Saturday, April 24, 2010

Postcard from Singapore

Moving on from the occasionally outlandish architectural and design choices made in Melbourne, it was a surprise to find that the otherwise staid mix of traditional and corporate buildings in Singapore have been joined by a boat.  A big boat.  Hoist to the top of three curved tower blocks (indicating a wave) and planted up with palm trees.  As roof gardens go it's certainly different.  Still looks as if a container ship has run aground 50 floors up though.

The balconies and awnings which still line Boat Quay are easier on the eye, not least because, when sitting under an awning, you can't see the generic skyscrapers.  Mostly generic.  Those built by Chinese companies do sometimes incorporate gaps through the upper floors or are angled to accommodate the principles of Feng Shui or folklore.

My photo of the boat building didn't quite work out, so I'll share this one of the symbol of Singapore: the Merlion.  This fantastical animal is half lion, half fish.  In the tradition of offices the world over I brought back biscuits for my colleagues which claimed to be Merlion flavoured.  Worried by this, a vegetarian scanned the ingredients list.  Turns out that Merlion flavour is mostly vanilla with a hint of custard powder.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Postcard from Melbourne

This is the view from the Eureka! Skydeck on the 88th floor of the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere.  To my ear, it rather spoilt the boast to have to add that ' the Southern Hemisphere' qualifier.  I liked the view and don't think Melbourne has any need to justify itself by defining its terms.

Like all Aussie cities it's a fairly new looking place where some, um, innovative ideas in architectural design are being indulged; as are some quite strange ideas for public art.  The square cow stranded upside down in a tree didn't add much to the dockside promenade for me.

It's what's going on in Melbourne that matters more though.  From hidden away but buzzing rooftop bars, through exhibitions to international sporting events, there's loads happening.  No need for any qualifiers - I had a great time.

ps Congratulations to Team Flotsam for completing the Oxfam Trailwalker Melbourne 100km challenge.