Last night I met Dean after work and we went for a visit to see Raffles. All very sumptuous. We explored the gardens and outside of the shops and if I am rich enough on my return I might go there for high tea. We had dinner at a food hall by a suburban bus interchange, and the whole place was very busy. Why cook when you can get a great meal for $3?
Saw some workers going home on the back of a truck. Seemed very third world for Singapore. Dean told me they would probably be Bangladeshis and would have very poor living conditions but would save enough to go home with a TV, DVD player etc. This morning as we left to have breakfast in the local food hall, a smiling young woman greeted us. Dean says she is a maid in an apartment nearby. She works long hours seven days a week. He has seen her lugging two heavy buckets of water downstairs very early to clean the car. He says she is Filipino and will go home with enough to set herself up with a small business, but the maids have 3-4 hard years before that. As we passed another apartment block he pointed out where another maid fell to her death recently while cleaning windows. It is a problem that maids are sometimes asked to do very dangerous jobs.
Anyhow Singapore Zoo was my destination of choice today. I had memories of the open style of zoo from my younger days. I caught the MRT to Choa Chu Kang as Dean suggested (not the usual route for tourists, mostly coming from more central places.) I then had to check the bus number at passenger services and the young woman seemed excited to have guessed I wanted the Zoo and had the bus number ready for me! (927). The bus journey passed through by lot of very green tropical foliage. All those pictures we tend to see of Singapore full of high rises don't really tell the story of how much greenery there actually is here.
The Zoo was great. Lots of different primates. Some small some large. Huge number of baboons with fascinating social behaviour. It started to rain about 11.15 as I was heading to a show about working elephants. It meant it never got nearly as hot as yesterday: periodic drizzle seemed to cool the place down. Good time to visit. Quite a few school kids in groups but not crowded at all. Interesting to contrast the crocodile lines of mostly Chinese primary aged children in uniform, just with their normal teachers it seemed. Contrasted with the Singapore American School children who seemed to be there in small groups of about three children to an adult.
I spent much longer exploring the Zoo than I had expected then headed into town. Couldn't work out how to get to the interchange of the bus from the Zoo and was helped by three lovely young women from Bali who are training here. People here always seem very happy to help.
Now, need to stop here and am heading off to meet Dean to go to Clarke Quay for dinner. Love all these food halls!