Saturday, 29 April 2017

The Cloud Forest and Tulip Mania

 We end up going down town a lot. Mostly because it has been raining a lot , and there are a lot of indoor spaces to do things at Marina Bay. We have learned to be really flexible with our plans because of weather. Some Saturday this month we woke up to rain, and our plans of hiking were thwarted. Instead we check off one of Lyndon's Singapore bucket list items and went to the Cloud Forest. 

The Cloud Forest is basically a giant indoor terrarium complete with a huge and beautiful water fall. There are really cool dragon wooden statues that are hidden around the whole place. I like finding them, and have the kids try to find them with me. So Lyndon had never been to the Cloud Forest. We have the Gardens By the Bay pass that gets us into everything, so figured we better take Daddy and show him what he is missing. 

The Cloud Forest is pretty spectacular. When you walk in there is this giant indoor water fall that flecks you with water like an outdoor water fall. It really feels like you are in a tropical paradise with air con. It is super cold inside! Bring a coat if you go. You will use it, haha. The forest goes all the way to the top of the dome. You take an elevator/lift up to the top and then walk down to the bottom. Looking down from the top is really cool. You find different things from every angle you are at in that place. It is truly enchanting and always finding some hidden gem. The flowers are incredible, of course. The plants though! We think of plants being just green, but here plants are so colorful. Dark purples, with pink highlights in the leaves. Of course green, so many different types of green. Some silvery, others super dark. The colors in nature are incredible. The Cloud Forest does an amazing job at showing off what mother nature creates. 

From there we went to the Flower Dome next door, and up the escalator to see the Tulips. I love the Flower Dome. There are the permanent exhibits, which we always do a quick run through to see the giant dragon statue. Then there is the temporary exhibit in the middle that is always changing depending on the time of year. That is what I love about the Flower Dome, there is always some spectacular new exhibition show casing beautiful flowers that I would not get a chance of seeing anywhere else. 


The effort it takes to make family photos happen.



Henry, hehe. 

Picture with the moss! I have a tray of it in my fridge right now. More on that soon. 




 A million heart eyes watching him walk around with Henry's panda backpack "Snowy". 

Lego carnivorous flowers. We are kind of obsessed with both at our house. I had watched a documentary about Borneo the night before, and all these flowers live there. The Pitcher flower is amazing! I could go on about it, but I'll spare you my nerding out. 





He is my little lover. And so big now. I really want him to stay at this stage for at least another year. I love him to pieces. 

Her face makes it look like I forced her to take this photo, but she asked me to take it. 


Brothers. 


Narnia? I think we found the gate. Except this Narnia is always summer and never ever winter. 

Daddy is in the spirit. Not sure about everyone else. 

 Tulip Mania has taken over the Flower Dome. It is Van Gogh themed. They took Starry Night and one of his self portraits and made them out of tulips! Talk about creativity. It was especially exciting for Cosette, because her class was studying Van Gogh and  Starry Night at the time. When she saw the picture she pointed out and said, "Hey! That is what we painted at my school!".  I am really excited to see her version of Starry Night. Tulips and Van Gogh remind me of our trip to Amsterdam where we got to see the fields of tulips, and go to the Van Gogh museum. Plus, makes me think of NYC and going to the MET and seeing all of Van Gogh's works there. Which reminds me to make of a point of seeing his Sunflowers, which is the only major one left for us to see in person. Flowers and impressionist, I love them!

Could not decide which one to post, so you get both. You can thank Henry and his awesome expressions in the photos. 



This is the reason we have to get out. They are so much happier when we are out and about. Space. It makes so much difference on their little wiggly bodies. 

Had to stop him from picking all the flowers. 


Can I get a high five for keeping them alive? Still blows my mind that I am their mom, and they are my kids. 

Thick as thieves. 


Gotta show of the flowers. Cosette had us take a million pictures, so that we can print them off and she can paint them. 





It was a great outing. We did not lose any kids. It was still raining when we left, so Art Science Museum it was. It was a full day. And an especially sweet day together. We do not get Lyndon as much as we want. Me and the kids have really done Singapore, and he has not. We are trying to get him to some of the things he cannot miss before we leave. 

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Jaipur

The last stop on our trip was the beautiful city of Jaipur. Known as the Pink City because of all the buildings are painted "pink". It is more of a rusty pink. The Maharajah, Ram Sighn, of Jaipur at the time Prince Albert and Queen Victoria visited had all the buildings painted pink because pink is the color for hospitality. Ever since then, all the buildings have to be painted this color.

We stayed in a heritage hotel, which is an old maharajah's palace turned into a hotel. It was amazing. We woke up to the sound of parrots, and peacocks calling. The grounds are just stunning. We absolutely loved staying there. It gave us a real authentic feel instead of just staying in a normal hotel. The facilities were all up to standard. We had a western toilet, and shower. I was really grateful for that. I have not mastered using the traditional Asian toilet (basically hole in the ground). Maybe a little too much tmi, but hey if you have traveled any where in Asia you can understand and appreciate that fact.


