Singapore Valentine's Day.... / by Mark Boyd

Amy met me at the airport and we grabbed something to eat on the way to my hostel, ditched my bags grabbed one camera and one lens and headed back out.  It was 9pm already.... and I was a little tired.  Amy took me to the main part of the city to show me around.  The buildings all looked great at night.  I'd decided I wanted to try some long exposure shots but without my tripod this meant just getting the camera on the ground.... I played when Amy laughed at me!

A girl sat glued to her iPhone, almost motionless.... Would she remain motionless for 30 seconds?  Not quite.... But I liked this image.

The double helix bridge was an eye catching structure, so much so that there was a wedding shoot going on.  

As I lay on the floor of the bridge I could feel the tremors of people walking.  It was then I realised that capturing any long exposure shots at this time of night could prove difficult due to camera shake.  Once again the general public wondered what the hell I was doing lying belly down on the ground in Singapore.

Amy decided we should head up to one of the best roof top view points in Singapore.... We strode confidently in to the building as if we were staying there, entered the lift with other people heading skyward but then found ourselves stuck when they got at their floor.... Without the residents security card to activate the life there was only one way we were going, and that was down.... We walked around until we found the main 'guests' lift, went up and then joined a line of people awaiting access to the bar and restaurant.  I was drastically under dressed.  The line was full of sassily dressed ladies and smartly dressed chaps.  I was in my travelling clobber and Amy was casual, but smart.  She was okay to enter.  We checked the sign beside the line we had joined... Hmmmmm they were charging around £15.00 for access to the roof top terrace on this particular evening.... We reassessed, discussed, then headed to an alternative rooftop venue.  This time we walked past security as if we had a booking, and fired a few camera shots off from behind the huge windows.....

We then headed in to the restaurant and bar area and grabbed a quick snap of the infinity pool before we were quickly approached, 'Will you be dining with us this evening?'..... RUN!!!!!  Ha ha!  The infinity pool overlooking the city was very impressive but this place wasn't just about the splashing of water, oh no, no, nooooo, here was about splashing the cash!  

 A quick snap of the infinity pool... No tripod... long exposure.... Just to let you see what it's like up there!

A quick snap of the infinity pool... No tripod... long exposure.... Just to let you see what it's like up there!

Amy had another venue in mind, and when we arrived I was quickly and easily convinced to by-pass the official entrance and just zip in between the potted shrubs that stood bordering the concrete roof restaurant and bar.  This was a difficult mission.  The venue had only one table in use, I'd be spotted in a flash.... As I sauntered across the back of the tables to my desired photo point, I was gently approached by the owner who called over to me as he made his pursuit.... 'Maybe you would like to take a photograph from over there.'  He pointed.  Over there didn't have the same angle....

 A different 'Over there'..... Which was kind of nice with the illuminated ferris wheel.

A different 'Over there'..... Which was kind of nice with the illuminated ferris wheel.

Our discussion was brief and repetitive, 'Come on, please, just one picture...' until he eventually rolled his eyes in a disgruntled manner.  I quickly grabbed a couple of 10 second exposures, thanked the grumpy owner and moved on.  It was getting late and I was pretty damn tired.  

Amy was heading off to Vietnam the following day and I desperately needed my bed.  We headed off in opposite directions and before long I was being awakened by the Asian girl sleeping in the bunk below me.  She rolled in to the dormitory room at 1.30am, turned on her 'illuminate the entire room' light, then began sorting her luggage.... The little bunk 'rooms' have access to a small light and a huge light.... Her selection was a tad selfish and her lack of consideration for others in the dormitory was pretty impressive.  I think she was just hugely unaware.  Even when she headed off for an ungodly timed shower, she just left the light on.  During the night I needed the loo, I clambered down my top bunk ladder and stepped straight in to her 'bear trap' suitcase that had been deserted and left open at the bottom of my access point.  Thanks lovely, that was very kind (the following night was a repeat of this one.)

The following morning I rose early to get across Singapore to the zoo for it's 8.30am opening.... It was quite the hike across town taking almost an hour and a half from Little India where my hostel was. The lady in the image below was clearly feeling the chill... Even though I didn't detect one.

I wandered around the various enclosures, enjoying the chance to observe beautiful wild animals in a not so wild, well maintained environment.  

 White cheeked gibbon.... Swinging.... Just swinging is all..... Seemed pretty happy.

White cheeked gibbon.... Swinging.... Just swinging is all..... Seemed pretty happy.

 Proboscis Monkey.... Lots of these guys in Borneo.... 

Proboscis Monkey.... Lots of these guys in Borneo.... 

 Cute Tarsier baby, sooooo tiny peeking over it's mother's shoulder....

Cute Tarsier baby, sooooo tiny peeking over it's mother's shoulder....

 Golden Lion Tamarin, hoped to see one in South America but never did.  Small and beautiful.

Golden Lion Tamarin, hoped to see one in South America but never did.  Small and beautiful.

The little guy below was on a tree outside of any enclosure.... Freeeeeeeeeeeeeedom!!!!!

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The large animals such as the big cats, polar bear and especially the orangutans gave me a sense of huge sadness.  Such huge creatures imprisoned within such small confines.... I think the expression on this orangutans face says it all.... Not like seeing them in the jungle of Borneo or Sumatra....  This guy just looked bored and sad.

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Half an hour later I returned to his enclosure on the way back to the exit.....

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I returned to central Singapore around midday and explored the area.  I ended up at the main expat region.  A little square full of bars, cafes and restaurants.  

I needed to rest, and I also fancied a nice cold beer.  Having been limited to Indonesia's Bintang for the past couple of months I was ready for something a tad better.  I sat down at a little outdoor table.  

It was happy hour.... 50% off!!!  Good heavens!!! That's a proper happy hour I thought to myself.  That was until I perused the drinks menu.  A pint of Hoegaarden beer, an expensive European beer, was........ wait for it....... almost £11.00!  This was quickly justified to myself.  How?  Well my half price £5.50 pint of Belgium's finest brew was now almost certainly cheaper than it would have been in most of the bars in the UK....

The argument for drinking half price Hoegaarden whilst in Singapore became so compelling in fact that I enjoyed another and then even went on to enjoy one more along with a very western style meal!  It was Valentine's evening so I decided that wooing myself with overly priced treats was perfectly acceptable.  This behaviour was of course perfectly acceptable and almost standard practice by most of Western society on the 14th February.  Self born romance is an absolute must for the lonely Valentiner!

The girl sat at the table behind me pushed her chair back with more force than necessary then quickly strode across the square.  Her pace alluded to her upset.  Romance gone wrong?  I turned and looked at the guy in his late twenties, now sat at the table with his beer and her drink....  'Rubbish Valentine's night?' I enquired.  He smiled and waved me over to join him.  His ex-girlfriend decided it would be a great idea to travel together for a few weeks.... Then decided a nice drink on Valentine's night might be nice.  As expected it all went sour.... This very nice French chap went on to explain the difficult situation he found himself in.  I listened... Then we went on to chat and laugh about life and it's little challenges.  As nightfall gently embraced Singapore and darkness cast it's shadow over the city the architecture here blooms in to life.  I informed my new friend that I was off to capture some shots of the city.  He asked if he could join me and I was more than happy to have the company.  We wandered, chatted and laughed whilst I returned to some of the spots I had eyed up with Amy the previous evening.

 The Recently Opened Jubilee Pedestrian Bridge

The Recently Opened Jubilee Pedestrian Bridge

I headed back to my hostel at around 10pm.  I was once again awakened by the noisy Chinese girl and then rose early to catch the MRT monorail to Singapore's International Airport to catch my flight to Taiwan.