Friday, January 4, 2008

Chapter 3: The Trip (Day 3 - Jurong Bird Park, Snow City)

Before I begin, I have to tell you that you might be overdosed with pictures of Singapore roads, vehicles plying and general infrastructure. I just couldn’t help it, its so beautiful. Oh yea, I saw a Lamborghini, Alfa-Romeo, Jaguar up close and personal.

Back to the tour, Jurong Bird Park was like 15 Mins from my hotel, while we were driving, the driver suggested we definitely go to the Science Center and Snow City, we were intrigued already. Now the Jurong Bird Park is like paradise (see the pictures), I have never so much greenery, forests and the thousands of bird species all at one place. The tickets are $ 22 SGP per Adult for Admission + Panaroma Rail and $ 18 SGP for Admission only. We took the former but the ride was not useful, I suggest you take the latter and walk through their park instead, if you plan on taking pictures of the setting or the birds

First stop was at Penguin Expedition, the penguins looked amazing in their natural setting. They were swimming, singining, and watching the visitors enjoying their play. Pretty good. You can see the video. Next we stopped to pose with the beautiful Macaws for a picture op. $ 5 SGP per person (if it is your camera) $ 10 SGP, if not.

Now we headed to the Panaroma rail and though it took us all around the park and gave us good scenic views, it was not possible to take good pictures at that speed and from inside the glass cabin windows. We got down and headed to the Pools Amphitheater. Now they have different bird shows every hour, we caught up with two of them. Man, I thought the dolphins were smart animals after my visit to Sentosa but these birds are one notch higher, one of them actually sang the verse…“We wish you a very Merry X’Mas and a Happy New Year”. She also introduced herself, Amina.

Next, we strolled along the park and checked out the longest man-made waterfall in the world, Waterfall Aviary. It was breathtaking to say the least. You have to just close your eyes and take it all in. Well apart from that we just hung around in different sections and took pictures of different species of birds, you can see them all in the pictures.

I got myself a souvenir t-shirt from the Park and headed to the Snow City. Now I have personally heard very little of the place (not even on their official Web site) but as it turned out, it was a complete oh-my-god-moment, as we stepped in. You basically have a hughe enclosure encapsulated with snow (artificial) and the temperature is -4 degree Celsius. When you buy the tickets ($ 12 SGP per Adult for an hour), they ask you if you wearing snow gear like tracks, gloves and jackets. Obviously, you don’t so they rent it out for you and then starts the fun. Don’t bother to take any gear, they have everything (of course bring your money)

Inside the enclosure, thers a hughe snow slide, a fake Igloo, fake snow all around, even reindeers riding. Well you get to be a kid all over again, sliding through the high slope was fun and of course throwing snow at anyone you can find in the striking range. Photography is not allowed and they have official photographers who will take your pictures and later put them in a postcard and hand it out to you. $ 15 SGP per picture postcard, if your order more than 5 copies, it comes to $ 10 SGP per picture postcard. Phew!! what a welcome relief from the heat outside.

We headed to the hotel and had lunch at an Oriental Restaurant and then proceeded to the DHL Hot Air Balloon, they said the weather was not looking good and the trip may be delayed and sure enough it started raining in a few minutes (have heard of accurate weather forecasting in your country ???). So we headed out to our final destination for the day, Mustafa Shopping Center in Little India. Now ladies and gentlemen this is where every Asian shops for EVERYTHING. Not many Westerners here, one of the reasons I think is the crowd, phew!! very difficult to navigate

Now let me give a Disclaimer to all you shopping wannabes, no matter what you heard of this place, this place is NOT CHEAP at least for your daily wear. There are other things you may find cheap but really it was about the choices more than the price. The choices are overwhelming and so even if you were to go looking for cheaper items to buy, you would scour all day and still not be able to find it. You will finally feel like the exercise is futile and end up buying items with their price tags. Of course, no bargaining here. All items bought in Singapore attract a 7% GST (Goods and Services Tax). You can claim this at the Airport Customs Counter when you leave, check this out.

That’s about it, retired for the day, had dinner and crashed in the bed. Today is the last day of the year and New Years celebration, as you can imagine is going to be HUGHEEEEEE across this country. You have beach parties, club parties, mall parties, hotel parties and the list just goes on….you can see their ads across the street, choose the one you think suits your taste. I chose the one basis open fresh air to breathe (coz the crowds are going to be crazy) and display of fireworks in the sky besides the waterfront; it is the Marina City Park. Also, its free. No other plans during the day, just chill by the poolside, sleep and take enough rest and then look forward to welcome the New Year, 2008. Ciao.

Pictures of Day 3:

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