Sore feet and satay
City Hall station was a little quieter this morning!
We'd just missed a train heading for the Marina, but it doesn't matter at all when they run so frequently.
We were planning to spend the morning at the Gardens by the Bay, somewhere we both wanted to return having enjoyed it so much last time we were here. Of course, they are upgrading - it's Singapore, innit?!
Whilst my Hero went to sort out tickets, I perused the transport offerings, including this semi-autonomous vehicle. There being only one of them in service, it involved a lengthy wait - a shame, for I quite fancied the idea of having a ride in it!
We settled for the ordinary shuttle, aiming straight for the Flower Dome which had been closed on our previous visit. We stepped inside and found ourselves in Australia.
It was surprisingly cool in here and though I imagined each continental area would require its own climatic conditions, I didn't notice any difference in atmosphere between the "desert" plantings and the cooler zones.
What I found particularly strange, though, was the sight of daffodils and dahlias growing alongside one another. I'm not much of a gardener but I seem to think that's a seasonal contradiction?
Anyway, through South Africa and a group of baobab trees, to the Californian desert we went.
With a little Asian sakura on the way.
All very interesting but not quite as much as the spectacle next door.
We'd been here before and this particular dome had left a strong lasting impression on both of us. The "cloud forest" has been constructed using Mount Kinabalu as inspiration and having been a little disappointed by the lack of colour in the flower dome next door, a blast of vibrant colour from a few orchids just inside the door was enough to perk us up.
We had just missed the 11am misting, but the air was damp and warm, the atmosphere very humid by the seven-storey high waterfall which provides the centrepiece of the attraction. We made our way to the top by means of the lift inside the "mountain" and slowly began the winding pathway down.
Very slowly at first, because a media crew were filming/photographing and we had to wait patiently until they were ready to let us through. Of course, that meant that twenty or thirty people were bunched up together, so we hung back a bit in the hope that those in a hurry would, well, hurry along a bit and leave us behind in a bit of peace.
That was exactly what they did, leaving us behind a group in which one woman had read out loud the warning at the top of the walkway, advising anyone with a fear of heights to return to the ground floor by means of the lift. She wasn't good with heights at all, she said...and so the whole way down we heard "I can't do this", "ooooer, aaagh no, I can't look" and so on (and so on).
The walkway is indeed rather high and looks precarious, but is actually very solid and doesn't wobble at all. Since most of the interest is on the side of the "mountain", one needn't look down at all - unless of course, you can't help but do exactly that.
Everyone made it safely down to the bottom again, thankfully, just as the next misting session began. I think it must seem rather odd if that happens to coincide with being up on high - the true cloud forest experience, I guess.
For us, that was enough for today. We still had a couple of errands to make before we board ship tomorrow morning and so we made our way through the outdoor gardens to the Marina Bay complex and onto the MRT again, back to City Hall.
As we passed the Rimowa luggage store, we spotted this little number in the window. Now, there's clever!
Errands completed and no new luggage bought (!) we returned to our room to put together a few things in preparation for our departure tomorrow. As I looked across the road, I spotted three workmen on the roof of the Raffles Hotel, currently undergoing renovations (and not before time, looking at the state of that roof!) They were walking about comfortably on the ridge, chatting and taking it easy. I couldn't but help think of the woman on the elevated walkway this morning!
One last dinner though, that we'd booked on Saturday night, having enjoyed the National Kitchen so very much. Arriving at Clarke Quay in the early evening, before things were really kicking off, we wondered if we'd made a wise decision.
As delicious as we remembered, we both could have feasted on that alone - just what was in that magical "signature" sauce? For main course, we both ordered satay, watching as it was grilled over an open flame right there in front of us.
Another plate of absolutely yummy food arrived, which we polished off in no time, prompting the question "did you enjoy that?" from one of the wait staff who we'd chatted to earlier. "Maybe you'd like to meet the lady herself, then" at which point, we turned around to see a smiling lady dressed in chef's clothes there behind us - none other than Violet Oon herself. Utterly charming and clearly proud of her restaurant and staff, we chatted a while about food, Singapore and the Cotswolds, which she'd visited recently. We exchanged email addresses and off she went, recommending a particular dessert as she did (the one we hadn't ordered!) Later, as we paid the bill, the restaurant manager explained that our desserts had been offered with the compliments of Violet.
How sweet was that?
I can tell you, it was four very tired feet that staggered to the station to come home tonight!