DAY 4: CLOUD FORESTS
Updated: Dec 14, 2019
I’ve never been one to sleep in while on vacation. Perhaps waking up early and having more working hours allows me to feel more productive. As a result, I was always the last to go to bed and the first one up. With this morning as our last at the hostel before checking into the V Hotel Lavender just a little further northeast, I opted to sneak out for one last kopi and kaya toast at Nanyang Old Coffee 南洋老咖啡. Being up at dawn and sitting at a coffee shop with locals was actually quite refreshing. It felt good to have some time to myself to blog/write and slow down instead of having to rush around from attraction to attraction.
With a sigh of relief, the first thing I did upon checking into our room at the hotel was plop down into bed. While the hostel we were staying at wasn’t awful, I did find the mattress to be quite stiff and I did toss and turn a lot more frequently at night. The bed at the hotel was significantly more comfortable and was definitely something I felt was needed in the days leading up to the race. One quirk about the hotel room that I had never seen before, is that the main power to the room was activated by slotting in a room key card. In other words, it was very environmentally friendly as the room’s lights and air conditioning only turned on when someone was in the room.
Because we didn’t get a full breakfast before checking out of the hostel, we promptly dropped off our bags and head back out to Golden Mile food centre where I landed some curry rice that came highly recommended by a food blogger at the Golden Mile Curry Rice hawker stand. The curry was a little spicier than I typically would order but it was full of flavor and the beef was tender but not overcooked. It wasn’t uncommon to find hawker stalls that had food sitting out and ready to be served so we purposely tried to go to the stalls that had a higher turnover rate, ensuring real-time preparation and fresher food. As a big fan of smoothies, I was constantly on the look out for refreshing drinks to accompany a solid meal. At Golden Mile, I stumbled into a little booth that offered something called an Orange Baroca. At first, it seemed like a simple orange and grapefruit juice but interestingly enough (and little to my knowledge) Baroca was an electrolyte tablet of sorts!
After brunch, we set out for the Marina Bay Sands once again but this time to see the botanical garden and newer cloud forest exhibit – the latter of which, proved to be the highlight of the day and one of my personal favorite parts of the week. Tropical rain forests happen all around the world but tend to populate the middle latitudes near the equator where its existence is supported by a perfect combination of the right humidity, moisture and temperature. An even smaller subset of these forests are called Cloud Forests. Cloud forests are rain forests that occupy high altitude climates. This requirements relegates a majority of cloud forests to many Southeast Asian countries. The Cloud Forest exhibit was amazing in that it was essentially a massive educational greenhouse with a myriad of walk-throughs, greenery, waterfalls and even a virtual reality simulator for you to experience what it was like to be – a tree. The entire exhibit focused on the importance and diversity of cloud forests as they represent a very small percentage of rain forests in the world but act as home to an unequally large proportion of animal and plant species. This exhibit truly emphasized the ecological impact that we as humans have on the environment around us and how devastating the effects can be if we do not make adequate changes now. It was truly inspiring to see such wholesale systemic change in a city to encourage a more positive ecological footprint. From minimizing waste, recycling more and the efforts put into education and sustainability, Singapore is truly The Garden City.
Whether to reflect, or watch the sunset, I prefer to take in the sights and sounds of the city at the end of a long day. As the guys took the train back to the hotel, I opted to go by foot. As I slowly shuffled my way through the busy night streets along Bugis Junction, I thought about the race that awaited in only a couple of days. While a trip to Singapore appeared to be a random spur of the moment destination to many, some know that I have been preparing for a long time. For the better part of 6 months, I have been consistently training for this race. And slowly but surely, I had managed to etch out the time to consistently train 3 times a week despite the arduous fall season in Vancouver and its cold and rainy nights. There has been growth in not only my discipline but performance and approach to running in general and I was very excited for this race.