Singapore Aviation snippets first: The local TV and newspapers showed the new Changi Airport Terminal 3 that is going to officially open next January. It is supposed to cater to an additional 20 million or so. The concept is a bit different from the existing two terminals, with natural light providing the bulk of the daytime lighting needs. They planned this terminal seven years ago and it took them S$1.5 Billion. 28 boarding gates are being made and 8 of those will cater to the Airbus A380 Super Jumbo. Like I have said before, Singapore is known for efficiency. Anyone who has come this way has seen that. I had written about Seletar Airport and how it is being turned into an Aviation hub. As I see it, work is going on everyday to make that happen and it’s all happening without major disruptions to any activity here.
Recently, we went to a farm called “Bollywood Veggies” promoted by Ivy Singh Lim and her husband, who retired from their hectic high power jobs to go away to the countryside and develop a farm. Bollywood Veggies name comes from Ivy Singh Lim’s Indian heritage perhaps. “In the beginning we were only expecting a few of our friends to drop by and have a couple of drinks at the farm”, she says. But the day they announced that the farm was open to all visitors, there was a virtual deluge of people. This prompted the couple to put up a farm-bistro where food can be served, prepared from the organically grown produce from their own farm. It is quite popular with some of the locals who want to wander away from all the traffic and shiny new buildings to somewhere quiet where one can hear sounds of nature and be among vegetables and fruits. The Bistro is interestingly called “poison Ivy!”
(view of part of the farm)
In my previous post, I mentioned that Singapore is not just a shiny steel and glass city with excellent infrastructure. It is not only a Technology hub, Tourism hub, International Finance hub, Aviation hub, shopping centers and all that. Surprisingly, in this tiny Island there are a few getaways and one of those is an area North West of the Island known as the Kranji countryside. This area is full of farms such as goat farms, vegetable farms, orchid farms and plenty of fish farms. While those of you in India and the West have seen large agricultural areas, the farms here are miniscule in terms of size. Singapore is just a dot on the World map but the fact that there is still some agriculture and a few farmers who live different lives compared to other Singaporeans and that makes it all the more interesting.
(Part of Poison Ivy Bistro)
The farm offers tours on weekdays (S$2 per person and well worth it because Ivy’s stories are fun) and although we went on a weekend, Ivy was conducting a farm tour for a large Multinational Oil company in Singapore whose executives had come for a farm experience in a chartered bus. Ivy’s natural sense of humor shines through her tour speeches and the couple go around greeting each and every person who drops by. She was excited to tell the group that they had spotted fireflies at the farm at night recently and how they had almost disappeared from the Singapore landscape and how they are making efforts to lure them back.
For those who live here and many of you I know have not heard of this place nor about the farms I’d say - take some time off to relax, hear yourself think and smell the flowers. Eat some fresh organic produce. Contrary to its name, Bollywood veggies/Poison Ivy Bistro offers plenty of non-vegetarian food as well. Organic fruit juices are available and regular cold Tiger beer, great for a warm afternoon. Take cash with you, the farm does not accept cards! How rustic and simple.
(Ivy with a group of visitors)
I am going to visit the other farms one by one. Meanwhile, I’ll tell you how to get there by public transportation. Take the MRT to Kranji MRT station (on the North South Line) and change to a “Kranji Express” bus service that goes around all the farms. You can use your easylink card and get your hand stamped so that you don’t have to pay each time you board for another venue. If you are paying cash, it costs you S$2 for the round trip, hop on and hop off anywhere you like. The bus goes around all the farms and also stops at the Sungei Buloh Wetlands Reserve, home to Wild estuarine crocodiles (bet you did not know that crocs exist in Singapore!) and water monitor Lizards among other species. I've had a close encounter with that one. That’s my next blog, coming in the next few days.
(Signs like this mark the Kranji Express Bus Stops)