A long weekend for Idul Adha gave us the chance to go to Singapore, flying business class on Lufhansa using the tickets I won in a raffle at the British Chamber of Commerce earlier this summer. The trip didn’t start well as I got caught in a torrential rain storm on the way to catch the airport bus in Bogor, slip and fell, getting completely soaked and breaking my umbrella in the process! Luckily Andy had secured one of the drivers from the office (unfortunately not before I’d gone to the bus station) to take us to the airport instead of risking getting stuck on the bus in traffic chaos in the rain. In the end, it was a smooth journey through Jakarta and we arrived with plenty of time for a change of clothes and to enjoy the business class lounge.
Singapore is great – a contrast to the congestion, pollution and crumbling infrastructure of Jakarta and the provincial feel of Bogor. We are not big on department store and designer shopping, so Orchard Road is was not a big appeal but seeing the Christmas lights got us feeling a bit more seasonal. The main attraction was Little India, which is a great and lively neighborhood with wonderful, cheap food and cold beers to drink at streetside cafes. We ate a lot of Dosai and vegetarian curry thalis (platters). We walked a lot (Chinatown, colonial district, downtown) and another great discovery was the microbrewery (Brewerks), which is in a great location on Clarke Quay and provides the opportunity to sit outside in the afternoon and drink lots of beers; very civillised.
Andy left on the Monday and I stayed an extra night to visit the Singapore Botanic Garden and National Herbarium with the idea of tracking down some Eucalyptus for my research project. The Garden is amazing – it has a fabulous orchid collection and covers a vast area filled with wonderful plants in landscaped gardens. And it’s free, as all gardens, museums and other national institutions should surely be.[nggallery id=1]