Heather's Thairy

Heather's journey to Bangkok, Thailand: a year of adventure!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Sing a Song of Singapore

In our second week of camp we had a long weekend on what would be the Easter long weekend at home. We had Friday off so Catherine, Darcy and myself flew out to Singapore early in the morning to stay until Sunday.
Singapore is a very clean, very efficient city- I would have to say that it is without a doubt the most oragnized and tidy city I have ever been in. Singapore is a large city-state, independent but closely linked to neighbouring Malaysia. It has its own currency and government and way of life, and I would be hard pressed to identify the dominant or official language of Singapore- signage was primarily in English with up to five other languages as well.
One of the first places we visited was Chinatown, which is bustling and colourful. We also made it to Little India, which was smaller and had a less (for lack of a better descriptor) welcoming feel, though we had an absolutely fantastic meal there at a vegetarian restaurant.

Singapore is similar to Kuala Lumpur in the amount of extremely tall, extremely new office towers in the skyline. The river is bordered with beautiful, expensive looking buildings.

One of the more interesting buildings we saw during our escapades was the Concert Hall, which looks like a hedgehog, or a durian fruit...
One evening we went to the Singapore Asian History Museum, which is housed in a beautiful old (restored) building and is a very thorough collection on several floors. The special exhibition at the time was Mystery Men, a showcase of artifacts recovered in two digs in China that revealed evidence of a unique society. The exhibition was mostly bronze masks and figures, such as this one pictured on the left- we were allowed to take photos in the museum but not use the flash, so my pictures aren't great. This little guy was pretty cute though...

The symbol of Singapore is the Merlion (half lion, half fish). We found three statues of the merlion- two are on the harbourfront (one is very large and is shown above; the other is smaller and is, I think, intended to allow for people to pose beside it) and one, the largest we saw, is on Sentosa Island (below).

The flower of Singapore, I assume, is the Singapore plumeria. It grows on large, basic-looking trees and has an elegant simplicity that makes it very attractive.

The plumeria comes in several different colours, all of them very beautiful. I particularly like the pink ones with the yellow tinge. I'm not sure if they are like orchids in Thailand, where people have bred hybrids to create new colours, or if they occur in different colours naturally.

Something that I appreciated about Singapore that I had missed in Kuala Lumpur was the attention to keeping the area looking natural and fresh. There are a lot of gardens in and around Singapore and the city is lush and green. It is a nice balance between manmade structures and natural places.

We visited Sentosa Island, which is a developed island accessed via bridge or cable car from Singapore. It is sort of like Singapore's Disneyland- there are many attractions to visit on the island, including beaches, a luge, an observation tower, an aquarium and museums, to name a few. It is a friendly, pretty place that could get very expensive should one spend a lot of time there! Singapore on the whole is sort of like that- it can be quite expensive!

We also visited the Singapore Zoo, which is said to be one of the best in the world. It has an open concept where the animals are in large, natural-looking enclosures that make use of dams or trees to separate them rather than bars or cages. It is set in a very beautiful place and has some really unique animals, including the Proboscis Monkey. The Zoo has the largest collection of these monkeys in the world. The males have very large noses while the females are smaller, though still have protruding noses.

Singapore was a really interesting place- random trivia: you can't chew gum there!- and I had a great time. We did a LOT of stuff in the three days we were there!

Until next time,


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