among that beautiful foliage that conceals "Istana."

Istana is the official residence of the president of Singapore, and it boasts incredible grounds (100 acres of prime downtown real estate!), including a nine hole golf course. It's also where he receives dignitaries. It is only open on certain public holidays and since it is Chinese Labor Day we thought, "This is our last chance to go!"

We had to stand in a long line, show ID, get our temperatures taken (no swine flu here!), and then go through the most beautiful security check I've ever seen. Inside, we walked up the hill which was mostly open ground (well, mostly the golf course) up to the house. We paid the extra $2 to go inside, but it wasn't all that exciting. Impressive, but they didn't let us see much.

On the way out, we noticed that there was a motorcade of golf carts breaking through the crowd. It didn't occur to me that it might be someone famous - after all, they were in golf carts. But as they passed by I scanned the carts and said, "Hey! That's the president!" Unfortunately Erik had the camera and didn't know it was the president. I presume that was his wife with him, and some guards or groupies or something filling the other carts. So, bonus! That made the $1 admission to the park so worth it!

Another Singapore landmark done.

Erik doesn't have swine flu. Whew!

The most beautiful security check I've ever seen.

The view from the house looking out over Singapore. And that's just from the ground floor! It pays to be president of Singapore, even if you don't really have any power.

The residence itself. If you go, don't bother going inside. Not much to see.

No comments: