20 June 2011

Three days in Singapore

Ahh Singapore – a city of shopping, efficiency, strict rules against chewing gum and … frogs?!

We arrived in Singapore at 6am and headed straight for our friend Barb’s place, she had convinced us that we needed to see the frog farm in Singapore – they don’t write about it in the travel brochures, nor was there any information on it at the airport.

But, on next to no sleep we took a cab and headed for farming country.  Even the taxi driver laughed at us as we told him where we wanted to go.

The farm itself is a little disturbing, thousands of frogs trapped in small concrete pens – all ready to be sold off to become someone’s meal – and I thought they only ate frogs in France!

But the region was beautiful - full of unusual farms accessed by a shuttle bus that drives from farm to farm.

After the frog farm we visited Bollywood Veggies – a large edible garden that you could take hours to meander through.

The greenery in this part of the country, close to the border with Malaysia, was quite unexpected and quite beautiful, and seemingly a world away from the Singapore most visitors experience.

Of course, we had to do the obligatory tourist sites – Little India, yep it’s authentic, as soon as we stepped into this precinct people were trying to get us to buy their wares; Arab Street; Orchard Road and Raffles Place.

We also caught the train out to Sentosa Island to witness all the kitsch of the various “worlds”. I loved it, but was very surprised to learn it’s not a man-made island! The island itself formed naturally, but has now been turned into a giant “theme park” complete with fake beaches and rocks, as well as a Universal Studios theme park. Another of the main goals for Sentosa Island was to reverse the trend of declining greenery, and slowly increase the “percentage” of the island dedicated to natural forestry.

Even the airport at Singapore is amazing - complete with indoor butterfly sanctuary for viewing while waiting for the plane. You can view butterfly cocoons, and watch hundreds of butterflies suck nectar from the flowers. It is the most amazing airport we have seen.

Singapore is a beautiful country, it is incredibly clean, easy to navigate and friendly but in some ways it is a little too perfect, almost soulless. Still, I’m definitely heading back for the shopping!

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