Oh ! I can’t believe my eyes ! Gleefully whispered the tiny girl seated just in front as we touched down at Changi Airport in the wee hours . The contrast of shiny boats on the Singapore river, twinkling lights on fancy buildings in pitch darkness. I could feel her excitement !
Who would have thought that this spectacular city was once a backwater fishing village?
While immigration took some time, I was amazed to look at the small indoor gardens where orchids and other exotic flowers bloomed along small water bodies, living up to the image of ” The city of gardens” that Singapore has so proudly held on to.
‘We are a city in a garden’ read a huge banner that had tall ‘super trees’ painted on it.We took an MRT to Bencoolen street where our hotel was located.
After an early check in ( which was otherwise stipulated at 2 pm), we rested for a while and then walked and took a bus to the Botanical Gardens. Singapore’s pledge to integrate greens in the city is nothing but impressive. Glass buildings are often decked up with cheerful plants. The city government has created exotic gardens.
The Orchid garden was a real treat for the eyes – bright colors an overwhelming sight. The downpour proved to be an icing on the cake.
Needless to say, the immaculate streets with smart signage makes Singapore a walkable city. After spending our evening in Sentosa, which is the top destination for most tourists, we decided to visit Marina Sands by the bay The view from the 55th floor was certainly unbelievable – Singapore flyer, the Singapore museum, Garden by the bay, all brimming with pride on the river shore; almost like a trophy to the miraculous success of this city.
Celebration mode on !
Half lion , half fish. What does it mean ? I glanced at the iconic Merlion statue facing the Marina sands .Well ! the upper half (the lion) symbolizes courage and bravery, while the lower half (mermaid) symbolize the fishing roots of a backwater village.
Isn’t that the portrayal of every migrant from the hinterland in an urban setting?
The cool mist embraced us as the entrance to the Cloud Forest . The inviting and tall waterfall took us in, with all its magnificence . The path around the waterfall was adorned with lush ferns , moss, carnivorous pitcher plants and orchids. Delight for all the senses. The flower dome too with an enchanting collection of real pumpkins, in anticipation of Halloween.
“Only citizens can drive cabs” , said the friendly guy who took us to Mount Faber , the place my hubby was most interested in visiting in Singapore. How he loves getting into casual conversations with locals to feel the pulse of the culture. Our driver was warm, well traveled and keen for a conversation. Henderson Waves was a soothing sanctum in this otherwise busy city.
On the cable car ride from Mount Faber to Sentosa, we took our faces out of the car’s window and leaned out, almost like children ! The aerial view of the the bay, Sentosa Island , ships, apartments and highways beneath us, and mostly vacant cable cars. Lovely moment, indeed.
Fragrance of incense sticks, posters of Malabar gold, Tamil songs playing at vegetable shops, pedestrians dressed in traditional Tamil wear , huge decorative banners ( Diwali was round the corner) ; and traces of trash. Little India left us feeling a little disoriented and being at the home at the same time. We adored the view of an auspicious ceremony in front of a temple for a Goddess. As my hubby tried to capture a few frames, a local (almost in the frame at that moment) jokingly said ” Don’t take my picture, I am too ugly ” .
We did not plan this trip with a view to tick off all the tourist hotspots but to get a feel of the flavors, colors and character of the country. Singapore’s sophistication, discipline and eclectic mix of cultures was evident. While Singaporeans follow all the rules in the book and it’s there for everyone to see, I could recall my brother in law jokingly texting us ” Make sure you don’t get caned there! “.
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