A Cool Evening: Singapore

What type of food does one eat in Singapore? Italian, naturally.

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Rainy season in Singapore yielded benefits today: the evening is tolerably cool.

I took advantage of this lovely evening by dining outdoors at Casa Tartufo. Attached to the hotel, this is a delightful, relaxing restaurant (quite unlike its rambunctious neighbors along Ann Siang Road and Club Street) with a limited but tasty menu.

Tonight is my second visit, and as my appetite is not large I ordered a side salad and prosciutto. It was a simple and delicious repast.

And now, to work: Singapore

Google Maps assured me that my commute would be no longer than an 11 minute walk. And I believed it. What Google Maps was not aware of is that a construction project partially obscures what is already a slightly hidden pathway recommended to abbreviate the walk. I paced up and down Ann Siang Road, then noticed the small-print instruction in Maps (take the stairs, and after some hunting located the appropriate detour.

This detour was a bit of a fright. A dark tunnel with a blind turn or two, that in the US – with the possible exception of
Yoder, Kansas – I’d entirely refuse to follow.

But this is Singapore. It’s too hot and humid for crime at 8 am. I tripped through.

Then came Boon Tai Street. Some people scampered across this thoroughfare with either incredible courage or stupidity . My inner rule follower wanted nothing to do with this band of miscreants; I walked to a crosswalk and braved the crush of commuters.

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Notable along the way were numerous shop fronts in the colonial style, and mini altars.

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Worth honorable mention: this tiny pub with a charming name:

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In the end, I arrived at the office physically unscathed but a bit unsettled, and last night had a bad dream about traffic.

Singapore MRT as an Enabler

Singapore’s commuter rail system is a simple, convenient, and inexpensive means for navigating the city. I managed to return to my hotel from the Garden yesterday via the MRT.

Having gained confidence from that experience, this morning I decided to take the MRT rather than a taxi and visit Bugis Junction, saving myself about $20 SGD.

This savings enabled me to buy a cute little sleeveless top at the mall from Mu, something suitable for work in this incredibly hot and trendy city.

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Loved the styles at Mu, but I was fortunate to find something to fit me as the clothing runs quite small.

Like malls in the US, this one has an elaborate food court and I was charmed by the name of this particular outlet:

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The mall was a crush of bodies, and very loud. I slipped outdoors to call my husband and there it was noisy with traffic. The MRT was very crowded and noisy on my return to Chinatown. Life in a large city is a noisy proposition!

Recovery in Singapore

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This city-nation is perhaps not the place for a life of sobriety.

There are quite a lot of rules here, and there are plenty of signs reminding one of the don’ts:

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Some of the signs are quite explicit – a useful thing in this multinational city:

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The stress of such rules takes its toll on the weary traveler, and warrants a bit of medication.

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Singapore Botanical Garden

After an indulgent and leisurely breakfast, I spent the afternoon sweating off the Hollandaise sauce exploring the Singapore Botanical Garden.

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Like many such gardens, this isn’t just one garden but rather a collection of flora and fauna categorized and arranged to provide the studious with a delightfully organized – and often, comprehensive – representation of plant families, while also affording enjoyment to novices such as myself.

The sundial garden reminded me of the manicuring I had noted in French gardens, with a symmetry of beds and pools.

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The sundial is engraved with a saying that is likely intended to be amusing but which is, in my current state of mind, rather chilling:

What thou seekest is a shadow

I shelled out the $5 SGD to enter the Orchid garden. The admission fee and gift shop proceeds help to fund breeding programs that attract collectors from around the globe; I was quite happy to support the cause and money’s worth was had. Singapore’s exceptionally warm and humid climate is amenable to a grand variety of orchids, and in the specimen section of the Orchid Garden I noted a high proportion of Dendrobium – a personal favorite.

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While heading toward the enclosure containing the cool-weather orchids (which due to the dampness and the limitations of my current equipment was not amenable to photos), I stopped with a group of younger tourists to find the source of a loud and sustained sustained hum, which was a Cicada no larger than my thumb.

I had packed a compact umbrella in my luggage, but neglected to bring it so was sent scampering to the gift shop when a sudden and intense downpour materialized. The relief afforded by this rain was not sufficient to significantly lower the temperature though the umbrella I purchased provided some shelter from the sun later in my trek. Here I am, thoroughly damp but happy to be surrounded by greenery.

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