We went for a walk in Singapore yesterday. We strolled to the end of our street and crossed over the road and into a park. At the end of the parking lot was a trail that we followed for about 3 kilometers through the bush. I am constantly surprised by the bush in this part of the world. I am always expecting to be assaulted by mosquitos and other flying insects. Instead, the air is invariably sweet with the smell of orchids and bug-less.

After three klicks we came to a ranger station, with decent toilets and a map of the area. After a brief rest to rehydrate, we pushed on another kilometer until we came to cable suspension bridge, the object of our journey. There was an attendant on duty to make sure that not too many people were on the bridge at one time, but there was not much traffic and we began somewhat tentatively, but with increasing confidence as we realized that this bridge, like everything in this city, was built to Singapore’s high standards.

From the centre of the bridge, a hundred feet or more above the valley below, we could see miles in all directions. There wasn’t a building in sight. Here in the middle of one the most congested cities on earth was a wilderness park of quite stunning magnitude (I regret to inform our friends and family in northern latitudes, that it was all a verdant green, with a lovely warm breeze).

We continued our walk on the other side on steps and a boardwalk designed to preserve the fragile ecosystem. We heard some birds and saw a lizard or two and the inevitable monkeys of course, but no anteaters or aardvarks. A long circle through the bush took us back to the park and a rest at our temporary home. I hadn’t given my feet such a workout in a long time and they badly needed some ice.

Suitably refreshed, we caught the 166 bus to St. Andrews in downtown Singapore to check the time for their Christmas service, then pushed on the the Esplanade (known locally as the ‘Durians’ for their spiky appearance) for one of their courtyard concerts; a delightful chorale with excellent diction (not easy for Asians!) and pitch perfect harmonies. After the concert we went up to the roof to take in the views of Marina Bay and the sparkling new Sands Hotel, then grabbed some pub food and a bus back home. It is that eclectic mix of the pristine and the glitzy that make Singapore such a lively place. Looking forward to the next week.

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