Flower power, Days 26-27

Emerging into the searing heat, humidity and business of Little India in Singapore is rather a shock after quiet New Zealand. Even although it’s a Sunday evening the streets are teaming with chattering locals.  The supermarkets have stacks of veg and fruit that are just mind boggling.

So the next day we head to the sanctuary of the Botanic Gardens. An oasis of greenery.  They are rightfully proud of their orchids.  Then it’s back to Little India whose streets are equally multicoloured in day light.

A fine wee stop over. Just the job.


Singapore Boat Day 3

Plans had to be adapted to our 09:40 wake up time.  Another breakfast at the refreshingly green without pretensions SaladStop! and then headed for a trip on a “bumboat”.  These are a converted fleet of barge type boats that do a wee tour of the river.  This has been turned into a reservoir by a barrage. You get a sense of the scale of the redevelopment and development from the humble 1819 beginnings…..and the poverty, hardship and disease that the workers must once have endured. Now all cleaned up – but again not hiding the past, more recording it – like the river, something that is changing with time.

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It rained today.  Bucketed it down – and they were big buckets too. Which made the dash to – from the Metro to get to the Airport particular fun. More to explore here when we return……

And that Raffles chap died fairly young – mid 40s in London.  And  then he was refused a church burial due to his opposition to the slave trade. The E in C of E must be for Establishment then.  Not now of course…..

Singapore Gardens Day 2

A full day exploring reclaimed land.  The vision behind the Gardens in the Bay is one thing, the execution another. 5 years and $1billion have created quite an oasis.  Poor National Botanic Gardens for Wales must look on in envy at their green houses – creating cloud forests.  All rather tastefully done and hammers home global warming message at every opportunity.  Given the land pressures for building it is good they remained true to their vision.

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At night it turned into a colourful oasis of lights and sound.  The Marina Bay Sands complex (the three multi-storeys adorned with an ironing board) promises the best view around – the $25 fee per person brought out our tight side so it’s a mind’s eye view.

Singapore Sling Day 1

I have to hand it to Singapore Airlines, 13hrs on a flight is a long time: their high standards made it passable.  Getting to Changi Airport early, at 5:30am allowed us to sample the Metro before the already commuting throngs really geared up. It also lulled us into a false expectation of how sticky it will be.

“Window sir/madam- we don’t do many of those in this hotel. I have upgraded you though to a larger room”.  So no room with a view and the huge room has just enough room for that poor cat to bash its head on each wall on the way round.

We’re in Chinatown in this “City in a Garden”.  New Year decorations adorn the streets and religions happily mix.  The informative street signs don’t glossify the social history – we learn of one street which used to be one of “death houses”, where the poor used to decant to on their way out. Now it’s a mass of multicoloured [food] stalls.

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Raffles and co built this place in zones. Crossing the commercial zone which now inhabits the sky we find the Ancient Civilisations Museum via the Civic Centre. Informative and chatty guide did not miss a beat as in turn we fell asleep whilst standing. We missed some of the tour’s insights…..

Not the cheapest of places – 10% service charge then 7% tax added to all bills.  Clean though with signs of penalties everywhere – as well as surveillance cameras.  The new building work gives a new sense of scale to densification.