We found green space today! It’s heavily maintained green space, with big walking paths and lots of signage, and you’re never too far from tall buildings, but it was green space nonetheless. Prescott, Kristen and I spent the morning at the Southern Ridges, a series of parks connected largely by elevated bridges. You’re actually walking in and over the treetops in some sections! And while you often know that the city is nearby, with the smells of the jungle and the bird songs and the trees all around, you really do feel like you’ve gotten away from urban Singapore.
The Southern Ridges are in southwestern Singapore, just north of the ports. We had our first view of the South China Sea, which is absolutely cluttered with tankers (if you squint, you can see them in the background). But it’s still a pretty beautiful sight:
We saw all sorts of plants that I’ve never seen before — I’m going to need a quick crash course on the flora of Southeast Asia. I only recognize the flowering plants we had in Hawai’i (ginger, heliconia); there’s a whole new set of flowers to learn here.
I’ll want to get to know the birds, too. I’m good on the mynahs (absolutely everywhere) and the pigeons, and I’m pretty sure I saw a black-naped oriole, but beyond that, the birds we’re hearing and seeing are all new to me.
We also saw things I didn’t expect, including this photo shoot (Japanese magazine? Cosplay? Something else entirely?) and this sign (though we saw no monkeys, aggressive or otherwise, which I thought was too bad).
The last park we walked through, called Hort Park, has great gardens.
We took the wrong trail out of the park (even Singapore’s great signage can fall short in places) and ended up at a tiny, wonderful hawker center. We waited in line for and ate mystery noodle soup with prawns (much of the food here is mysterious; with no menus or translations of menus, you sometimes just point to things and hope for the best).
We returned to the hotel in the late morning, and I lay out by the pool for a while. They take their pools seriously in Singapore (with this heat, they should) — pools are generally very large and suitable for lap swimming.
Met a couple of new teachers and their kids — the new teachers are all flying in today. Everyone will be here tomorrow, and then we’ll have a lot more planned activities and socializing. It will be a real change to hang out with a whole group of instant friends (we’ve really enjoyed getting to know Kristen, friend #1, and now there will be another sixty or seventy people entering our social sphere).
Prescott and I just returned from a trip to a nearby food court, where we had a late lunch of vegetable biryani, plain paratha, and teh tarik (“pulled tea,” or tea with condensed milk). We ate banana paratha for dessert, which may be our new favorite food here. Fried bread with warm banana inside … yum.