If I hadn't visited Gardens by the Bay and saw it with my own eyes yesterday, I'd still be sttuggling with the complexity and ambition of the project - and just how brilliantly it has been executed. On 100 hectares of reclaimed land, it was announced by the government as a project that would transform Singapore from a 'Garden City' to a 'City In A Garden'.
There are three gardens at sea level that celebrate the diversity of flora throughout the world, with an emphasis on the splendour of native Asian species. Towering above them, at heights between 25 - 50 metres are the Supertree Grove which dominate the landscape of the garden and are integral to its function. The trees contain photovoltaic cells that harness solar energy to enable the trees to do their work of providing shade, energy and a structure upon which ferns and other plants can grow on.
That is an actual visitor walk way you can see winding between the trees. It's called the OCBC Skyway and no I wasn't game enough to walk it with Toddler SSG but I imagine the views would've been stellar.
Besides visiting the Supertrees, you can take an $8 buggy ride through the parks to get an idea of the lay of the land. It's well worth it when it gets too hot and muggy to walk it yourself. The clouds worked in my favour again and I got some pretty impressive iPhone shots taken from the buggy. Too lazy, lah....
This sculpture is called Planet and its by Marc Quinn. The sculpture portrays a seemingly weightless baby which is a paradox to the fact that the sculpture is set in weighty bronze. The artist describes this as a reflection of how we live in our world and also the conflicts we all face internally.
The Marina Bay Sands Hotel (one of its towers, at least) as seen from across The Meadow which is part of the gardens and a festival site / public space. I'm not sure if I'll make it into Marina Bay Sands this time round but I hear its a casino, hotel and shopping mecca with its own indoor canal (as in the body of water) designed by the same people behind a similar hotel in Vegas.
More views of the Supertrees against that ominous cloudy sky.
And that's the Singapore Flyer in the distance.
|The fountain that greets you on entering the Cloud Forest.|
And if that's not enough unique features of this park, there's also the two domed gardens which exist in glasshouses that are a marvel of science and technology. There are separate entry fees for each dome ($14SGD for adults). We were able to visit the Cloud Forest but unfortunately the Flower Dome was closed for replanting. It is a little cool at the base of the dome so don't forget a sweater.
The flowers and trees share their space with ornate wooden carvings
and plants made from Lego.
As you go up the walkways lined with foliage, you can look outside and see the bay with all its machinery and boats. It's an interesting contrast.
Toddler SSG really enjoyed walking through the forest. Though the walkways are all very secure, it can get slippery with the moisture from the ecosystem so do keep a close eye on the little ones. There are also lifts and escalators to break up the walk as well as restrooms inside the dome.
And then it was time to hit Orchard Road and its charming mix of sparkling monuments to the best, the latest and the greatest in shopping punctuated here and there with little side streets of shop houses. Little reminders to Orchard, I guess, to not get too big for its boots and to remember its roots of hard work and perseverance in humble surrounds.
Whatever I was doing all morning felt like hard work to me so I took a break at a 7/11 to escape the humidity over a cup of Freestyled Coke.
My pick from the 81 possibilities was Coke Zero with Vanilla. The person before me picked a fruity Fanta and you can really smell the different syrups as they get pumped into your drink.
Then it was onto one of favourite things about Asian food courts...
Pre cut tropical fruit served in easy to handle individual plastic bags.
Sephora Singapore is such a different entity to her cousin in Australia....
there's so much range, all the displays are immaculate and fully stocked and the points system seems to run like the US model. Sigh.
You haven't really lived in Singapore if you haven't had to camp out at least once in front of a shopping metropolis waiting for the rain to stop....
I made like a local and went back into a metropolis and headed for the basement food court / supermarket area.
Where I caught up on the latest food trends to hit Singapore. Including baumkuchen layer cake - I was physically dependent on this when I visited Japan. Still waiting for it to hit Sydney.
It wouldn't be an SSG holiday travel series of blog posts without some notes and pictures from my exploration of a local supermarket, would it? With a cafe mocha (excellent but pricy at $7 SGD) in one hand and a shopping basket in the other.....
The supermarket I found myself in was Cold Storage in the basement of Takashimya. My Aunty tells me its on the pricy side of things which was reflected in the shelves being full of imported brands.
There was Post cereals from America in the breakfast foods aisle.
And some favourites from home in biscuits - flavoured rice craks from an Australian brand and McVities Digestives.
The fruit is excellent and imported from all over the world. These blueberries came from Chile and a bargain at half price.
Yes, these American apples really did cost $2.80 each. I bough two and the cashier kindly checked with me about whether I was indeed aware of their individual price. They were delicious and worth the money.
At least I didn't buy the $13.90 bags of mandarins from Japan....
Look what I found!!!!! Green Tea Matcha Kit Kat. As the supermarket was based in a Japanese owned department store, there was a pretty impressive offering of Japanese chocolate, snacks and grocery staples.
I wasn't as sold on the baked sweet potato flavour...
Jelly comes pre made here. Instead of our staple Aeroplane fruit based flavours, there were exotics like pandan leaf on offer.
This is what $70 of groceries on Orchard Road looks like. I bought a few snacks for Toddler SSG - the vanilla cupcake Goldfish are yummy by the way.
And our hotel mini fridge is full of fruit - minus the one apple I ate as I took this photo.
Do you like grocery shopping in foreign cities? What do you always buy?