Monday, April 04, 2016

Singapore to Australia

Singapore was a layover destination, on our way to Australia, but it allowed us to check another country off our list and to experience a new and wonderful place, if only briefly. We arrived in the middle of the day, the day before yesterday. Our landlord picked us up at the airport and drove us to the fabulous apartment we had rented for the night. We spent most of the afternoon enjoying the resort-like atmosphere of the beautiful pool. Later, we went out for some local fare at a type of food court across the street. Everything was truly delicious!

Looking for something to fill our time and a way to keep from having to carry our bags around all day while waiting on transport from one place to another (a fairly familiar story for us), we made a plan to spend the day at the Singapore Zoo. We started the day with the Jungle Breakfast, which was one of the most spectacular breakfast buffets I have ever taken part in. Additionally, a handful of orangutans and a ball python provided the entertainment, much to the kids' delight.

I should tell you that I am normally not a fan of zoos at all. I find most of them very depressing and not terribly interesting, and I generally avoid them at all costs. But, we had heard good things about the Singapore Zoo, and we have young kids, who love all zoos, plus the zoo has lockers, where we planned to store our bags (until our landlord offered to just store them for us). It seemed like a pretty reasonable plan. The Singapore Zoo completely shattered all our preconceived notions of zoos! It was absolutely fabulous! The animals seemed so happy and well cared for, and the enclosures we truly magnificent. Many of the animals have the opportunity to free-range, and it is clear they love their lovely rainforest environment as much as the human visitors do.

In fact, the rainforest environment is so real that we got caught in a torrential rainstorm that soaked us to the bone in a matter of minutes, destroying my phone and watch in the process and requiring each of us to wring out our dripping clothes in the zoo bathroom and undergo a complete wardrobe change once we got to the airport, before we could board our overnight flight. I do not believe I have ever been so wet! However, we didn't let the rain dampen our spirits but just continued to enjoy our day. Even with the rain and the wrecked electronics, it was a really excellent day.

We flew all night (most of us without sleeping) and arrived in Melbourne this morning before the sun was up. Since we couldn't check into our apartment in Ballarat until 2:00, we took our time driving over and stopped to see a few sights, have some lunch, do some shopping, and play on a humongous playground/nap in the car. The kids all took long naps when we got to the apartment. I think now we are all caught up on our sleep and ready to enjoy our Australian adventures. Incidentally, exiting the plane today means we have now visited six of the seven continents!

Singapore Apartment

The entrance to the lovely Singapore Zoo

Here come the orangutans!

This guy was super excited to have breakfast with the orangutans!

This little friend was full of energy and so fun to watch! 

The other guest at the jungle breakfast was a ball python

Just one station of the expansive and wonderful buffet

Map reader

We loved the sea lion show!

Clay was picked as an audience volunteer during the pet show.
He was amazed every time the little dog jumped through his hoop.

For his participation, Clay was given a frisbee.

One of the zoo's beautiful white tigers

Nothing says "Welcome to Australia" like wild kangaroos throat-punching each other.

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