Sweat. And my new found love for Geylang

Trip Start May 29, 2009
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Trip End Aug 19, 2009


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Flag of Singapore  ,
Monday, August 10, 2009

Another week begins and you'd think I'd be writing expositions on hospital work but no! It's the National Day weekend which means I got the day off today.

Yesterday was an exhausting day for many reasons. I'm not going to litter this entry solely with negatives but I will mention them in a minute as a form of therapeutic venting. First however, positives. The day started nice and late after a quick recovery from Arena the previous night (I've discovered eating rice the night before is a slightly healthier way compared with grease infused chips at preventing a morning headache) we headed off towards the Botanic Gardens. It was a lovely day and the equatorial Sun was beating down in its usual, ridiculously hot fashion but after a quick MRT to Orchard and a short bus ride later we arrived at the gardens. We wandered round the beautiful grounds soaking up the Swan Lake (unfortunately not Tchaikovsky but still a nice lake with an epic Swan sculpture) and the entrance to the Botanic Gardens. Time was pressing on and we had to splash and dash the rest of it in order to return another day.

We then headed off towards Marina Bay, later than anticipated due to unnecessary and unwanted complication (we were joined by two other visitors who ended up destroying all plans we had envisaged). Due to the delays caused by waiting for these people, and being overly courteous (I would like to mention many other factors interplayed as well) we ended up getting to Marina Bay, about and hour and a half late meaning that we couldn't get to the viewing area as anticipated meaning we spent several hours wandering the streets of Marina Bay with thousands of other Singaporeans trying to find a place to view the celebrations. I like to be organised (almost to the point of obsessive but anyway!) and when confronted with unexpected and unwanted obstacles I do get infuriated! This was frustration of the highest order and although my rage was well contained within polite smiles and sweat, I had to vent it off in small droplets by dropping a cold glance here and there, and taking walks alone in the park area we had settled down in order to clear my head. The stress was further heightened by the crowd and heat. Although I managed to get some good photographs of fireworks, I feel the day had been highly abused by the unwanted attentions of these 2 strangers who couldn't be shaken off. Returning to Geylang was actual heaven after a day of frustration.

Moving on from the negativity, today was much better as we were once again left as a threesome. We first went to the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve to have a little walk around one of Singapore's only natural rainforest areas. The weather was distinctly cooler and after taking another bus, we soon found ourselves transported away from the big city into an entirely new world. As we entered this forest, it didn't feel like Singapore at all and we traversed up hills, over roots and even passed a few Macaques who very nearly attacked us and several other people. I made it to the summit with my clothes absolutely saturated in sweat and my face was dripping. My shower in the morning once again proved fruitless. We then walked down again and had the most amazing Indian food for lunch. I had a Chicken Biryani that I thought would be quite mild but it very nearly burnt my face and Lucy couldn't speak for about 20 minutes in order to cool down. Emily's murtabak (a flat pancake with a meat filling) was about the size of a welcome mat to a house and it looked divine. Singapore is one of the best places for Indian food!

In the afternoon we were quite fatigued and decided to take our exhaustion out in the Singapore Art Museum. It featured a gallery by a Chinese artist called Wu Guangzhong whose abstract stuff was a bit beyond my comprehension (some of it was pretty - that's my art critique right there done and dusted) but he had some other ink and oil paintings that were really beautiful. We also saw a few ceramics and photographic portraits which were nice to look at. We then wandered to the nearest mall to have a wee nosey around before returning to Geylang once again.

I have developed an affection for Geylang and all its little quirks: the fruit markets that never close with fruit left in the baking heat for days on end; the smell of dry kippers and fish in the stairway of the hostel; the 24-hour food markets; the amazing roti pratas down the road; Aljunied MRT; the cockcroaches and screaming cats; the constant stares of bemusement; the 7-eleven; Gaye; the tomatomart and many other things that make Geylang, Geylang. Not the biggest tourist trap, which is part of its charm, Geylang is great and I will miss it when I go!


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