Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Singapore, Day 7 - I, Japanese Gardens

The next morning I went to the Deli France for a cappuccino and an apricot turnover. Yum! Then I walked to the Orchard Street MRT Station. The Metro was just like the one in Washington, DC, clean, modern and efficient (see picture). The ticket to the Chinese/Japanese Gardens was S$1.40. The ride took 30 minutes and I was already really hot. Getting out of the train, I put my hat on.

I bought a ticket for S$4.50 and went to the Japanese Gardens first. The garden was already filled with workers sweeping the walks, raking the lawns and pruning the shrubs and trees. There was a pink lotus pond that seemed past bloom. Across the pond I saw an iridescent blue kingfisher with a ruddy belly, which turned out to be a common kingfisher, sitting on a rock. I also saw the most interesting shrub that was both bearing orange berries and pink flowers simultaneously. I would still love to know what it is.

The river water was reddish brown from all of the monsoon rain. On the water, I noticed a brightly colored red motorized paddle boat with the prow already filled with cut boughs and another little flat bottomed boat with a man with a very long saw pruning trees overhanging the water.

The garden signage impressed me the most. Characters were carved deep into rock that had been placed as if it had been there naturally for thousands of years and then the inside of the grooves were painted in red. Compare that to the dreadfully cheap signage here in the US or anywhere else for that matter.

Smaller bridges were formed from simple broad planks of hard woods then artfully placed and naturally littered with pine needles. Other paths and bridges were of huge slabs of stone, again artfully placed and worn to look like they had been there for thousands of years.

Arched wooden bridges were carefully built and painted red; very Japanese.

There was also a beautiful pavilion housing large colorful paper lanterns from a festival I supposed (see below). One large pond, over which the pavilion looked, was filled with native fish and turtles, so I threw in some of my apple to see if there were any koi. There were three reddish koi and one yellow. They were all thin and pathetic as if they were competed out by the native fish.

Each inidvidual aspect of the garden was very special. Overall the garden was simple, elegant and serene. I spent quite a bit of time there and didn’t really want to leave. I must admit that I sat and meditated a while. (If not in a Zen garden then where?)

Then, reluctantly, I decided to cross the 65 meter (71 yard) bridge to the Chinese Garden.


Anonymous said...

Best regards from NY! »

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