My swedish friend Per texted me that if I was in Singapore I would have to get a drink at the bar at the Raffles Hotel. Apparently, he had tried to do this, but was denied admittance because he was wearing shorts. I would have a drink at Raffles for him.
Bernie, Pearl, Gigi and I went out for a Saturday evening of music on the town last night. We heard some great blues and rock and roll at a place called the Barber Shop. This restaurant club is located behind the Asian Civilizations Museum in the old British administrative area of town. Saturday night was jam night, and several guest players were taking turns getting up and playing. The quality of the music was excellent for a bar band. Drinks were 18 $Sing! (almost 15 $US) When the band took their break, we paid our bill and took a walk over to the Raffles Hotel.
The walk over to Raffles passed the white painted cathedral on our left and the town’s cricket pitch on the right. The historic buildings were all only a few stories in this district. Looking at the high rises flanking this area, Bernie made the comment that the land value of the cricket pitch was probably one billion dollars. The Raffles Hotel was another two story, white colonial building with dark stained wood accents.
We found the Long Bar at the back of the building. It was maybe half full with patrons, and a band was playing on the upper floor. I ordered a Courtyard Singapore Sling, which had lychee flavoring in it. It was bloody awful! I could not believe that the bar that was famous for inventing the Sling would produce such a sickly sweet, unbalanced concoction. And it cost 26 $Sing!!! This was the most expensive drink I ever had. Ah well, I was in a lighthearted mood, and instead of sending the drink back I braced for its syrupy thickness as I focused on the flavor of the lychee each time I took a sip. What the hell, it was only one drink.
As we munched peanuts and threw the shells on the floor, a kitchy lounge band was playing an interesting set of tunes from the sixties and seventies: Three Dog Night, Louis Armstrong, Tina Turner, Journey, Joe Cocker. Entertaining, but not danceable. Gigi and Pearl really wanted to dance tonight. (The Barber Shop had no dance floor.) The lead singer was tall and lean with a toothy smile, open shirt with gold chain, and had all the understated, cool moves of a veteran lounge singer, which to me was a bit incongruous with his dark skin, wide nose and afro. I just don’t associate Papua New Guineans with lounge singers doing a passable cover of Joe Cocker’s ‘Try With a Little Help from my Friends.”
A very enjoyable night out on the town in spite of the two drink 44 $US bar bill. Oh yeah, and this was the first time Gigi and I wore our jeans in Singapore.