Saturday, January 7, 2012

When in Singapore, Enjoy the Weather and the Outdoors

01/06/12 Friday
Sandy just looked up the weather on The Weather Channel. Singapore is 88F, feels like 94F. It's 6:30pm. No rain so far today, but always very humid. Occasionally, we get a nice cooling wind. The swimming pool provides a convenient way to cool down. We play a set of tennis every few days, usually before noon in the shadows from the condo building. Then, swim.

Vivo Center is our destination for dinner after the girls are off to bed. The first restaurant, Shabuya, is strangely not taking diners after 8:00. Our next choice is a German "tapas" style place called Brotzeit (bread time). It's really great food, with lighter variations on standard German fare, and good German beer. We have a table outdoors overlooking the river and occasional fireworks at Sentosa. We took a double decker bus to Vivo Center and rode up front on the top deck, which was really fun. The building lights were great and John pointed out all the sights, most that didn't exist when they lived here 15 years ago. Singapore is an exciting city and all the different architecture used really makes it interesting.

01/07 Saturday
Kranji Countryside, a nature area, is about 15km at the northwest side of Singapore. In fact, you can see across the strait to Malaysia, and hear the Muslim prayers being chanted, it's so close. This area has 10 or so small green businesses. John, Yuko, the girls and us cabbed to a Nature Preserve there. Quite impressive area and their saying is, "We believe that going back to nature is the future." Hard to believe they are busy with land fill projects just a few miles away when you walk through so much jungle like areas. They have very nice boardwalks and we climbed a tower to view the entire area.

It is remote from the city, with lots of open space covered by tropical flora. Sungei Buloh (meaning River Bamboo) is a wetlands operated by the state, only Sg$ 0.50 entry fee. As we walk the trails, we encounter lots of exotic fauna and flora, too. Mangrove tree's root systems protect the wetlands from erosion. When the tide is out we can see the tangle of roots among the muddy sandy bottom.

Along the trail, sometimes in the trail, we come across lizards, some 5 feet long. They are familiar with people, so they don't skittle off into the bush. There are flying fish, walking fish, snakes (well, we saw one small skinny one that even Sandy wasn't afraid of), heron, possibly a crocodile (we didn't see it), and lots of migratory birds.

Poison Ivy Bistro, also located in the Kranji area, was our late lunch destination. Ivy is a native 62-year old Singaporean of Indian background. She is a gentle warrior of high caste. She is called "poison" because she has never cooked. She and her husband started a green farm, Bollywood Veggies, 10 years ago, and added the cafe later. It featured organic, very healthy food and we were all hungry after several hours of exploring. We had just enough time to wander into the funky garden before catching a bus back.

The building going on in Singapore is incredible and huge cranes are constantly working on major landfill projects all up and down the coast. They are changing some major freeways and seem to work 24 - 7.

01/08 Sunday
Tennis is the first item on today's agenda. It's cloudy and cool (only 78 degrees), perfect weather to be on the court. We got in a couple sets and a swim before it started to rain.

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