It has taken me three visits to work out why I struggle in Singapore, but I think I've got it now. It's a city in which it almost impossible to find somewhere to think. There are museums, and parks, but still it feels as if the city wants me to spend money and if I'm not doing that I'm wasting my time. It wants me to be reactive - while I want to be reflective. Which is why we don't do well together.
Having said that, Singapore does what it does very well. For instance, there's not one broken light bulb on this bridge:
And not all the shopping is in air-conditioned shopping malls - I love the markets in Chinatown, with their sacks of nuts and spices, traders calling their wares, street food wafting tantalising smells on the corners.
Can you guess what these are? (The answer is at the bottom of this blog)
In my efforts to escape from the razzmatazz, I went to the Gardens by the Bay. They are accessed through a shopping mall and a swish hotel, but once you are there the grounds are lovely and there are some reclusive corners that are free!!
And there are two main 'domes' - the construction recognisable to anyone who has been to the Eden Project in Cornwall. The Flower Dome weaves flowers from the Mediterranean, deserts and the Far East with Chinese decorations - it is all a bit over the top but the colours are lovely.
The Cloud Dome replicates the flora of a Cloud Forest. Visitors are whisked up 100 feet, and then wander down a walkway that winds down a central structure covered with plants from high in the South American mountains. It's impossible to capture the size of it all - but this will give you an idea. And it finished with a film about climate change and how we all need to conserve resources, which felt a bit contradictory to me in the light of Singapore's commitment to consumerism.
And hidden among all the greenery are wooden statues and totems. I'm afraid these two made me laugh as I had a sudden image of them peeing in the bushes. Oh well, there are worse ways to misbehave.
(And on the stall in the Chinese market - they are jams!)