Perambulating Amongst Plants

October 5 – Singapore 

After I got in an early morning run before things got too hot, we got started on our day. Today we did one thing, so I’m not going to do a whole lot of talking, I’ll just let the pictures tell the story. The one thing we did was explore the Singapore Botanic Gardens and it was a lovely day. The Gardens are enormous, so while we thought we might start there and then move on to other places, it ended up taking the whole day. We strolled through the different areas of the Gardens, along the paths, beside lakes, through rainforest and saw so many plants I’d never seen before and even some wildlife. There were lots of people out strolling and enjoying a very, very hot day in the great outdoors and also lots of people out running along the paths. I didn’t know whether to think them courageous or crazy because when we did happen to check the weather at midday it was 33C “feels like 39C” and it was humid too, so those runners would have been doing it tough because it kept getting hotter!

The Botanic Gardens were established in 1859 and since then they’ve not only been a space for recreation and enjoyment but also a significant place of research and plant science. It played a key role in Singapore’s rubber industry, after rubber plants were introduced in the early years and continues to be recognised as an important contributor to research. The Botanic Gardens are also  a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

So…rather than me give a step by step recount of our day walking amongst the plants, which was another 12km of roaming, here are some of the things we saw along the way, in pictures and the odd caption to help:

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A Singaporean squirrel! I didn’t even know Singapore had squirrels

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Elevenses
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An elevenses visitor

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Orchids
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These lily pads were bigger than car tyres

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For some reason there were a lot of chooks around, having a lovely time scratching in the leaves
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A sculpture showing boys playing “chang kuda” (chang meaning “piggyback” and kuda meaning “horse” in Malay). Chang kuda was a popular game with children in the 50’s and 60’s and the artist wanted to show “when the days were seemingly carefree for children, and their fun was limited only by their imagination.”

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Swan Lake was constructed in 1866 and is the oldest ornamental water feature in Singapore. Apart from being a very nice feature of the Garden, it’s also an important source of water for all the plants. In 1892 a crocodile took up residence in the lake and despite two years of efforts to catch it, it remained on the loose and was responsible for taking a man who had been drawing water from the lake. The entire lake had to be drained to catch it. 
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The lake is home to a lot of different fish. I wondered if this was a catfish?
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Spot the turtle, just poking its nose out for a breath of air.  This was a very big chap and seemed to know I was there and didn’t want to be on show. Each time I got close, it would dive below the water. I had to wait for just a nose to come up and then down it went again. It didn’t want its picture taken at all.

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It was amazing walking through this tunnel of fringes, like walking through a fringe curtain. They are actually arial roots of a plant closely related to grapes. The fruit are like small black grapes and are native to tropical parts of the Americas. 
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These are the Prisoner of War Brick Steps and were made by POW’s during the Japanese occupation of Singapore 1942-45. As a sign of defiance, the prisoners imprinted the symbol of an arrow on most of the bricks, to show that they were “detained by the authorities.” 

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Me and puddles!

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Some of the plants were like dinosaur plants – huge leaves!

That was just a selection of the day. It was a ripper day, very leisurely and relaxed, which we were glad of because it was an absolute scorcher, much hotter than yesterday and yesterday was an oven. We both commented again today how much we are liking Singapore and are deciding we really need to see more of Asia, since it’s in our own backyard. For now though, we will continue to enjoy what this small island has to offer and roam on to explore its sights and delights. After all, we’re only medium rare – another day, flip us over and we should be cooked through! 

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