Raj and our tour guide for the day met us after breakfast and we were off. Jaipur is just a beautiful city. The architecture, just everything! I love it. Our first stop was to the Palace of the Winds (Hawa Mahal). This stunning structure reminded me so much of Gaudi's architecture in Barcelona. The Palace of the Wind is a facade built right in front of the city palace. It's basic function was for the women of the palace to be able to look through the screens and see what was going out in the city and not be seen. When we got out of the car there was a snake charmer. He had a cobra in a wicker basket and was playing a pungi (a clarinet looking instrument) and "hypnotizing" the cobra. We actually saw the snake starting to sway from side to side. Pretty cool, of course it is done for all the tourists like us.




The absolute highlight of the trip was visiting the Amber Fort and Palace. We loved this place. The architecture is a mix of the Rajput and Hindu. We rode an elephant from the bottom of the hill up to the top, just like a maharajah would do.




Still sporting the scarf. Kept the sun off and the peddlers away. 




View on the way up on the back of our elephant. 




 Having so much riding up to the Palace on the elephant.







Palace monkeys.








Sheesh Mahal. The most beautiful room in the whole place. It is also called the hall of private audience, and the whole place is adorned with mirrors and colored glass. So imagine how stunning this place would be at night with all the candles lite with the light reflecting off all the mirrors and glass. Incredible!











Example of a Mughal garden. 







Best part, was going up to the second level and exploring all the rooms. Lyndon just keep going and going. All the rooms keep going and going. This is as close to Indiana Jones as we will probably be. It was awesome. You can watch our India VLOG and see it all.



Water buffalo by the Water Palace.


We only stopped to look at the Water Palace. It is closed to tourists and is in the process of being turned into a restaurant. 


Best part, for me, was getting to check out the textiles! Jaipur is the place to get your textiles. And I am currently obsessed with fabric. Raj took us to a place that does the traditional wood block printing process. They showed us from start to finish on this piece. I am holding the print before it is washed in a salt water solution to help the colors set. We had a go at guessing what the colors would turn out to be. We got a couple right. 


This is the finished print after soaking in a salt water solution. Can you believe that the brown turned into green?! We have a place in Singapore which sells these products, straight from India. I give them a lot of business. I did come home with lots of beautiful fabric. I am planning all the projects I am going to use them for. I have a bunch of other projects I have to finish first. I'm a little obsessed. 




City Palace of Jaipur.




We visited Jantar Mantar, which is a collection of atronomincal instruments. There are nineteen in total. It was amazing how accurate they are. There are different ones you can look at depending on you astrological/zodiac sign. Lyndon loved this place a lot. Science nerd, and I love him for it. 


I keep saying blank was our favorite part, but there were so many amazing things we saw. Galtaji aka Monkey Temple was amazing! And it was another favorite part of our trip. The place is a pilmagrige sight. There is a spout at the top of the Temple that supposedly has water from the Ganges River, which is the most sacred river in India, that pours from it. People go there to bathe in the water. 


The temple is also called the monkey temple because of the large troop of monkeys that have made this place their home. I learned about this temple from a documentary I watched on Nat Geo Wild, it's my favorite channel ever! The documentary was amazing and followed the journey of the male leader of one of the monkey troops that live here. He was separated and ended up in Jaipur city and then made it back to the monkey temple. Anyway, after watching it I was super psyched to visit this place. 

I have mentioned our monkey encounters before, and this was nothing like the ones we've met in Singapore. These monkeys get constantly fed, so they were not approaching us and trying to steal our food like other places we have been or heard about from friends. I was grateful for that. They did walk past us like it was totally normal. You can see it in the India video. I was talking then all of a sudden a monkey walks right behind me across the screen! It is still bizarre to me to be so close/live in a place where monkeys live. I love it! 

It felt like we were in King Louise layer in the Jungle Book. Ironically King Louie is an Orangutan, which only live in Sumatra and Borneo, not in India. Disney was wrong on that one guys. And the monkeys that live here are Rhesus Macaques (I am such an animal nerd) and do not have super long tails like the Disney movie depicts. Anyway, there is some info for you there.  



People bathing at the well.


There was a group of boys playing cricket, which is India's number one sport. Lyndon asked if he could play with them. They were nice and obliged. Lyndon hit a ball! I enjoy interacting with the locals on our trips. This was sweet to witness. People are people everywhere you go. 


Sacred cow. There were cows, lots of cows. The Hindus believe they are sacred and do not kill them. They wonder around some freely, some were cared for by people. We saw a lot. Especially in front of the monkey temple. There was a giant herd of them. 






Our last few hours in India we were back in New Delhi. Our tour guide's wife does cooking classes at their house. We got to experience what a local Indian house was like and have a meal with the family. Utensils are not really used. You use your bread to scoop up the food. We learned how to make naan bread, and tandoori chicken. She had also prepared a cucumber raita (cucumber and yogurt dip), daal (Lyndon's absolute favorite) before we had arrived with some eggplant, and potato dish. We ate really well. I have really come to love eggplant. It's so good!


Last Indian supper. 


We left India with our stomachs full, adventurous spirits temporarily quenched, and with a whole new knowledge and understanding of this beautiful, incredible country. This trip was too fast. We are definitely going back to the Northern part, and Southern part. When I don't know, but it is never to early to start planning. 
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