Daily Route

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Roaming about town

Have certainly slacked on this blog, but I am still roaming around Singapore on my 3-times-per week walks. Sentosa has changed quite a bit from a year ago, but I'm posting a photo which might well be archival, as this part of the rain forest on the island will disappear soon with the onslaught of the "IR" (a pc term in Singapore for "Casino"). This is one of my favorite walks on the island because it is cool ( i e the temperature!) at any time of the day, and I'm welcomed by cricket calls, bird calls, and unseen squirrels as they scurry out of sight. Who knows what other creatures live here (and soon will be deprived of their habitat). I have seen a magnificent meter-long monitor lizard in another part of the forested area of the island which is now the Amara resort. The greed of man destroys the beauty of nature...alas!

Last Sunday, I ventured into the "heartlands" of Singapore...the HDB (public housing) estate. Don't let the nomenclature fool you. Some of these estates are so beautifully landscaped, you wouldn't think it was "public" housing. I took a bus to Little India station on the NEL line and then from there I took the underground to Sengkang Station, having noted on the map that I could change to the LRT and get off at station 5. When I asked a station employee if I was on the right track (pun intended), he was adamant that I would be better served by a bus.

So I went downstairs to the bus terminal (all the afore-mentioned forms of transport are under one roof) and was surprised t0 find that the terminus was airconditioned and while waiting in line, passengers are protected from exhaust fumes by airtight doors. I've travelled widely, and must say that only in Singapore have I seen this (the other being the Toa Payoh bus terminus..but perhaps there are others that this city mouse has not discovered).

While I was waiting, I was even able to help someone looking for St Anne's church. Now, this was my first time in this area, yet there was a handy map on the wall and not only was I able to locate the church, I was able to advise her, from the map, which bus to take!

The station employee was right, Bus 87 dropped me right in front of Punggol Park. This is the quintessential HDB town park...everything is stiffly designed from the running tracks to the children's playground to where the trees and grass should grow and what shape the pond should be. The photo, taken from the park, shows blocks of HDB flats (apartments) in the background. My first activity was to buy a Singapore-made ice-cream from the ice cream man, who would put the small brick of ice-cream in a piece of soft bread, if requested. I asked for a cone. I walked round the park twice. This took 30 mins. I hopped on another bus to back to the terminus and this time I noticed that the building not only housed the 3 different means of transport, but there were also flats above the terminus!
That day I felt like a tourist in my own country!
PS: HDB=Housing Development Board, NEL=North-East Line, LRT=Light Rail Transit


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