Monday, September 21, 2015

Day 64 - Famous and Forgotten Gardens

CAUTION : This post contains a large number of photographs !

Today was a green day. After I had my second osteopathy session this morning, I met my father and we visited the Botanic Gardens of Singapore together. This time we started at the South Gate. Along our way to the center, the National Orchid Garden, we came across the Ginger Garden, where we were surprised by shocking orange and red rows of ginger hanging from the trees or growing out of bushes. 

As if these leaves were painted

The sun was burning the sweat out of us, but we were certainly amazed by the many variants of Singapore's national flower: the orchid. Have a look on how different variations of a single species can look like.

These wonderful "VIP" orchid hybrids have been created to memorize the visits of VIPs to the orchid garden. This variation was created for the visit of William and Kate. They should symbolize the process of "melting together" of two people in a marriage by "melting together" two orchid variants into one.

You also find this amazing orchid hybrid
in the VIP orchid garden, whose leaves
are (more or less) naturally twisted - WOW!

In German it's sometimes called "Frauenschuh" (women's shoe) which seems very appropriate for that one

We even could watch a squirrel gnawing its way through the Mist Garden (also a part of the Orchid Garden) and a beautiful red-blue hummingbird in a ginger-like plant. After almost two hours and 300 photos we were quite hungry. On the photo you see that we were quite thirsty, too. Together with two dishes (Wantan mee with a Fishball Soup, and Laksa) that you certainly should try some day, we drank a total number of five different drinks: a watermelon juice (as it got a daily ritual 'cause it's just fantastic), a "Kopi Ice" (a cold sweet milk coffee with ice cubes), a "Kopi-O Ice" (a cold sweet milk coffee with ice cubes without milk), a "Teh Tarik" (a hot sweet milk tea, from red tea I guess), and a "Teh Halia" which is drinkable one time a month (a hot sweet milk ginger tea that tastes pungent).
An interesting "coffee specification efficiency" observation: We order "coffee", "coffee with cream (or sugar)" or "coffee with cream and sugar". Singaporeans do it the other way round: "Kopi" is coffee with condensed milk and sugar, "Kopi o" is Kopi without milk, and "Kopi o kosong" is Kopi without milk and without sugar. What is more efficient?

As this half day was quite exhausting, we allowed ourselves some relaxation in the afternoon, before we left a second time for the Chinese garden which, according to a web site we read, should be illuminated to celebrate the "moon fest", a kind of mid-autumn Chinese thanksgiving. The haze situation worsened unexpectedly because the wind direction changed, blowing again smog from the Indonesian forest fires.
And even the Chinese Garden seemed to be a flop: nearly everything except the white seven-storied pagoda was closed due to different reasons. No double pagoda, no big arch, no turtle museum, no bonsai garden, ..... But after the crowded Botanic Gardens (A World Heritage Site), the place was at least pieceful and relaxing :-)

The light red circle between the Twin Pagodas is the sun behind the increasing haze.....

Confucius and the seven-story pagoda (both from the 1970ies)

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