From Diary 1
10. We leave the hotel at nine, skipping breakfast and head south with the MTR to Harbour Station. Just behind the station, the long complex of parks in the Southern Ridges starts - and so do we. The parks are wild nature with well maintained trails. The surface is concrete, asphalt of steel, and there are no "wild tracks".
Where the trails passes big roads, there are the most awesome bridges. One area is cut into small pieces but the longest canopy-walk I have ever seen. Unfortunately, the steel construction spoils the nature completely. There are really few people on the trails, and I actually think we see more animals.
There are tadpoles in the water, skinks on the ground and Calotes in the trees. Some huge and real beautiful butterflies are seen, but not really photoed in the flowers of the bushes. There are several interesting plants along the trails, but some are defiantly not indigenous! The epiphytes are probably, and especially the giant ferns are impressing. I skip the botanysation, and concentrate on enjoying the general view
The park is just a small corridor on the map, but while walking through it, we rarely see any buildings. A few times, we get a view over a larger area, and skyscrapers and the harbour complex can be seen, along with other green areas. In general, I must say: This is a green city! Well, when we reach the other side, the massive building area reveals it selves.
Sometime after eleven, I start to feel this area is too large; I could do with some breakfast, but all I can see is park! We turn off, just before we reach the northern end, and find a Hortus Centre. It turns out to be the display ground for some companies into plants and landscaping. The restaurant is closed, and we flag-down a cap that brings us to the Botanical Garden. We have tried the busses and MTR, now we need speed and convenience! And the price is only twice of public transport's.
The entrance is free, and the garden is huge! We start with breakfast, right inside. The entrance is dominated with Christmas trees. They are decorated by embassies, schools, companies, societies and alike. One of the better ones is Kenya's embassy's, with toy elephants, giraffes, zebras, coffee bags, safaris and much more.
The lawns are huge, the collections too, but there are not that many name tags. Huge areas are more park-like, but all are the best maintained I ever seen! Smaller areas - but still large - are collections of special plants like bonsai, ginger, desert, swamp, palms, bromeliads and especially: Orchids!
This is a special part, with an entrance fee of €3, but that is symbolic! The area is huge, and there are thousands and thousands of orchids. In total, there are over 3000 species/sorts, and there are hundreds of some species and sorts. There are even a house which are keep cold for the mountain plants! Here are also some carnivorous plants and fern-allied.
I do a desperate job, trying to get a photo of each orchid. Slightly optimistic, but why not try? I find the quietest little tree fern I ever seen, but without name. Morten takes all this with astonishing patience! We find our way out to the park-like area, and watch some kids feed the cat-fish in one of the many and large lakes. Here are also different turtles, and interesting birds in the fruit bearing figs. Some squeals plays in other trees, and insects from spiders to large butterflies can bee seen all over the place.
Some huge peaches fall from a tree. they are almost like eggs, and I just have to bring back a few. It is Callerya atropurpurea; Purple Millettia. Beside from that, I behave nice. The sungarden, displaying the dessert plants are, as expected, not that great. Some cacti, Beaucaneas, Euphorbias, Agavas, grasstrees,Bromeliads, and Madagascar succulents are all, but they do not have the climate here!
The bonsai collection is not big, but there are some nice specimens among. Especially the Wrightia religiosa; Wild Water Plum are nice. In one of the building complexes, an huge tissue laboratory are producing orchids and other interesting plants. It is made to be seen by the public through large windows.
We end up at the main entrance again, and I'm loured into a Le Royal chocolate cake once again. One of the best cakes I ever had - and I have had my share! Morten looks like he could do with something looking differently from plants, and we take a cap to Mustafa Centre; a huge business complex next to Little India.
The prices on electronics are quite similar to Danish internet based business', and we head on to some daily good- stores. Here are everything one can use in daily household, and stuff like rice comes in 25 kg bags. We continues down the street, and the shops get real tiny The facades are only five meters, and there are only two stories.
I'm still looking for trousers. The price starts on €3, and the quality is not that bad. It is the length that causes the problems! End-up buying two pairs for €20. The light starts to faint, and we find a nice Indian restaurant with a enclose yard. Great food, and a reassembly price. We continues through Little India, and then into Chinatown.
One mall is several covered streets, and I find a Casio watch I've been looking for, at half price - and it is original. The Christmas decorations are massive in some parts. Bit strange with electric snow imitations, sledge bells, Christmas trees and Mister Frost. It is all abstract symbols around her, and I doubt the kids knows where it originates from.
We reach the hotel just before midnight, and I hurry to empty my camera's memory, and write a bit of diary. I have to admit I could do with four more hours to get the 550 photos sorted... But I need sleep even more!
11. Rather early up, and out to find some breakfast. Then to the airport with our luggage. We can check-in the huge diving cases, and deposit the hand-bags in the Lost&Found. Then a taxi to the famous ZOO, which are real large, but it is not the amount of animals, nor the rarity of species they are famous for. The special about this ZOO is the enclosures, which not only are huge and well maintained with numerous plants, but also the invisibility of the fences.
The first we meet are some Faulse Gaivals, which ley right underneath us, while we walk on a canopy-walk-like bridge. Then there are Asian Tapirs, Dear Hogs, White Tigers (which I think they shouldn't have), reptilians, Pygmy Hippos, Asian Dears, monkeys, Orang-utans above our heads, Sun bear, Dragons, giant tortoises, several small and large cats, Gila Monsters, Snakes, black and spotted leopard and frogs.
In a huge voliere, slots, fruit bats, butterflies, birds, Indri-Indri, fresh water stingrays, colourful parrots and ducks are free, allowing us to get REAL close!, while tarantellas and scorpions are kept in small terrariums. The next enclosure are for proboscises monkeys. There are a group, and they seems to have a rather normal life, although they are captured. Several species of Asian elephants are hiding somewhere in behind their enclosure.
Along with the animals, there are plants. Orchids, vegetables and fruits, grown in the region. Then we reach the African savanna with giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, rhinos, kudus, and much more. The garden is closing, and we misses some animals which have been locked up, including the mane wolf.
A short brake with hot cocoa before we find a taxi to take us into Little India. We walk around for some time, and see how people are living here. In one square, a group of men are sitting, watching a film on a medium sized TV. We get well around before we find a nice restaurant. I get a whole chicken while Morten only have some of a lamb.
Then we realise how late it has become, and rush towards the MTR to get the last train to the airport. We find our hand luggage, and I change into something warmer. We have half an hour before boarding, and then a long and eventless night flight directly to Copenhagen. Birthe are ready in front of the airport, and while we try to get over the temperature chock, we drive home.
It have been two real intense and exciting days in Singapore, and all, for the price of 1500 kroner/€190 each.