30 Jul 2019

All change in Singapore

I first visited Singapore in 1974 on a business trip. I took a little Olympus Pen half frame camera which was loaded with Kodachrome. I have had a search but cannot find the slides which is a pity. I know that they are somewhere. So many photos, so little system.They would show a very different city to the one I visited two weeks ago.  I was a timid photographer back then so the slides don't show the cargo being unloaded from junks and lighters on a quay right in the heart of the city or the coolies pulling carts overloaded with goods and the shophouses-shop downstairs,house upstairs-the streets full of bicycles, British cars and the ancient Leyland buses putting out clouds of diesel fumes. Nor did I photograph the expats -predominantly British- who were still very visible running the trading houses, banks and other institutions back then. They all went back "home" long ago.
Today Singapore is a model, modern city/state  - just don't mention democracy, free speech or the death penalty.
Some enclaves of old Singapore remain preserved -saved from the wrecking ball-often at the last minute. Land reclamation around the mouth of the river has changed the shape of the city. The Merlion statue, the national symbol, still stands on the quay but all around it has changed and whilst I was a solitary tourist photographing it on a Sunday morning in 1974 on my recent visit there were crowds of tourists from all around the world taking photographs.

22 Jul 2019

Gardens by the Bay-Singapore

The two conservatories- Cloud Forest on left. Flower Dome on right.

Singapore's leading tourist attraction is deservedly the spectacular Gardens by the Bay built on reclaimed land in Marina Bay.

The best description of the Gardens is on their

"A national garden and premier horticultural attraction for local and international visitors, Gardens by the Bay is a showpiece of horticulture and garden artistry that presents the plant kingdom in a whole new way, entertaining while educating visitors with plants seldom seen in this part of the world, ranging from species in cool, temperate climates to tropical forests and habitats.
 Bay South, the largest of the three gardens, opened in 2012. With its award-winning cooled conservatories and iconic Supertrees, Bay South has placed Singapore squarely on the international map and is a source of national pride. Within Flower Dome, the ever-changing floral displays including crowd favourites such as Tulipmania, Orchid Extravaganza and Blossom Beats bring the beauty and diversity of the plant kingdom to life for all to enjoy.  

Bay East, the second largest, offers a tranquil respite from the bustling city and a stunning view of the Singapore skyline even as it unfolds over the next century. This green space is open to the public and has immense potential for future development as a waterfront garden.
Bay Central is the garden which will serve as a link between Bay South to Bay East when developed, with a 3km waterfront promenade boasting stunning views of the city."

We visited the gardens on our first day in Singapore and as it was very hot and humid we only ventured into the two amazing conservatory domes-Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome-see photo above taken through tinted glass from the Singapore Flyer-the world's largest observation wheel.
Hopefully on a future visit we will be able to see more of the outside gardens and if it is not too hot venture on the Skywalk around the mushroom shaped structires on far right of photo above.

Inside Flower Dome

19 Jul 2019

Faces of Singapore

Chef's smoko
Just back this morning from a 5 night stay in Singapore for my birthday. It was great. It's been about 4 years since I spent time in the city of Singapore as opposed to transiting through the world's most amazing airport -Changi. Singapore changes continuously and it seems even more affluent each time I visit. It's not difficult to see why the book and the excellent film "Crazy Rich Asians " were set in Singapore.
The only low spot was the flight on British Airways. Mediocre does not begin to describe it. Definitely not the world's favourite airline today.
Of course I took a camera and came back with a few photos of smiling Singaporeans. I spotted the two happy chefs having a smoking break down a back alley in Chinatown.
The little girl below was posing for her parents on one of the wall murals also in Chinatown.

The happy selfie shooters posed for me in the shop at the Gardens by the Bay-now Singapore's biggest tourist attraction and rightly so.
Finally below this very happy group are the door staff at the Capital Kempinski Hotel. They really seemed to enjoy their work.

All photo taken with my Leica Q which seemed to get heavier every day in the heat and humidity.

6 Jul 2019

Over the hills and far away...

Morning stop north of Dungog.

The last three days I have been on the now annual, classic Porsche group road trip into northern New South Wales. This is the fourth running of the road trip. I have been on three-missing one in 2017 due to being in hospital . This year the unofficial "club" has expanded to 5- all with very similar early 70's longnose 911s.
The company was, as always, great. The roads were generally superb and so empty. Surely some of the best driving roads in Australia?
All the cars behaved themselves. Mine had a new clutch, new rear shockers and new seat belts for the trip and was going better than it has ever done since I owned it. Thank you Simon and the team at Autowerks.
The weather was not fully cooperative - rain squalls, low cloud and patches of sunshine, particularly over the Great Dividing Range, but we all drove safely and quickly on some very slippery mountain roads and lived to tell the tale and drink some excellent Pinot Noir on the last evening.

Peas out of a pod. Lunch stop Buladelah

Justin, interloper from Victoria.

Following Ash on the road north from Bellingen

Coffee stop at very cold Ebor in the middle of nowhere. L to R Craig,Colin,Justin and Ash.

Having a silver car is not compulsory

Frosty the snowman

My car at home among the gum trees

A great colour choice Justin.

From the front Craig's,Colin's,Justin's, mine and Ash's

A very wet Long Flat at the bottom of the mountain.