Pretty evil out there!

Last week I was transiting through Singapore, and wanted to use my time better than simply lounging about Vaishnavi’s house, watching meaningless TV. Gardens by the Bay has been on my wish list for a while, so why not?

Singapore manages to do this so well – a perfectly ‘organised’ forest, not a twig out of place! We explored the Cloud Dome which apparently replicates the flora of cloud forests. Starting at the top, where you can see some seriously creepy carnivorous plants like the Venus fly-catcher, you work your way down. Somehow I found most of the plants or their arrangements scary evil!

If you look through spooky glasses, even the most innocuous ferns look like a trap. And beautiful flowers bleeding their guts out. 

Then some simple ones are such a relief!

Oh no! NOT this one!

Cloud Dome

 

It being Singapore, there was not one creepy crawly insect visible in this ‘forest’. I wonder if they have staff to go feed these Venuses and pitcher creatures?

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Masterpiece!

Spent a perfectly good day in Singapore, working on my work permit. Well actually, the work was done by someone else, I just had to hand over some stuff. But any reason is a good excuse to hop over to Singapore, and catch up with two of my best friends.

Vaishnavi and I had a soul-satisfying morning, admiring an art exhibition called Dreams and Reality at the National Museum, which was a collection normally displayed at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

In our own uneducated way, we went around, admiring each painting – Vaish looking for inspiration , me simply looking. Spellbound, awestruck, I run out of words to describe my feelings. Most of the big names were there, and we learnt why they are so big. My photography doesn’t do justice to the beauty of the paintings, blame it on camera shake out of nervousness, standing in the presence of masterpieces!

The quirky pepper display outside the museum

The Knights of the Flowers, Georges Rochegrosse:
The Birth of Venus, Alexandre Cabanel:
The Dubourg Family, Henri Fantin-Latour:
Young woman on the beach, Philip Wilson Steer:
Boats: Regatta at Argenteuil, Claude Monet:
The Cardplayers, Paul Cezanne:
Georges Clemenceau, Eduard Manet:
Rocks near the caves above the Black Castle, Paul Cezanne:
The End of Autumn or The Blind, Eugene Laermans:
Camille Monet on her deathbed, Claude Monet:
The improvised field hospital (portrait of Claude Monet), Frédéric Bazille:
Couldn’t take my eyes off this one – Starry Night, Vincent Van Gogh

Singapore Swing

We had to dash off to Singapore for processing our work permit (don’t ask why), so we clubbed it with the weekend, because it’s our favourite place to visit, with some of our best friends, lots of crazy action planned, and great food.

Suman fed our cycling hunger with a ride along East Coast Road, and Vaishnavi offered to replenish our nutrients with a brunch spread. Both were magnificent. Souvik the Ironman chose to run AND cycle. Great weather, great atmosphere along the coast, and we cycled all the way to Changi airport to be dazzled by very professional cyclists, fancy zippy cars out for a spin, and the roar of aircraft taking off alongside.

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Yshe outdid herself on the brunch, with a lot of help from Aunty, and we did full justice:

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Amidst all the excitement, I left my camera there, and Yshe returned it later with her ‘artistic’ stamp all over it, giving us a peek into Virinchi’s playful side.

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The crowning glory of our visit to Singapore was the Van Gogh and Dali exhibitions at the ArtScience Museum. Dali was fun, and Van Gogh Alive was an awesome, delightful experience.

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On the topic of flowers . . .

The joy of fresh flowers at home every week reminds me of the orchids in Singapore, particularly at the National Orchid Garden. Been there a couple of times now, and still not tired of it. I read somewhere that orchids are ‘styled’ to deceive the insects into helping them reproduce. The varieties of orchid are mind-boggling:

There are also some great features like the mist room to keep the tour interesting:

As well as orchid dedications, depending on the flavour of the season:

And if the colour’s too much, there’s some greenery, to keep your eyes cool:

A decadent weekend

I carried a DVD of Kites to Singapore, so that Suman & I could watch it together, in spite of ALL our friends trying to talk us out of it. Turns out, the negative reviews were actually correct this time, and we were sorely disappointed in the performance of Hrithik Roshan. We spent the rest of the Singapore visit (as per Suman’s smart observation) catching up on the work of his dad instead – Khoobsurat and Khatta Meetha. Both these movies had no ‘style’ but plenty of substance, great storylines, and sweet performances all around.

During the day, we spared no time going through scores of shops admiring gizmos, trying out clothes, and eating to our hearts’ content. Italian, Tamilian, Bombaiyya, home-cooked, coffees, chais, cake, sandwiches, the list goes on and on . . . plus, all the gossip from Yshe giving us plenty of food for thought . . . time to hit the gym with a vengeance, ‘coz I don’t think the sport of window shopping could have burnt all the calories we piled on.

Every trip to Singapore has to have a new adventure or experience for me, and this time it was the view from the terrace of Marina Bay Sands, or should I say, the Skypark, which is the newest tourist spot with awesome views of the sunset, and the city lit up at night.

But the highlight of this trip was the girls-only dinner we had at OSO – good food, great company, and many promises to keep doing this!

Laziest ever!

It’s been a day and a half in Singapore, and being a little under the weather, I decided to take it easy. Suman made delicious salad and pasta the night before (a first for Suman – is she inspired by Gordon Ramsay’s call to women into the kitchen?). We swapped our e-book gadgets to catch up on the other’s reading materials (er…chick lit) over the next few days.
When Suman left for work yesterday, I was treated to a yummy lunch of ghee pongal and pumpkin chutney by Vaishnavi’s mom, and Yshe’s entertaining company. Suman got home sinful flavors of ice-cream, which we devoured while pretending to watch Kites – the most boring, contrived movie of this year. In between mealtimes, I did nothing meaningful.
I have a big and complex shopping list to complete, which I should attack on the weekend. The weather has turned stormy, perfect for some coffee and books!

Off to Singapore

Over this year, Singapore has become a second home for me, with the number of times I have piled on to my friend, Suman. It’s a great place to wander around on your own, go crazy window-shopping, eat all the (South Indian) food I’m missing in Hanoi, and, not in the least, catch up with some of my crazy-but-fun friends there. I love to do my grocery shopping in Singapore, mostly because I can find Indian products at good prices, and the Haldiram’s packaged pani puris bring me to my knees (how house-wifey AM I?). I used to detest the Little India shopping scene earlier, but ever since the space-and-crowd and fire safety regulations have been implemented, it’s a much improved place! You can actually see the buildings that are almost as pretty as those in Chinatown. And ever since I’ve got into baking, it’s a pleasure to walk around Holland village and browse the bakeware & cookware shops.

Guess I’ve seen most of the sights of Singapore to write a mini-series, but there’s always something new to explore. It was also fun taking my moms (M & MIL) around when they visited – we squealed and gawked at EVERYTHING! Souvik is always eager to go too, with Borders (for books) and East Coast Road (10K run) beckoning, but what to do – at least ONE of us has to work 😦  and I’m off!

Now the sad part is that Suman is relocating, and we won’t get to meet as often, so this is a sort of ‘farewell’ trip – one last time for me to impose on her hospitality :-D. Whatever the reason, I think we’ll have a blast!