Singapore Day 1: Botanical Gardens!

We left the hotel pretty early - around 7:00 AM - and went off in search of a coffee shop or somewhere similar where we could just hang out and kill time until we could check in to the hotel. We started out looking for something local, but ended up at Starbucks. Hey, they had free Wi-Fi. And muffins. So not particularly exotic. Grace passed out in the cushy seat after our snack while I scoured the internet for ideas on what to do during our visit. I also studied the map we picked up at the airport. I was really surprised (and pleased) that is was not your regular tourist map where it just highlights the establishments that pay to advertise. It was actually very good.

Anyway, after Starbucks we wandered around various malls containing stores that weren't open yet (we were in the Bugis neighborhood). We spotted a Uniqlo, which Grace found very exciting. Turns out it was the first of perhaps a dozen, but we didn't know that yet.

Closed malls got boring rather quickly, so we went back to the hotel to see if our room was ready. It wasn't, so we decided to head to the botanical gardens (actually referred to as botanic in Singapore). This was the decisions we should have made from the very beginning. They were absolutely gorgeous and very peaceful. Definitely would have been a good idea to just go there and nap for a couple hours.

We explored a decent portion of the gardens, including the National Orchid Garden (the only part of the gardens for which you have to pay), but definitely didn't get to see all of them. I took a bunch of pictures, but either I'm bad at floral photography or flowers just don't tend to make the most compelling subjects. Still, I'll share a few shots.

Okay, that was more than a few. I misremembered how pretty some of the flowers were. We also saw a neat fountain, which is going to give me the opportunity to try embedding some video. We're getting fancy here, folks.

I know what you are all thinking. Flowers are pretty and all, and so are fountains, but boooooring. I hear you. You know what's not boring? A frickin' DRAGON! How about that!? On our way out of the park we saw a Komodo Dragon. Not in a cage or enclosure or anything, just wandering around to the side of the path. Unfortunately (or fortunately, if you ask Grace), he was pretty wary of us which made it hard to get a good picture. I was also hesitant to leave the path in case severe fines and a public caning would immediately follow. I got a maybe one that wasn't completely terrible, though, along with a video of him cruising around.

He's right at the bottom edge of the ferns. Darn camouflage.

He's right at the bottom edge of the ferns. Darn camouflage.

Okay that video quality came out pretty bad. I promise improvements in future.

After spending entirely too little time (read way, way too much time) watching the Komodo Dragon, we continued the rest of the way out of the gardens and searched for a cab back to the hotel. Unfortunately, this guy didn't offer us a ride:

The rest of the day was pretty unremarkable. We were wiped out from our time in the gardens (and barely sleeping on the plane the night before) so just crashed at the hotel for the afternoon.

Dinner was awesome. We tried to go to artichoke, but they were completely booked, so we made a reservation for the next day and ended up eating at Herbivore, which was ostensibly a Japanese vegetarian restaurant but had a lot of meat on the menu. Not sure what was going on there, but any time Unagi is in play I don't ask questions.