Saturday, 5 December 2015

Christmas Wonderland in Gardens By the Bay 2015

  And Now...the Weather Report  
After a few days sitting at the corner of my livingroom, dust started to gather on my shoulders (I know it wasn't dandruff because it doesn't look like the beautiful fairy-tale white snowflakes where each one is as unique as your fingerprint or wrinkles or dysfunctions). I thought I needed some fresh air to dust myself off. The Christmas Wonderland sounded like a wonderful idea. Also, this is my last weekend in Singapore. Can't wait.

Just when I was ready to step out of my house, the rain poured down, and it went on for the whole afternoon. Despite being the one of hottest and driest El Niño on record in Singapore, it was December after all. The month that receives the most rainfall. It rained with a vengeance. This would be normal during the previous La Niña, but seemed a bit surprisingly welcoming this year.


  La Niña, Me Love You Long Time  
I'm not a sexist. but...I prefer La Niña over El Niño any day.

I think the average Singaporean doesn't embrace El Niño. Who can blame them? It's a hot potato. If they did before, they wouldn't now with the worst Indonesian forest fire they experienced in memories this year. The forest fire may be man-made or natural (caused by El Niño), but it takes nature - in the form of rain - to stop it.

For those who aren't living in Singapore, the forest fire in Indonesia produced a blanket of haze that shrouded much of Malay Peninsula for some months this year.

We had a bad long dry spell this year. We deserve a wet break. The longer and the wetter, the better. I like it long and wet. With only less than 2 months left in the Singapore monsoon rain season, it comes too soon.

La Niña, la Niña,
Don't go away !
Come again lah, any day !

I think we'll have to wait at least 2 more years to see her back. Come back soon, no visa for you!


  After it Rains, it Shines  
In any case, I decided to hit GB (Gardens By the Bay, not Great Britain) around 5:30pm, even though it was still raining cats and dogs in my nick of the wood. I was thinking about the Vietnamese tourism's advertising slogan, "After it rains, it shines." Of course, the rain is an euphemism for the Vietnam War. But then, what marketing department in their right mind would ever use the word "war" in selling tourism? Still, it holds true. When the sky has its fill of crying, it would stop. Just like my imaginary baby.

Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Lots of clouds, but no rains. It's all show and no substance.

When I arrived at GB, there's only a slight drizzle. Seemed like my bet paid off, muchly.

Conservatories and Supertrees, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

After it rained (photo above), it shined (photo below). Ok, nothing happened so dramatically. This is courtesy of my photographer's license (nothing to do with the legal practice).

Conservatories and Supertrees, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore



  A Trip Down 1 Year Old Memory Lane  
If I'm not mistaken, the Christmas Wonderland idea started last year, which featured prominently the Italian luminarie light sculptures.

Here are a few of these  photos of light installations I took last year (I apologise for the excessive use of the sparkle filter in some of these photos. I didn't take them).

Luminarie sculptures, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Luminarie sculptures, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Luminarie sculptures, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Luminarie sculptures, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Luminarie sculptures, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Luminarie sculptures, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

I didn't blog about the Christmas Wonderland experience last year because apart from these Italian light sculptures, there weren't too much to blog home about. This year, with SG50 happening, one can easily guess that this returning of the Christmas Wonderland is going to be bigger than Ben Hur.


  Going Dutch? No, Coming Dutch!  
The occasion for this year turned GB into a carnival atmosphere with the fairground, and TrickArt thingy. In addition to Italian luminarie sculptures, a Dutch Spiegeltent ("Mirror Tent") was also thrown in for good measure.

There're a number of these Dutch spiegeltent that going around the world for exhibitions and as entertainment venues (they probably travel to more places than me. I'm jealous of a tent)). I don't know if this is one of the originals. But then again, why not? I have a feeling that it's original with its very exquisite craftsmanship of the sculptural relief panels on its outer walls.


Spiegeltent, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Spiegeltent, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Spiegeltent's wall panels

Some of the panels seem to be depicting scenes from well known fairy tales, I'm guessing.

Sculpture panel, Spiegeltent, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Scene from "The Goose that Lays the Golden Egg"?
Sculpture panel, Spiegeltent, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Scene from "Hansel and Gretel" ?

 Note the mirrors in the top of each wooden panel (see photos below) that give rise to the name "mirror tent". Alternatively, they look like a typical mirror frame that sits on a 19th century vanity desk, except that it has sculpture instead of a mirror.

Sculpture panel, Spiegeltent, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Sculpture panel, Spiegeltent, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore



  Let the German Slide In  
In keeping with the European Christmas theme, there's a German style children slide in the fairground. Unfortunately for the kiddies, its operation was halted due to rain on the day.

German children slide, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
merry-go-around, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Left: German style giant ride
Top:  A ride fits for a Medieval European monarch
merry-go-around, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
No fairground is complete without a merry-go-around



While this Christmas Wonderland has something for everyone, but I think the Singapore family with their average 1.25 kids would get the most out of it.

Children slide and merry-go-around, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore children slide, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore



  A Tiny Bit of North Pole in the Equator  
One more thing that the organiser does to keep up with the white European Christmas theme (even though this is as green as a place can be), they put in an ice-skating ring ("Ice Palace"). It's a nice place to escape the humidity for a little while. It wasn't too cold, but it's still under 20°C.

Skating ring, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Polar bear toy, Skating ring, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Sign, Ice Palace, Skating ring, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
The fogginess in this photo wasn't done by filter, but by the old fashion way by having actual fog on my camera lens
created by condensation as I was coming out of the ice-skating ring and into the Singaporean warm and humid outdoor air


  Big Bang Bubbles  
I don't know what is it about soap bubbles, it seems to draw kids and shutterbug alike.

Soap bubbles, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Soap bubbles, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore



The following 4 photos illustrate what happened 0.00000000000003 sec after the Big Bang. Probably not a very accurate depiction.

Soap bubbles, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Soap bubbles, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Soap bubbles, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Soap bubbles, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore



  Italian Bright Idea  
Before I forget to show you some of the famous Italian luminarie sculpture that were put up this year, here they're. Bellissimo!

Luminarie sculptures, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
Christmas choir carols

Luminarie sculptures, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore



  All Quiet on the Western Garden  
Here are some night photos of GB in some quiet corners. If you're a couple with 0.0 kid, you probably want to tiptoe (or waltz) into these quiet parts, and do something seriously to help to stimulate the private sector of the Singapore economy (instead of relying the unromantic tool of immigration policy).

Garden foot light, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore Garden foot light, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Rock sculpture and Garden foot light, Christmas Wonderland, Gardens by the Bay, Singapore

Planet sculpture by Marc Quinn
Will this floating giant baby in the garden help?
Planet by Marc Quinn


That's all folks!

Arrivederci !   Vaarwel !  Auf Wiedersehen !



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