Toa Payoh and Turtles!

Tuesday and high on the list for sometime today was a visit to a money changer for our trip to Malaysia. Singapore has many of these establishments though so there was no real rush, and we were heading for the Heartlands today.

 

This is Toa Payoh, a place where real Singaporeans live, outside of the city

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in fact Lisa’s family live in some of the lower-rise apartment buildings to be found here.

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The shops sell these everywhere – I can’t remember the name but it is a fruit and it smells so awful it is banned from the buses and the MRT! Does anyone remember the name?

The shops were lovely, not crowded and the people that were there were not tourists – except us of course … I bought a few souvenirs.

We had lunch in a streetside cafe – Mark went for a very spicy noodle dish and we had curry puffs – I really like them, very like pasties to look at but filled with a mild potato curry mixture.

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Liz didn’t like them too much…

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And of course Mark found that amusing..

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But we can’t all have your cast iron taste buds Mark – you’ve lived here for 20 years now!!!

The day was more than hot and just occasionally there was a gust of wind – Mark told us this was a definite sign that a storm was coming.

There was a park there that we wanted to see and we did manage a short visit.

It is set out beautifully with a winding stream and small bridges..

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and these little guys..

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They were so sweet and swam towards us as we sat trying to cool off!!!

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But the sky was changing dramatically and as we were visiting China Town that evening we set off for the MRT station.

We got off the MRT at Somerset and visited the money changer for our Ringits – Malaysian currency for the next day, then headed for the hotel.

As we stood at the lights waiting to cross the road next to our hotel – I looked to the left and saw a ‘wall of rain’ moving at speed towards us – it was the most amazing sight and was causing mild panic amongst the people waiting for the lights to change, there was much feet shuffling and shouting at the lights to change.

They did change – just as it reached us…. torrential hot rain …. it was fantastic!!!

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High as a Kite!

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There was a huge thunderstorm going on as we made our way to tonight’s venue but i think we managed to get there before we got too bedraggled – and here we had cocktails – oh and pizza and potato wedges. This is the New Asia Bar of the Swiss Hotel…

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And it is 70 floors up with magnificent views over Singapore..

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I make no apology for the misty views – it did stop raining but the humidity caused a haze and it wasn’t possible to get a clear photo..

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But it was such an experience – the express lift made our ears pop

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And everything on the ground below us looked like toy town

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Do you need a flower for that vase Mark?

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We think so!!

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We had a lovely time but as darkness fell we decided to move on ….

To Mark and Lisa’s local bar and a karaoke filled evening – it was brilliant! I have no photos but I know there are videos ….. somewhere

Jurong Bird Park – Singapore

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Monday morning and tea in bed! Thanks Liz!!!

Mark was to be taking us to Jurong Bird Park today and I thought I might get some sun. To explain, it is very sunny and hot in Singapore but, most of the time, because of the enormous humidity we were in the shade or in a building – most buildings there have air-conditioning.

Breakfast – well after yesterday’s fiasco we opted for MacDonalds again – I don’t normally eat breakfast at home – I prefer it mid-morning but Liz does have breakfast and even though she didn’t fancy it much she opted for a bacon muffin meal – I didn’t want anything big so I had an orange juice and their ‘quickie’ snack of coffee and a hash brown. It was very nice too and we were just finishing when Mark arrived.

We took a taxi to Jurong Park – it was quite a way but, to be fair nothing there is further than a 25 minute cab ride away.

We bought joint tickets for the Bird Park and zoo because we were already booked for ‘Breakfast with the Orang utans’ on Thursday and there were discounts to be had if you bought the ticket both both venues.

The first show was about to start in the main arena and I have never seen anything like it in my life….

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It was amazing to watch birds collect and deliver notes among the audience

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and even fly through rice paper hoops!

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The announcer was putting them all through their paces and they were flying in from all areas of the arena

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and out again to just where we were sitting!!!

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Jurong is a breeding park and the habitat is all natural for the birds with plants grown to feed them. So the majority of it was a rain forest setting and the humidity was stifling.

But the flamingoes were gorgeous..

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and  little fellas like this were everywhere we went

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The penguins were quite happy – well they were in cool water!

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This area was really beautiful and quite refreshing to be near with the spray from the waterfall

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But then it was back to trekking through the forest and up more steps!!

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Worth every minute though to get up close and personal with the prettiest birds

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We bought food, held out our hands and up they came

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I loved the little guys with the purple heads!

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It reminded me of times with my Mum in Trafalgar Square in London except these were prettier than pigeons!

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The Hornbills at the park were part of a breeding project and the nesting boxes had cameras inside – there was an area where we could watch the new chicks on screens.

The notices around the park were obviously meant for the school visits but they helped tremendously by explaining that by creating this natural habitat it could produce the food to maintain the birds, and the birds spread the seed to make more grow.

This was just one of the many plant projects to help threatened species avoid extinction.

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It really was fascinating but more than humid – I think we were all melting.

We left around 3.30 and made our way back to the hotel for showers and to get ready for the evening: cocktails in The Asia Bar of The Swiss Hotel seventy (yes 70) floors up with views overlooking Singpore!!!!

 

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