Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Sigh of relief in Singapore

High rise and tree lined
We couldn't have come to a more contrasting location, Singapore is everything India isn't...clean, quiet, calm, organised, wealthy, healthy, green, easy! We breathed a sigh of relief when we stepped out of our hotel, breathing in dust-free air, walking along wide tree and foliage lined pavements, navigating the ridiculously easy streets, buses and train systems and being ignored as we mooched around (rather than hassled or stared at).

Pavement attraction
That being said, it is expensive and everything here is geared up for consumerism. Plastic, technology and shopping is prolific and a lot of money is spent on making things look attractive which is making me and my eco-hat feel a bit uncomfortable.

Sculptures enticing you into the shopping centres
The locals are a mixture of Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Malaysian, Indian etc and the varying cultures can be seen in different areas of the city though the food and styles. As Chinese New Year is coming up soon, there is a lot of red around and it feels a bit like Christmas with decorations and sales of good luck charms. We found an interesting temple in Chinatown that claims to be housing a relic of Buddha's tooth. Whilst the tooth wasn't much to get excited about as it was viewed from a distance and was so minuscule, the temple was beautifully ornate with gold everywhere.

Around our hotel in Little India, there has been a Tamil festival called Thaipusum which looks a bit like an Indian Notting Hill Carnival until you take a closer look to realise that self-mortification (or carrying a burden) is the theme, gross!

Those spikes are through his skin and his tongue and cheek is pierced with a spear
The Botanic and National Orchid Gardens made for more relaxing viewing with awesome tropical plants and beautiful landscaping. We were treated to a free concert here and met up with an Irish guy we met on our journey from the airport.

Rob's favourite the White Tiger
Singapore Zoo had come highly recommended so we headed here for a brilliant day. The tropical surroundings certainly felt more authentic than other zoos we've visited and there were lots of feeding sessions to watch the animals in action.

Up close and personal
Super trees had eery Jurassic Park type music playing
Another highlight for us was another set of gardens behind the marina which had two biodomes containing a cloud rainforest and waterfalls as well as structurally stunning gardens and all promising to be self-sustainable by generating electricity from the amazing solar super trees, watered by harvested water collection and producing it's own energy using biomass.

Sundown on our last night showed us another great landscape as we headed for Marina Bay to admire the promenade, skyscrapers and light show.

Marina Bays Sands Hotel has a pool, restaurant on this boat like structure on top.

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