Sunday, May 31, 2015

Day 1, Singapore: The heat…and the humidity

We picked a great location to stay—the AMOY Hotel right on the edge of Chinatown and the central business district. That meant we’d be able to walk almost everywhere, and our plan for the day was to stay on our feet as long as possible--that is, until we stepped out and started walking towards Marina Bay at 10 am. It was a sunny morning, and the whole area was buzzing with preparations for the Southeast Asia Games, which start in a few days. There also was a large rowing competition taking place, involving many corporate and university rowing teams. By the time we walked all the way around the bay to the Helix Bridge, we’d consumed all our water (and bought some more), sweated through our clothes, and reapplied sunscreen. Yes, this was going to be a multiple-showers-per-day trip.

Rowing races on the bay
View from the helix bridge

After a quick stop in the Marina Bay Sands mall food court for some very refreshing fruit drinks (one watermelon, one mango, and one star fruit--all consumed at record pace), we headed back out to find our real destination.

Refreshing...and much needed

Gardens by the Bay includes two conservatories for which you can purchase tickets: a “cloud forest” and a “flower garden.” We weren’t sure but thought the cloud forest sounded the most interesting. Great decision! We stepped in and immediately noticed the cool, refreshing temperatures inside this seven-story dome. You take an elevator to the top and then meander down the path with chances to admire orchids and other tropical plants and a variety of exhibits. We were in no hurry to leave.

Inside the cloud forest
Let me tell you, that cool mist felt really good!

Skywalk around the "supertrees"
Oh, and it was during our visit to the gardens that I realized my primary walking-around lens was broken and I was basically carrying around about a five-pound paperweight on my shoulder. This will be more of an iPhone photo trip than I'd planned.

Rather than walk back to Chinatown, we figured out how to buy stored-value cards for the MRT and hopped the train back for lunch at Lau Pa Sat, the food market housed in a Victorian-era arcade. Since it was Sunday, a lot of the stalls were closed. Still, we were able to find and share a nice selection of chicken rice, laksa, bao and beverages (more watermelon juice and Tiger beer) from various stalls and would not need to each much the rest of the day.

After a brief rest at our hotel, we spent the rest of the day exploring Chinatown and Little India. We took the MRT to the latter and walked all the way back via the very quiet Fort Canning Park and eventually rewarded ourselves with some drinks and spring rolls at one of the restaurants (Little Saigon) at Clarke Quay and watched the comings and going along the river.

All in all, we thought we did a remarkable job of staying awake and on our feet all day after 28+ hours of travel!

Link to all of today's photos

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