PICTURES

NDP 2013: Early birds grab best view from the Merlion

Early birds hoping to catch a glimpse of this year's National Day Parade camped out in front of the Merlion on Friday. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
Early birds hoping to catch a glimpse of this year's National Day Parade camped out in front of the Merlion on Friday. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
(From left) Eric Teo, 15, Hwee Heng, 38, Eileen Siaw, 34, Henry Han, 37, and Ching Yan, 18, pose for the camera with their flags on Friday, Aug 9, 2013. Early birds hoping to catch a glimpse of this year's National Day Parade camped out in front of t
(From left) Eric Teo, 15, Hwee Heng, 38, Eileen Siaw, 34, Henry Han, 37, and Ching Yan, 18, pose for the camera with their flags on Friday, Aug 9, 2013. Early birds hoping to catch a glimpse of this year's National Day Parade camped out in front of the Merlion on Friday. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
(From left) Benjamin Liew, 4, Clarah Tan, 8, Ms Lim Chin Fern, 33, Cherisse Tan, 4, and Kara Liew, 8, enjoy their spot on Friday, Aug 9, 2013. Early birds hoping to catch a glimpse of this year's National Day Parade camped out in front of the Merlion
(From left) Benjamin Liew, 4, Clarah Tan, 8, Ms Lim Chin Fern, 33, Cherisse Tan, 4, and Kara Liew, 8, enjoy their spot on Friday, Aug 9, 2013. Early birds hoping to catch a glimpse of this year's National Day Parade camped out in front of the Merlion on Friday. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
(From left) Ms Ajantha Sadamali, 48, and Ms Kalyani Renuka Ranaweera, 52, pose for the camera on Friday, Aug 9, 2013. Early birds hoping to catch a glimpse of this year's National Day Parade camped out in front of the Merlion on Friday. -- ST PH
(From left) Ms Ajantha Sadamali, 48, and Ms Kalyani Renuka Ranaweera, 52, pose for the camera on Friday, Aug 9, 2013. Early birds hoping to catch a glimpse of this year's National Day Parade camped out in front of the Merlion on Friday. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE
(From left) Ms Ajantha Sadamali, 48, and Ms Kalyani Renuka Ranaweera, 52, pose for the camera on Friday, Aug 9, 2013. Early birds hoping to catch a glimpse of this year's National Day Parade camped out in front of the Merlion on Friday. -- ST PHOTO:
(From left) Ms Ajantha Sadamali, 48, and Ms Kalyani Renuka Ranaweera, 52, pose for the camera on Friday, Aug 9, 2013. Early birds hoping to catch a glimpse of this year's National Day Parade camped out in front of the Merlion on Friday. -- ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Sri Lankan maids Ajantha Sadamali and Kalyani Renuka Ranaweera started their day off on Friday in an unusual way.

Outfitted in red, they left their homes at 6.30am with snacks and drinks to camp out in front of the Merlion.

"We thought there wasn't going to be space," said Ms Sadamali, 48, who said they were among the earliest early birds hoping to catch a glimpse of this year's National Day Parade.

She has done the same every year since coming to Singapore to work seven years ago.

"I love to watch the parade," she said. "I respect Singapore - it's a very peaceful country."

It was also a special day for Ms Ranaweera, 52, who came to Singapore 25 years ago on National Day. She said: "I'm leaving at the end of this month so this is like a farewell party for me."

Others who could not get tickets to the parade also came early to get good spots along the bay. Said accountant Darren Sia, 25, who was there since 2pm with his camera, tripod and his other shutterbug friends: "It's our country's birthday and the fireworks are spectacular,"

Even the slight drizzle could not dampen the crowd's high spirits. "It's windy here and you get a good view," said Mr Tan Hwee Heng, 38.

The property agent was there with his family and friends, complete with red jerseys, picnic mats, and of course, the national flag.

By 5pm, the promenade between the Esplanade and One Fullerton was completely packed with locals and curious tourists.