Wet, Green and Heat

Today we had our first official activity as a group for the study tour, although it was a more leisurely thing. Certainly couldn’t complain about the wake-up time, we were to meet at the Starbucks at 10am, which is 12pm Australian time which is the time zone my body was in and am trying to keep it in so as to avoid feeling sleepy in the mornings by the time I need to get out of bed. Received the very welcome surprise of the first tropical rain I have ever seen outside of Australia. It very quickly went from a light drizzle to a thick, heavy rain with thunderstorms in a matter of minutes. At the bus stop I was impressed to see not one but four bins, one for rubbish and three different types of recycling bins, clearly a country that takes pride in its cleanliness and environmental sustainability, as also indicated by the sign about how environmentally friendly the National University of Singapore is. Had my first experience of public transport in Singapore today, and I must say I am impressed, every bus and train runs flawlessly on time give or take 1 or 2 minutes at maximum, the public transport cards we use to touch on and touch off at the train stations are WAY better than the Myki cards back at home, here the cards touch on virtually instantaneously, unlike the several seconds you have to hold the card to sensor when using Myki, and perhaps the biggest and most impressive feature was the fact that the trains do not have a driver, they are completely computerized and automated, this is definitely the sort of public transport system I hope for Australia to have in the coming years. Was rather
disheartened when we came back out from the underground railway to find ourselves in direct sunlight and that all the storm clouds had all but disappeared in but a few minutes and we were back to sweating like pigs in the scorching heat and very high humidity. As we walked through the city to the Marina Bay we came across the Merlion, one of Singapore’s prized artistic features. The bridge we used to cross the bay was incredible, it was built in the shape of the double helix of DNA, complete with lettered tiles for the base pairs, once again showing off Singapore’s flair and passion for science. We spent the majority of the day at the Marina Bay Gardens, which were truly impressive and very beautiful, the two glasshouses were filled with exotic plants from all around the world, one of them featuring it’s own artificial waterfall, and had an exhibit of stalagmites and stalactites and geodes inside of its central structure, on the bottom floor of which was a room dedicated to actively providing information on climate change, another clear sign of this country’s awareness of its impact on the environment and interest in protecting it. All in all a very eye-opening experience, was a good day (besides the heat of course)