We watched and listened to a platitudinous commentary about the origins of modern day Singapore, and I braced myself for my view of the Merlion, "half-lion, half-fish and wholly ugly" [Rough Guide], guarding the mouth of the Siungapore River.
The commentary also describes, almost mockingly, how people would build bigger buildings than their neighbours in order to win some sort of one-upmanship game.
The Merlion is more hideous than I could have imagined. And it is pictured here. Opposite is a building, nicknamed the Durian, after the local fruit that it resembles, a much classier edifice.
We dock and eat at a pub on the riverside.
Then, as I had safely steered myself home the day before, Astrid allowed me off the leash again, and off I went into the wondrous Fort Canning Park. The Lighthouse once looked over the river, and gave the alert when ships came in, and the alarm - if infectious diseases were on board. But they built all the modern buildings so tall you can't see the river anymore, even from this high point. One-upmanship, heigh-ho, still with us. No view of the river from here now.
|tomb in the middle|
Then the spice gardens; and the tomb in the middle; the Singapore Theatre group is erecting its stage for the season, and here in a corner of the park this little graveyard with Germans and Russians and English folk. Out of nowhere. Delicious.
I go to town looking for a piano keyboard for the kids. I find a digital city place, but only three types of keyboard - all too expensive. And this four floors of IT gadgets - unbearable, stressful. Get me out of here.
At last I cross over into Little India. Whereas Chinatown was Chinese selling tak to tourists, here are Indians selling to other Indians. I took this as a vote of confidence and went into a cafe and had a cup of sweet tea with warm milk. Hideous, and yet not hideous. Astrid was right. There is a Hyde Park [Leeds] home from home feel about the place.
Eventually I find Farrer Park MRT station and head for Sengkang. From here it is the 86 again, and back to theirs for one last night. At this point we are blissfully unaware . . . .