We do not seem to suffer from jet-lag, well not much anyway!  So on our first day we naturally woke up a little later, had a long breakfast and decided to take it easy by heading to the Botanical Garden.

The National Orchid Garden

Of course we did not think that we will be exposed to  the sun for the better part of the morning with the temperature hitting 32C in the shade.  Beth, the eternal organizer had brought sun cream and lots of water for Ben and us but the heat was unbelievable.  The garden was very nice but the highlight is the Orchid Garden which is a 3-acre garden

within a garden and the only part for which we had to pay an admission.  It was wonderful we have never seen so many pretty flowers in one place.  I do not care much for flowers but it was amazing to see all the varieties, the many shapes and even more colors.  The walk through the park though took its toll on us, we had visibly difficulties dealing with this extreme weather, we were not used to it.  Ben was an angel, he did have his difficulties but he never complaint, not one bid.  We tried to give him more water and repeatedly whitened him with heavy sun cream but he was beat.  On thing that we noticed repeatedly is how Ben interacts with this strange environment, he smiles and engages people at will.  It is also true that people all

over Asia are much more child friendly than most places in Europe.  So many women but even some men would stop and interact with him, they smiled and played with him.  We went with the flow and let Ben do his thing and work the crowd, this was even more so later in the evening on Orchard rd.  We quickly decided though that staying out exposed to this sun was going to get the better of us so we got on a taxi, after feeding Ben, and went to Maxwell Food Court in Chinatown.  Maxwell’s is an open FC where mostly locals enjoy food so the taxi driver was a bit taken back when I asked him to take us there, his question was “You know Maxwell FC?”, I guess we did not look like locals.  The place is colorful, so many smells and so many different foods.  Some did not look like as appetizing but chinese kitchen is not only kung-po chicken or sweet and

Maxwell’s FC

sour pork.  There is such a variety and as the chinese themselves say they eat everything but the table!  We decided for some chicken and rice, supposedly a specialty of the Hain province and some greens that I have not seen before, it was all very tasty.  Meanwhile Ben was sleeping in his stroller and people were stopping by to look at him and then looked at us approvingly.  It was a bit embarrassing but we also felt proud.  Nearby there was a chinese Temple and a market that we took a stroll through.  I love local markets as the products they offer are profoundly different than what you get at home and it is the best way to see to familiarize with the locals.  It is funny because back home we never go to street markets but whenever I am anywhere in Asia I love walking through them, they

Chinese lanterns

become more interesting when they are far away from any urban area.

By now we had been out of the hotel for the better part of so we decided  to find our way back to the hotel and relax at the pool, Ben seemed to agree with us.  We do not understand why but it has been difficult to get a taxi but thanks to a very kind young man from Rhode Island, who called a cab for us, we were able to get into a air conditioned taxi that took us back to our hotel.  It was only when we returned back to the hotel that we realized that we were all red from the sun, Ben who used sun screen fared better but he got a nice little tan.

The hotel pool

Back in the hotel we decided to find some shade out by the pool and enjoy the rest of the day. The room is spacious and cool but we are not here to stay in the room, so we went down and promptly fell asleep.  There is nothing that compares to sleeping outside with the sound of water and Ben as you can see in

Father and son asleep at the pool

the picture enjoyed it too.

Later we again went out to Orchard road, we spend most of our evenings there and I will describe the experience in a later post.

It has been barely 24 hours since we left home but it could not be farther away and we were enjoying ourselves immensely.  More to follow, so long…

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