Friday 10 March 2017
With Sylvia based here as the Regional President of Royal Canin we have a nice apartment, situated on the edge of Nassim Hill, close to Orchard Road and the Botanical Gardens, in a complex with a gym and a nice pool. It’s a great opportunity to explore Singapore and many of the surrounding countries.
I started the day with a stroll through the Botanical Gardens. A few meters into the gardens and one has forgotten one is in a big city. After passing the orchid breeding house and the art museum there is not a building in sight, nor the sound of a vehicle.
There are a variety of large trees, plants and sculptures that can be best described by pictures. Passing through the gardens is a very tranquil experience there is a lot more to see here.
At the other end of the garden I headed underground to the MRT. A short ride took me to the north south line. Deciding to try and get an overview of the city, and having found out this train line is some 6m above ground, I headed north.
With a population of 5.7 million, of which approximately 2 million are foreigners, crammed into a mere 7797 sq km, I had imagined buildings to be crammed together with few open spaces sports grounds and few trees. Well I got that wrong – some really smart people must have planned this city. From the train I saw wide roads and large open spaces. Many tall apartment buildings seemed to be more tasteful than I have seen in other cities. The biggest surprise was the number of large trees along the roads surrounding apartments and commercial buildings. Someone has made a real effort to plant this place.
As in most Asian countries washing hung from poles under many, but not all, apartment windows. Some places had pegs built into the building to put one’s pole on. In the last 17 years 75 maids, mainly from Indonesia, have fallen to their death hanging out washing or cleaning windows.
There is a huge amount of construction going on around the island: new apartments, office complexes and infrastructure.
Colour has been added to buildings to spruce them up. There are many water features and fountains along the way.
The north line (red line) had taken me well up the island, then east, then south to Jurong East. The green line took me west to City Hall where I jumped back across to the red line to Orchard Road and a stroll home.
A great way to see the city.
Saturday 11 March 2017
We took a stroll to Dempsey Hill to have breakfast at Jones the Grocers, a really nicely laid out place. The only problem is their poached eggs tasted like water! We probably won’t go back there again, especially after finding a place just down the road at Tanglin Mall that sells NZ free range eggs that taste like eggs.
Later in the day we took a stroll back to the Botanic Gardens to check out the Orchid Garden. According to the signs ten percent of all plants are orchids – about 20 to 30 thousand species. The stunning range of flowers we saw there can only be described in pictures.
A stroll home through the rain forest completed a rather relaxing day.
Monday 13 March 2017
I headed south along Tanglin road, passing a number of huge embassy buildings. The trees in the streets here mean one can walk and stay out of the hot sun. In my short time here I have learnt to carry a poncho and a dry bag for the camera as the heavens can open at any time.
Everywhere I have been so far the streets have been clean with not a piece of paper to be seen blowing around and no chewing gum stuck to the footpaths. Even the leaves rarely litter the ground.
They also take things quite seriously here. In NZ we might have a very serious sign saying “Trespassers will be prosecuted!” Here is the Singapore version.
Soon I arrived at Telok Blangah Green and headed west into the park and up a hill, eventually coming across the Forest walk. This is a walkway that has been built through the forest at just below canopy height, which weaves its way 2 plus kms through the forest, eventually coming out at Hort Park.
Along the way you look across the tree tops at buildings, some which look like containers stacked up, whilst also looking down into the bush below.
I continued west through Hort Park, where they have a range of gardens including a therapeutic one. I strolled through this one but it didn’t help my ‘by now a little tired’ knees feel any better!
Warning the next pic is not the result of a Colombian drug deal gone bad…
I think these guys must have been working hard or spent too long in the therapeutic garden.
From there the path lead to Bukit Chanbu and another canopy walk. Part way along a sign points across the valley to where, when the Japanese invaded in 1942, a large military hospital stood. A doctor stood in front of the door with a white flag. The Japs bayoneted him and went on into the hospital and bayoneted the doctors and patients in the operating theatre before annihilating all but five people. Now we have Isis doing the same sort of thing.
At the end of the canopy walk the track took me alongside a lake and through a very tidy university to the Kent Ridge MRT station where I journeyed back to Orchard Road for the stroll home.