Asian Wonders #1: Singapore

Here is The Marina Bay Sands Roof Top Garden that spans from one tower to the other and you can see that it cantilevers over the third tower. It boasts about being the largest roof top garden in the world.

The National Flower of Singapore is an Orchid called: Vanda Miss Joaquim. It was discovered growing wild by Miss Agnes Joaquim in her garden in 1893.  How do we know this? We visited the Singapore Botanic Gardens this warm and muggy afternoon.  Many orchids do grow wild, so why is it nearly impossible to grow them myself? I have a green thumb.  Hey, Jodi, they have red bamboo growing in the gardens. Wouldn’t a couple of red stalks look great with your pot of bamboo?

Taste treat: The Mandarin Orange. It is most delicious and I we have eaten a dozen or so each . I have spit out and saved all of the seeds. Wouldn’t it be grand to grow a fruit- bearing tree from a least one of these 50 or more seeds?  I know about grafting and how you have to graft a fruit-baring branch onto the seedling to have fruit. It is true. I will have to find someone with a Mandarin Tree.  Do you now of such a tree growing in Southern California?

You really have to be in awe of this gorgeous gracious city full of people, places and things, with no trash and or graffiti. The streets are clean or if not cleaner than your kitchen floor and even the freeway railings are polished. Their entire freeway is spotless. How about that? I heard, if you drop papers, you get your hand cut off. Well, maybe not that harsh, but a big fine and jail time. They are not kidding here.  We did see a woman standing off to the side, smoking. We actually stopped and watched drag after drag until she finished her cigarette. We made bets, and you guessed it, she dropped it to the ground and stepped on it, leaving it there for someone else to pick up. Imagine that. I had all I could do not to go up and reprimand her.  Does she know we spent 26 grueling and torturous hours on plane flights to get to Singapore the spotless city of the world and she just dissed our whole touristic attitude?  The “B” word to her.

Here are some lovely sights we visited around Singapore.

The City of Singapore is on Holiday for the next two days. It is the Chinese New Year of the Dragon.  The year of the Dragon is traditionally a prosperous one. Many of the stores are not open. Good thing because as usual I am over packed, so anything we buy goes into Skip’s suitcase and he really moans and groans over putting anything into his perfectly packed case. So, not to worry, I have an extra fold out and Delta lets you check 2 bags each free when you hit Medallion status. Will we or will we not have four checked bags? Don’t ask, you already know.

We visited a section of Singapore called, Little India.  Since Skip will not go to India, I had a little, very little taste of what it is all about.  I enjoyed being in the old part of the city, visiting India. All over Singapore new construction is the norm. Cranes and building materials are at sites across the city. This is such an industrious city, so colorful and basically has everything you could ever need and want. I fell badly that I do not know enough of Singapore’s history and of the infra-structure to tell you about the economics here, and who has and does what.

Next we walked in Chinatown. We felt like this was another reality of Singapore. There were hundreds of people watching a huge Dragon dance and twirl. After all of this excitement, we had to sit down and cool down. We found a place that looked lively and the food was beautifully abundant.  There were only two seats available, and we were invited in to sit down. As we looked around, we realize we are very different from the other diners. Remember, this is a special holiday; one of hope for prosperity and everyone is out at their very best. We also noticed that we sat there a very long time with no attention, not even a glance in our direction. It was like we were invisible. We finally stood up and started flapping our wings. That flapping surely did get the waitresses’ attention.  Then we realized, that the waitress does not speak English at all. Not even one word I am convinced. How we got the food on the table, I do not know. We noticed that people in the restaurant all ordered great quantities of food. They all left some.

Our beef and tofu soup and came out quite quickly once our order was taken. The resonances in the restaurant were sharp and foreign to our ears. The sounds triggered internal registers that we relished and appreciated. We thoroughly enjoyed being surrounded by authenticity and delighted in the purity of the cultural exchange.

Beautiful Singapore:

Construction everywhere:

My favorite building with many colored shutters.

A little section of the Raffles Hotel where The Singapore Sling was invented in the Long Bar around 1915.

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Reene
    Jan 24, 2012 @ 22:59:24

    What a wonderful surprise and so unexpected to open my e-mail to a blog!!!!
    Singapor is so colorful. Sounds like you are having a wonderfultime. Keep it up –I hope for lots more blogs.
    FYI–yellow fever shots are required in most parts of Africa—Reene


  2. Dina
    Jan 25, 2012 @ 15:47:24

    So happy to hear you are having such a delightful time. Wish I could have been in that restaurant with you.


  3. Karen Callan and Period1
    Feb 03, 2012 @ 08:15:13

    Hi Mom and Dad! My class and I have enjoyed looking at your photos. Victor wants to see more photos. Cameron would like to know if the monk healed Dad? Mireya would like to know what was your favorite place to visit? Joseph wants to know if you had fun riding the elephant? My class would like you to come visit and share about your wonderful travels. Miss and love you, Karen and her Period 1 class.


    • Sheila Clapkin
      Feb 14, 2012 @ 17:59:56

      To Ms. Callan’s Period 1 class. Guess what when I come home I will visit. I do have to get over jet lag, but we will talk about that and I will hopefully be able to answer all of your travel questions. See you soon.


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