Friday, September 28, 2012

F1 Singtel Singapore Grand Prix - Day 2

Whoops, sorry if the previous post got all confused. It didn't upload properly and if weren't for prompt notification from one of my most avid readers, I wouldn't have spotted it!

Also I have just recovered from spilling my Milo (malty hot chocolate) all over the table and my phone. But it's OK and it seems to have given the staff here at the hostel an excuse to mop the floor for what must be the 3rd time today!

So Saturday, Day 2 of the Grand Prix and the much-anticipated Maroon 5 performance, I went really early to the queue and ate my lunch there (from the omnipresent 7-ELEVEN). It was solar midday so pretty warm and my part of the queue wasn't shaded by trees. But I sat and I sweated and then I tried using my umbrella which works quite well to keep the sun off, but also raises the temperature and humidity around you, so isn't exactly win-win!

You see the western couple close to the camera? To everyone's pleasure they started being particularly militant about those people who were blatently moving past the queue to join others who have been saving their spaces. And so held back about 20 people over the course of about half an hour.

Then the floodgates opened and our bags were searched very ineffectively, since I managed to smuggle in a muffin and a banana despite the ban on your own food. And I participated in another very poor imitation of queueing as we lined up to get our wristbands, giving us preferential access to the Fanzone (the front of the arena) for Maroon 5's performance.

After joining in with the good ol' British queuing militancy, I got my wristband and then waited around to meet up with my contacts for the day. You see, I had already sewed some seeds for Saturday and Chay Him, my friend from Bath Uni I had met up with on Wednesday, had put me in touch with one of his colleagues (a French intern) called Florent and his friend Michel. Here we are:

Also spotted was what we jokingly called 'Singapore's Beach':

So I showed them to my favourite spot and we managed to watch GP2 qualifying:

Once again I am immensely glad of my earphones and the commentary over the FM radio. And the qualifying would have been much harder to follow if we didn't have that nice big TV just opposite!

We then grabbed some food and watched the F1 P3 from a couple of new angles, just for variety:


Then grabbed dinner (fish and chips for me) while watching Soul Mystique, a quick-change act also from Australia. Though sorry if the photo is misleading... They were very impressive, and incorporated some exquisite dance into their act, though I'd like to have seen more of the changing and less of the dancing!

We then shifted positions to watch the Porsche Cup go round for its qualifying race. Notice anything wrong with this car?!

Then we slunk over to watch Banarama do their thing. It's not something I've done before, watching two 50-something ladies strutting their stuff while singing 80s hits from over half a lifetime ago! But actually they were VERY GOOD and I recognised quite a few of their hits. Their voices were still in good shape and they really seemed to be enjoying themselves. Although they weren't moving much, especially the blonde one, their dancers, two young chaps in black, were really stealing the show even though the brown woman admitted that one of them was 'only 19'!

Then back to the stand to watch qualifying. Which was tremendously exciting, especially to watch it with the French guys, since Romain Grosjean was doing quite well until the Red Bulls got going. And Grosjean ruined his gearbox...

Meanwhile, Pastor Maldonado from Williams came from 'nowhere' to take 2nd place on the grid! Good chap!

Of course, while the cars were going round, most people couldn't hear the commentary (which was being broadcast over the PA). But I could, which certainly helped. And I saw some fantastic examples of poor earplug useage! This was one of the worst:

Then, back to watching the Ferraris go round their race:

And finding Maroon 5 watching from the same viewpoint as us!

Which meant that, very soon, we would find Maroon 5 performing on the Padang main stage. We went, we thought, early enough to get a good spot. But it was absolutely mobbed and we were a long way back in the Fan Zone, which was still orders of magnitude better than the general crowd area!

Anyway, Maroon 5 were INCREDIBLE. Such a good act, and the lead singer Adam Levine seemed to be channelling the spirit of Freddie Mercury. They played all their best tunes from the last decade with signficant moderation, modulation, mashing up and mixing. Amazing!

And then I had to say farewell to Florent and Michel, who had been excellent company for the day, and I walked back to the hostel while they took the (thankfully, late-service) MRT back across the island to their house. I on the other hand was given the chance to walk along the track with a load of other excited fans, since it was the most simple way out of the arena!

Here's the turn 10, Singapore Sling, and home of many crashes and dinks. Notably it's where the Ferrari got dinked during the rain on Friday.

And these must be the mortal remains of said Ferrari... :-(

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