Date: 21st September, 2011
After a depressing yesterday, I got up knowing there was little I could do today. With my right hand slightly injured, enjoying the rides at Universal Studios Sentosa was ruled out. I couldn’t go to Marina Bay Sands either because I needed my 70-200mm lens, which I had to give for repair.
After freshening up, I sat at the dining table to have a cup of coffee. I picked up a newspaper and decided to actually read about what goes on in this tiny city state. I couldn’t help but notice the real estate property ads, not because of how good the properties looked, but mainly because just about every condominium advertised cost over a million dollars! And I thought to myself: “How on earth do the locals even afford to buy property here?”
Surely not everybody lives in the posh condos being advertised. That’s when I decided on what to do today – take the bus and see inner Singapore. Now, I didn’t know where exactly to go, but today I didn’t have anything else planned until I got the call from John 3:16 to come pick up my lens from their store.
I laid open my map of Singapore and just pointed to the centre of the island. My finger landed on some area called Bukit Timah. So Bukit Timah it was. Off to the nearest bus stop I went (the MRT doesn’t cover every nook and cranny of Singapore, thus the decision to ride the bus)
I hopped on a bus at around 12:30pm after an early lunch
Didn't seem like many were on their way to Buikt Timah
I know wages in Singapore are obviously higher than say, India, but the cost of living here is extremely high too. Extremely high is also how you can describe most residential buildings. They have to be, developmental land is scarce in Singapore.
I honestly had no clue if I was even on the right way or where to get down
These all looked like privately built apartment buildings
And they're building more
The Housing Development Board apartment buildings often look like that red and white building in the photo
That said, I did notice that there is still a lot of open land space still available. It's just that government ensures there's enough greenery in every district -- which is nice.
Looked like we were on an expressway to Bukit Timah
I didn’t really know where to get down, so when I saw a sign pointing to Bukit Timah Shopping Center, I got down at the next stop.
The area didn't look that exciting. To the left was the construction of a new MRT station.
I presumed malls in inner Singapore weren't going to be as flashy as the ones in the CBD, but this was Bukit Timah Plaza
Went all the way up to the food court/open area where the hawkers were
I don't quite remember if this section was another part of the Bukit Timah Shopping Centre, but every floor had nothing but maid service businesses -- most maids being from Indonesia and Philippines
I was honestly quite bored here
I just walked around the area to soak up what life in these parts must be like. Not quite the residential area I hoped I would see, but it was okay.
Unlike the Geylang area, which has a sizable Malay population, I'm guessing inner Singapore has a lot more of citizens of Chinese descent
Just then my friend Aimee called, saying she might be coming to Orchard Road and that we could meet in the evening. But since I still had a few more hours to kill, I wondered how to spend it.
I hopped on a bus going towards the Orchard Road side
Nanyang Girls High school
Drove past what looked like a rather posh area. Very few people in Singapore live in villas.
The bus drove around and as it neared Orchard road, it passed by the Singapore Botanical Gardens. In a split second, I decided to get down at the very next bus stop.
Singapore's Botanic Gardens wasn't on my list-of-things-to-see actually... but I had to see something!
There is no entrance fee, it's like a public park
It's a public park, but there are quite a few no-no's
I hadn't even shot enough photographs today, so I needed to justify carrying my camera around
No feeding allowed
This is called the Swan Lake
Shot on my Canon 450D
Sadly, because my telephoto lens was undergoing repair, I couldn't zoom in much
Oh look Pacmen... :P
The Tembusu tree
I saw a way in
You have a few restaurants here
Went in here
There's a SG$5 (Rs.200/$3.8/€3) entry ticket
Didn't really know what to expect as I know as much about flowers as I do about neurology
Went inside this huge cage
Walked up towards that bungalow, named Burkill Hall
Orchids here are in honour of special guests
This orchid was named in honour of Jean Chretien, former Prime Minister of Canada
Ghastly looking flower...
Oh that's why
This one is honour of Princess Masako of Japan
This one is in honour of some royals from Qatar
These flowers were in honour of former Indian president K.R. Narayanan's visit
The designs by Mother Nature I tell you
The plant was named in honour of the great Nelson Mandela
I left the VIP Orchid house
Sigh, even in Singapore there are idiots who do this
Went in here next
Coolhouse? Sounds promising!
Oh my god it was SO relaxing in here!
It was so cool in here... Singapore's humidity was killing me!
But just then I get an SMS from Aimee informing me she's on her way to Orchard Road. Damn, I had to leave this place.
I quickened my pace
But I just had to stop to take a snap of myself :)
This is a park for everybody
There's even a huge picnic area
Dogs walk, humans jog... cats... sit and do nothing. Typical!
They have concerts here every week
I wasn't the only photographer there
I was trying to figure out how to get out of the park
I was trying to get out as quickly as possible, Aimee had already reached Ion Orchard
I was finally out!
But this exit didn’t have a bus stop anywhere nearby, so I hailed a taxi and made it to ION Orchard mall.
Aimee, a reader turned dear friend, who was of great help to me in Philippines
Aimee introduced me to Daiso, and I quite liked the offerings. Picked up a mini-vaccum.
After checking out a few stores, we stepped out on to Orchard Road. I promised Aimee I would make her look good this time, as neither of us were happy with the photos I took of her in Manila.
So here's Aimee at Orchard Road
Went in here to collect my ticket for the Chemical Brothers show after the Sunday race
Aimee took this
Went to Ngee Ann City next
Here's Aimee at Lucky Plaza, where I went to exchange some currency
Here's Aimee going down an escalator
We walked to Suntec City towers where Aimee's fiance was waiting to meet us
Here's Aimee.. oh, the camera focused on the background. Oops.
The view from one of the floors at Suntec
Given how the day began, I quite liked how it eventually ended. I’m glad I visited the Singapore Botanic Gardens, it was actually quite nice! I hadn’t done much macro photography since my visit to the 2010 Lal Bagh Botanical Garden Flower Show and I liked how most of my photographs turned out today. It would have been nice if I had my 70-200mm lens but I wasn’t going to get it until tomorrow.
Once back in my area, I had dinner at the Malay Indian restaurant in my block. Had a few pratas and beef curry, cost SG$6.20 (Rs. 250/$4.7/€3.7)
I felt better knowing, despite my injury, I wasn’t going to leave Singapore without some great photos. I wasn’t going to give up. Tomorrow, I visit the Marina Bay Sands Casino – my first time gambling!
Next posts in this series:
Singapore 2011: Day 4 – Marina Bay Sands Casino and views from the SkyPark observation deck
Singapore 2011: Day 5 – Chinatown, F1 Friday (Charice, Seungri and GD&TOP concerts)
Singapore 2011: Day 6 – F1 Saturday (Rick Astley, Shakira and Shaggy concerts)
Singapore 2011: Day 7 – Little India, F1 Sunday race, Linkin Park concert and Avalon Club
Leaving Singapore, and discovering certain truths about this famous city state
Previous posts in this series:
Singapore 2011: Day 2 – Jurong Bird Park and… *ouch!*
Singapore 2011: Day 1 – Landing a second time; walking around CBD
Tags: aimee marie, botanical garden, bukit timah, bus, bus journey, flowers, lake, macro, orchard road, orchid farm, orchids, park, singapore, singapore botanic garden