Friday, January 30, 2015

1/20/15 Day 369 A 36 Hour Stroll through Singapore

With the roar of Lamborghini engines completed by the unmistakably futuristic architecture, a guilt trip presented by Bag Down Benny (a public transportation advertisement urging passengers to be courteous) it seems we must have crossed over some sort of boundary into another space and time... but wait is that the smell of untreated sewage; ok scratch that we are still in Southeast Asia we simply crossed the city-state-country border into Singapore. This is a place known for orderliness, rules, keeping clean and green and having an eclectic variety of some of the best food in the world, oh and possibly for the prohibition of import of chewing gum to the neat-freak of a country. We spend our day wandering through China town and Little India, eating as often as our bellies have room. The curry noodle soup we had at one of the local hawker stands was one of my favorite things I have eaten in Asia, and the briyani was out of this world good. Constantly in awe of this building, or that architecture we fumble our way through the city until we finally find our way to Marina Bay Sands, the huge hotel with a pool and 360 degree viewing platform on the top to get to the famous gardens. Walking through Gardens by the Bay is unreal, only completed in 2012 all 101 hectares of this park are astounding! The signature highlight is of course the Grove of Supertrees that tower over the rest of the park, 25-50 meters above and the two domes; Flower Dome (the worlds largest column-less glasshouse) and the Cloud Forest. The "trees" are constructed of metal entwined with ferns, vines and orchids flowing up to flood lights and LEDs in every color of the light spectrum. The engineering of the structures is marvelous with a performance function to imitate the natural processes of a living breathing tree. The solar cells on top help with photosynthesis and power the lighting, rainwater is collected for fountains and irrigating/cooling the gardens and the two domes in the park. Lastly the hot air from the glasshouses is exhaled like carbon dioxide would be from a tree. For only 5 ringgits you can prance along the OCBC Tree Canopy Walkway setup between two of the larger Supertrees. Just after the sun sets we hunker ourselves down for the evenings light show, the OCBC Garden Rhapsody, a display of dazzling lights set to music. There are two fifteen minute shows a night at 7:45 & 8:45. A free show not to be missed! The show was absolutely breathtaking, a phenomenal showcase of man made light effects harmonizing with natural nature.

From Pongal in Kuala Lumpur's Little India to the festivities in the Little India of Singapore

The lights are actually Pongal pots of porridge that are boiling over and cows
Colorful colonial houses decorate the streets

The hawker stands are unbelievably amazing with hundreds of stalls of every Asian cuisine imaginable  
Local delicacies, turtle and crocodile soup
Freshly pulverized sugar cane syrup
and freshly grated coconut shavings
We saw a huge line and followed it right to the counter of Allauddin's Briyani
So delicious we couldn't take the time to capture a photo until our tender lamb briyani was devoured

Urban greenery at its best along the highway 

Gardens By The Bay from afar, the two domes and the grove of Supertrees 
The Double Helix Bridge, Marina Bay Sands Hotel and the Science Center

The water spouting fellow is the Merlion, apparently the cities mascot
A huge amount of work going into preparations for Chinese New Year
Steel welded shapes brought to life with beautiful silk fabric
Later on we saw more festive creations, it is year of the goat after all
Hundreds and hundreds of silk goats lined the streets
The Esplanade is Singapore's beautiful center for performing arts (the spiny building on the left)
Decorations inside the Esplanade

Clarke Quay, a historic riverside quay completely revamped with booming nightlife and colors galore

Beyond the decorative chimes, under the skyscrapers are solar powered fans to cool down parkgoers 
The view from the Promontory Park
Prestigious Shoppes Marina Bay Sands complete with rowboats 5 levels below the escalators

The amazing science and engineering that went into making Gardens by the Bay efficient and green
The grove of Supertrees with the Flower Dome on the left

The OCBC Tree Canopy Walkway
The Garden Rhapsody begins

Ending our evening of lights by walking home through he Double Helix Bridge

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