Singapore Stroll

One of the benefits of flying SEA to KTM is there are no direct flights, so I get a nifty layover in a cool Asian city on the way! This time I flew Singapore Air which does a great job and has awesome flight attendant outfits – actually I am beginning to think that all non-US airlines kick ass and the US really has some major catching up to do. After the standard overnight flight offering of fuzzy socks, headset, toothbrush, blanket and pillow, lunch, dinner and water galore, I watched Wonder Woman and Logan back to back, and had red wine with dinner, then was offered a Singapore Air specialty – the Singapore Sling which had Cointreau, pineapple juice and a bunch of other yummy stuff, offered for free of course. (Get it together, America – your litigiousness is killing you! Ahem, sorry.) The Singapore Sling was red and tasted like fruit punch – meaning I could have put back 4 or 5 of them, but didn’t.

The airport is a destination unto itself, so I made mental notes of all the things I can do when I get back –  shower, yoga, curl up in one of the 4 nap lounges, wifi &charge electronics, eat Krispy Kremes, eat a ton of more interesting food, stroll through any of the gardens – yes, gardens in the airport, before heading to the curb.

Since my layover is all night time hours, I looked for night time photography possibilities. Singapore is a gorgeous city! Super clean and organized, with tons of creative architecture, active waterfront (complete with the Singapore Flyer – a giant waterfront Ferris wheel).

I got Singapore stamps in my passport – yay – and approached the taxi stand. Man, they are orderly! I told the cab driver this was my first visit and he gave me a talking tour in very good English all the way through town to my destination. “The night markets are over there, this seaside road is all reclaimed from the ocean, and we buy dirt from Indonesia to create new space to build on…. and tomorrow is our India new year celebration, so the large Indian sections of the city (Tamil is an official Singapore language, along with English, Malay and Mandarin) will be celebrating tomorrow.” I’ll have to miss that due to the 8 am flight and all….

If you’re daunted by a trip to Asia, I suggest you start in Singapore. English is one of the 4 official languages, and all the signage and administration is English first, so it’s pretty easy to get around. Also, they are really accustomed to tourists, it’s safe, even at night, and the food is wide ranging and interesting (and all edible for travelers).

I’ve done enough Chinatowns, I wanted something kind of unique, so I had the cabbie take me to Gardens by the Sea, It was 90 degrees with 90% humidity when I stepped off the plane at 6:30 pm. The sun was just about to set. It’s tropical and lush, meaning everything grows here so there are a lot of gardens and beautiful public walking spaces. Add the interesting architecture and well-manicured spaces (much like Hawaii), and you end up with a fusion of nature and city, all blended together happily. So this is what Gardens by the Bay was doing after sunset tonight.

After the light show I sat smelling Singapore – it’s warm, damp and smelled green. The greenery gives off so much moisture it collected on my skin, covering me. I was wet just standing still. I sat down on a stone bench which was surprisingly hot, even in darkness, from the day’s sun. The rest of the grounds had organically shaped bamboo archways, wandering paths, crickets and frogs singing, a lizard or two and a bob-tailed cat in pursuit of them. Further away from the trees there were fewer people, but it still felt well lit and safe. Plumeria and jasmine trees stretched across walkways. Signs warned not to touch the otters, which apparently cross the walkways frequently. The scent of flowers and well perfumed ladies blew past my nose. Creatures I thought were birds flying around the giant trees are actually bats. Much larger than our bats, they scooped bugs from reflecting pools near the Children’s Garden, which was closed by the time I got there.

All told I spend 3 hours wandering the gardens. I’m sure I missed most of the flowers because they were lost to my eyes in the darkness, but the cabbie who took me back to the airport insisted that I had picked the best single attraction in the city. That made me feel good.

Ok, sleep is finally gripping me… or maybe it’s hunger. Time to go forage and curl up in the airport.