“It’s F1 weekend this weekend!”
-Dear2, 26 Sept 2009
Two Saturday walkabout tickets for Singapore GP 2009, courtesy of Dear1’s mum.
Dear1 and Dear2 got tickets to go on the Sat F1 event, complimentary of Dear1’s mum’s boss who gave the tickets as some form of staff reward. It’s walkabout Zone 4 tickets and that’s what we did on that day – walk about in Zone 4.
Dear1 parked the car at Central (beside Clarke Quay MRT) as we wanted to avoid congested road conditions at the circuit area. Funan might have been a slightly nearer location, but again, the North Bridge Road so near to City Hall MRT which happened to be the most commonly used train station might be jammed with vehicles too. So it was with much surprised that we saw the foot markings directly to the F1 gates, and they starts from the Clarke Quay area. Good job done!
Road signs to the gates can be seen from miles away.
From Central to Riverwalk to Asian Civilization Museum, there were plenty of people, events and stalls along the way. As first time goers, it was a pleasant walk to our destination, the Gate 5 as the excitement was already quite strong by the time we reached the Gate.
Asian Civilization Museum & Gate 5.
We entered the area at about 6.30, and it was people here people there, and many of them carrying huge cameras ready to capture the action. It’s just amazing to see that there are so many F1 fans around. At 7pm, the first and only practice round of the day started and it was the first time that Dear2 found ear plugs to be really effective. Even if you din bring any, think it’s still worth to buy the $2 survival kit which consists of the earplugs and poncho even though it was obviously going to be a sunny evening.
Photographers eager to catch some action at the practice session before the sun sets.
We walked in the direction of Esplanade and towards Marina Square for dinner.
As we walked about our designated zone, we noticed a number of food stalls selling delightful local food. A plate of chicken rice was selling for $8. A Curry’O from Old Chang Kee was selling for $2. A plastic cup of beer cost $10. The list went on. Visitors were only allowed to bring in 1 bottle of plain water for consumption, so there was no choice but to patronize these blood-sucking food stalls. Wrong!
There was a choice. Visitors were entitled to unlimited entries and exits from the F1 area. So, we made our way to Marina Square thru Gate 7 and had our dinner at MOF and KFC. (Side note: Food at MOF sucks. This was already our second visit, so we’re not giving it a third chance.) Food at MOF was so bad that we had to compensate for the bad taste with some snacks at KFC. Over at KFC, they ran out of large whipped potato and so the cashier substituted our large whipped potato with 4 small ones since a large whipped potato contains 4 scoops of potato.
Curious onlookers surrounded the F1 car exhibit at Marina Square foyer.
After dinner, we visited the F1 exhibition area at the main foyer at Marina Square. It was fun taking photos of the (mock?) F1 car on display and walking through the many F1 related merchandizes on sale there. Soon, it was time for the qualifying rounds and we re-entered the F1 area from Marina Square.
We decided that traffic will be congested as everyone try to leave for home after the qualifying. Hence, we decided that we will only stay for 2 rounds of qualifying to avoid the crowd while we make our way back towards Gate 5.
Along the way, there were many standing platforms where walkabout visitors like us can watch the race from. Most of these platforms were fully occupied with onlookers and photographers. However, most of these platforms were situated along straight roads and the F1 cars simply zoomed by with noise. There plainly wasn’t much to see. In addition, there were no TV screens nearby so we had no idea what was going on, who was leading or had there been any incidents/crashes. There was some seated galleries with those large TV screens but our lowly walkabout ticket wasn’t allowed to enter those areas (despite them being almost empty!).
Standing platforms along the Esplanade bridge for walkabout visitors like us.
The sound of revving engine and screeching tyres was louder than before with all the cars racing for the best lap times. We could sometimes feel the reverberation on our skins as the cars sped past. We had ear plugs but baby dun have. No worries, baby was well protected from the noisy environment under Dear2’s clothes and skin and muscles and tummy fat (gee…) and amniotic fluid. Sayang sayang.
At F4.9, 1/50, Iso400, the shutter speed was just too slow to get a clear shot of the F1 cars.
We did manage to find a few good spots around the corners where the F1 cars slowed down enough for us to catch a glimpse of their cars, sponsor logos and drivers. Corners really were the best places to watch a race. And these hot spots were usually bursting with photographers and their mono-pods.
Somehow, we found the F1 crowd on this Sat night rather restless. Nobody had any idea of what’s going on and it felt like a session of neck-turning exercises, turning from left to right with every zooming car. However, everyone still had a gleam in their eyes, an excitement, an eagerness, as if waiting for something to happen. That must be it! Everyone was waiting for an accident to happen. After all, losing control of a spinning car and crashing into the side walls had to be the highlight of any race. Suddenly, race watching seemed so sadistic.
Luckily, we did not have to squeeze with the crowd on public transport.
We exited from Gate 5 shortly before the start of the 3rd round and retraced our steps back towards Central. Clarke Quay did look different from day to night. The restaurants were filled with patrons. The flea market had made way for an outdoor cafe. A large projector screen was set up next to the Statue of Raffles for the live telecast of the F1 qualifiers. Race queen inspired waitresses busied themselves with drinks and credit cards.
Over at Central, things were much quieter as the night crowd changed from race fans to love birds. It was interesting to see the different side of Boat Quay on a weekend midnight. We went to the car park to collect our car, smiling happily that we didn’t have to squeeze on the MRT. Owning a car really did improve our lives. The car park fee was about $5.80, pretty decent for about 8 hours of stay.
There was no congestion that night. Maybe we had parked a little too far away from the F1 gates. We exited thru CTE and arrived home about 25 minutes later. The next day, we watched the F1 race at the comfort of our home, just like we did 1 week after our wedding 1 year ago. It was a fun experience to visit the F1 Singapore GP. Will we PAY to go again next year? Probably not.
-Dear1 & Dear2