Diesel Swim Day

Jocelyn and I decided to go to the beach yesterday.  That’s not something tourists usually do — more on that later — but it sounded enticing enough to try.  We took a bus down to the southern end of the island, and this is what we found right next to the bus stop when we were transferring:img_9413

It’s a southern Chinese temple built in the late 1800s with some pretty wild designs.  For starters, it’s bright pink.  And the front wall has about ten giant figures floating on a sea of fish.  This one looks like the god of golf, though I’m sure I have that wrong.

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We continued on our way, stopping to take a walk through the Southern Ridges, a long, largely elevated hike that connects four small hills.  A steep flight of stairs took us up to Henderson Waves, a stunning bridge.  Here’s what it looks like from street level:

img_9440Or when J decides to be less than helpful about joining an us-ie:

 

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And here’s what Henderson Waves looks like once you’re on top:

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There’s a view all the way down to the sea:

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The walk continues through the trees, so you feel like you’re really in the jungle:

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Our end goal was Sentosa, an island connected to the south end of Singapore by a causeway.  Sentosa is home to Universal Studios amusement park, something called “Resort World,” a golf course, fancy bungalows, some super-swanky hotels, a yacht parking lot, and the best beaches you can get to without hopping on a ferry.  It’s an odd place, both beautiful and as invented as things get in Singapore.  Locals rave about it.

We went to the Tanjong Beach Club, where you can have lunch and drinks on the patio (or rent a “daybed,” if you spend a minimum of $200 — which we thought sounded crazy until we saw our bill).

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This was the view from our table:

img_9429The beach itself looks lovely at first; it’s a series of manmade lagoons set securely in from the South China Sea.

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The sand comes from either Indonesia or Malaysia, because Singapore’s shore is naturally either rocky or filled with mangroves. And much of Sentosa’s shoreline is reclaimed land.

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But while all of this looks great at first glance, there are three problems.  First of all, if you look off into the distance, you see buoys and then lines and lines of container ships (there on the the right in the photo below).  So your beach view does not look off into the eternal horizon.img_9430

You then notice that hovering around the ships is a cloud of brown diesel smoke.  And when the occasional waft of diesel reaches your nose, you wonder if you should really be swimming.  But it’s so hot out on the beach that we swam anyway (and I stayed floating in the water to read my book).

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The third problem is that Sentosa appears to be right next to a military airfield, so loud planes that look like they came straight out of Missile Command dash overhead every once in a while.  At the end of the day, we decided that swimming at Sentosa is less than ideal, but it was a good experiment.

I liked this sign over the public showers.  When you push the shower button, you get about twenty second’s worth of water — so you would have to be very patient to get a full ten minute shower.

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For dinner, J and I met up with Ilene and Ian Salditch, parents of one of my Park Mock Trial captains from the class of 2013 (you’ll meet her on the blog later this month).  They’re in town for a three-day visit, so I suggested that we go to Mellben Crab to have two of the dishes for which Singapore is most famous:  chili crab and black pepper crab.  It was really fun to see them.

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