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Meandering along and discovering Singapore

We reached Singapore on 19th morning. We had a happy reunion at the airport with M and family who came to pick us up. The kids were so thrilled to see each other after a long gap. They could not contain their excitement and kept chattering at high decibels all along the way. It was a short 15-minute car ride to their house, but long enough to marvel at the chiseled (a tad unnatural, one can say) landscape, spotless roads, and the noiseless and smooth flow of traffic. The roads aren't too wide, yet, I don't recall a single moment of chaos anytime during my stay. The transport, like all other sectors, was organized and moved with clock-work precision. Strict laws, heavy penalty, and a self-imposed discipline among citizens are, I realized (rather wistfully), so essential for an organized society.



After we had refreshed and helped ourselves to some lovely home-cooked brunch (oh, the many joys of having a home as a base during a holiday ;-)), we set out for our first stop on our itinerary. M and I had spent a good time chalking out our tour plan; I underlined the must-see ones as far as I could fathom from the likes of TripAdvisor while M re-arranged and paired the places with exact dates as per logistics and distance.

Gardens by the Bay and Singapore Flyer:

N, M's husband, took us through a few useful transport Apps (bus info, route-maps) that would help us get from one point to another. Armed with those and the MRT map, we set out for the Gardens by the Bay. The transport system more or less resembles that of Bombay. A permutation and combination of buses and local trains will take you from point A to B. So, in a way, I was reveling in some sort of familiarity. R was particularly pleased to travel by the double-decker bus. We had only managed to show him these (never got a chance to travel on one) during my visits to Bombay. It has been on his wish-list ever since. Speaking of wishlists, this trip truly fulfilled all of the items in his wishlist so far (that, the list keeps increasing and expanding, is a different story altogether.)

Despite the eagerness to follow the route and instructions to the letter, we still managed to get off the bus one stop earlier than intended:-p Course re-directed with the next approaching bus, we arrived at our stop without much delay. The App had mentioned walking down a few meters from the said bus stop to arrive at the Gardens. And, so we began to walk in the general direction of our destination (shown by Google maps). It was about 1:30 pm and the walk under the sun was not exactly rejuvenating, the December weather notwithstanding. And, it definitely seemed to stretch beyond the few hundred meters mentioned on the App. We instinctively knew that there was something amiss. The local prepaid card on my phone was non-operational for some reason and I suddenly missed the ease with which you can stop and ask just about anybody on the road for directions back home. Not that the locals are not friendly, it's just that we did not cross paths with any pedestrians at that hour and place.

We knew that the garden and Flyer were located close to each other, so when we finally ( after a total of 15-odd minutes; it definitely seemed more!) saw the Flyer in sight, we heaved a sigh of relief. At the helpdesk we were duly informed that the Gardens was close but not close enough to walk it out. We hailed a cab promptly and cooled off inside the AC. 10 minutes later, we found ourselves at the ticket counter of the huge expanse of green area that is known particularly for the two large conservatories that houses all kinds of flowers and plants grown in an artificially created climatic condition.

It took us about 3 hours to cover the two main conservatories, the Cloud Forest, and the Flower Dome. The flower dome didn't excite me so much; we have all of these and much more growing in the natural surroundings in our own Ooru, I thought. The Cloud forest was fascinating for its architecture and the thought that went behind it.







There are a few more outdoor architectural attractions to marvel at if you have the time and stamina. It takes a lot of walking to cover most of the sights in Singapore, so one has to be adequately prepared. Also, the conservatories, like all other enclosed public areas in the country, has the air-conditioning running at the highest freezing mode. To the extent that you might consider moving around with a light jacket or so when indoors!

It was close to 6 pm as we left the Gardens to ride on the Singapore Flyer. We did some absolute touristy stuff like getting a picture of us clicked in an indoor studio and paying a bomb for one of the many prints that had us against the iconic backdrops of Singapore in various shades and tones:-p We had a lovely time on the Flyer and went on a clicking spree, capturing the skyline at different angles and levels of altitude. The dusk-to-night landscape switched automatically from gray to one that had every structure around dazzling with night lights. We spent some quiet time on the banks overlooking the bay with some mouth-watering ice-cream for company before calling it a day.

Leaving you with some more pictures taken from the Flyer.








It has taken me so long to post the details of one day. At this rate, the travelogue might take longer than I thought. I do hope I manage to finish it before I forget the details or worse, lose the interest to write it down.

Comments

  1. That sounds like a lovely first day Uma :). I can surely get some ideas from your travelogue as we did our sightseeing here nearly 4 years ago and need to do a refresher of some places soon. Look forward to reading the rest!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Aparna. Getting ideas from someone who just scratched the surface..hehe. You can afford to leisurely cover every nook and cranny now. Will try to finish the rest soon :-)

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  2. I actually had a very similar feeling about the law and order situation and overall compliance when I visited the USA. That and the fact that there were such clean restrooms available everywhere! Traveling was such a pleasure, to be honest. Long drives are manageable with the youngest of children and the roads were spectacular. I loved the public transport system in Singapore too :) Don't talk about walking. I recall a really long walk in the afternoon sun one day because the host did not give us the right address ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True that! Even in Sri Lanka I found the cleanest toilets in the remotest of places and the traffic there stopped faithfully at the zebra crossing too.
      We have such immense opportunity for tourism, or as a nation..if only we could capitalize properly :-(
      Aah...nalla host, pa! was it on purpose? :-p

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    2. But, to be fair, the inter-state roads in India are very good and very much comparable to international standards. Out station trips are quite comfortable and at least towards the South, I did find some clean toilets during stopovers. It's the proper cities that need an overhaul.

      Delete

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