Central Park it ain't, but ---

Fort Canning Park has several strikes working against it. For starters, Singapore is a tropical country, which means the idea of rambling in the park doesn't quite carry the same fresh, invigorating feel one might get in Central Park in the spring or St James's Park in the summer. Also, when the weather --- not to mention the humidity --- is largely the same all year round, one is less appreciative of fresh greenery and the insects that come with it. Lastly (though this verges on stating the obvious), because Fort Canning Park resides atop the only remaining hill in downtown Singapore, getting there requires something of an uphill climb, which, together with the aforementioned weather, might put off all but the most spirited or enthusiastic of park ramblers.

I've walked through the park recently, with my boss as we cut from the National Archives back to the office at UE Square. I'd originally suggested a cab but he enjoys walking off his lunch, so off we went.

Yesterday, on my own, I was coming back from Funan Centre and decided that it would be more pleasant to cut through the park than to take my usual route along River Valley Road. Of course, to get to the park, one first has to scale about 100 steep steps (I forgot to count) beside the MICA building.

Coming out of the ground

Other than a man snoozing by the top of the stairs, I didn't see or hear a single other soul as I passed through the park. Yet it's impossible to totally escape the sounds of the city. Muffled but pervasive, they followed me through the park: the thrum of road traffic, the occasional thumping of a horn, the sense that an important busyness was occupying everyone in the city down there, while I, the slacker, wended indulgently down brick paths and chipped concrete stairs.

14th century walk in 21st century Singapore My very first unripe durian

But lo, I wasn't the only one. At the Clemenceau Avenue side of the park, two blonde, bikini-ed women sprawled on a mat, lapping up the late afternoon sun as if it was Sheep Meadow in the summer. I thought about taking a picture, but then I thought it might also be rude, even though I was out of their sight. I'm guessing this was their car, though, because the only other car was a sensible Toyota Corolla or some such sedan, and it had a driver reading the newspaper in it.

Yesterday's car, today's parking charges

Then it was back to the office, and back to work.


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At 6/18/2006 11:43 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow. i never thought i'd WANT to go up there for a walk...but now i just might :)


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