The Botanic Gardens and Little India
Singapore Travel Blog› entry 82 of 174 › view all entries
December 4th, 2009 – by: domnicella
I took the subway to Orchard Road and walked to the gardens from there. It didnâ€™t look very far on the map, nor was there a nearer station. Dear god was that a schlep. It was early -- just after 8am (Iâ€™ve been told by many that the garden is at its prime in the morning, and to be sure to get a jump start) -- but the sun was already out in full force. It was freaking HOT. Block after block after block -- it was never ending.
I have to say, my first impression of the gardens was â€śthis is it?â€ť I mean sure, itâ€™s a nice garden. But itâ€™s just a bunch of manicured lawns and palm trees and tropical plants. I suppose if you hail from North Dakota thatâ€™s cool, but it was pretty underwhelming to me. I was all â€śwhatâ€™s the big deal, we have this stuff at home.â€ť Those sentiments stopped at the orchid garden.
The orchid garden is sublime.
Initially I had thought Iâ€™d walk back along Orchard Road and maybe do a little shopping, but seeing as it turned out to be such a haul there was no way I was doing that again.
From the temples I walked down to the Banana Leaf Apollo, a restaurant recommended by the guidebook. Banana Leaf Apollo is supposedly known for its fish head curry, but thanks to the pictures included in the menu I was able to confirm that the dish was in fact exactly as it sounded: a massive fish head staring up at you. Um, no thank you. So I had some other chili fish sort of thing, as the waiter suggested, with discrete chunks of white meat not resembling any sort of dead animal.
So the food comes, and the different dishes are spread out around what I perceived to be my placemat, and not directly on it, in front of me, as would normally be the case. Off the food runner scampers and I grab the dishes and put them in front of me and start chowing down. Back the food runner comes, this time with a massive vat of rice. Rice? Yes please, sign me up. So the dishes get moved back to where they had been initially placed, and heaps of rice dolled out directly onto my banana leaf. Oh. Iâ€™m supposed to eat off this thing. The restaurant is, after all, called BANANA LEAF.
From lunch I wandered a bit more through Little India, but the sky turned black and thunder started to rumble, and before I knew it I was being heartily rained on. I didnâ€™t scope out as much as Iâ€™d wanted to, but I did check out the recommended market and again, having just spent five weeks in China, found myself a bit marketed out. (I canâ€™t begin to tell you how disheartening it is to realize that EVERYTHING is made in China. Consumerism is ruined for me. Which is probably a good thing.) I imagine Little India is a good place to visit with a local, or at least an ex-pat who knows the area well. Iâ€™d like to see some of the more unique temples, and check out better eateries. Perhaps in the days to come.
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