Elephant Parade Singapore

Anyone who was reading this blog in summer 2010 will know that I got just a little bit obsessed with the Elephant Parade statues in London.  I spent lunch times, evenings and weekends combing London, map in hand, trying to photograph all 250+.  This even involved making an appointment for a viewing at a private members’ club to see one of the elephants who was deemed too risque for public display.  On the last weekend when the elephants were on display, I still had 30 left to spot and I devoted all day to it.  I bumped into a lot of other elephant-hunters on that day, and discovered that I was a member of a rather geeky sub-set of people.  Maybe not as bad as trainspotters, but getting there.

Still, I bet few of them were geeky enough to travel to another continent for an Elephant Parade in another country.  But it turns out that I was.  I didn’t plan it – honestly – I just turned up at Singapore zoo and there was a beautiful elephant waiting for me.  Also, I timed it perfectly because it was the end of the exhibition and all the elephants were getting moved to the Botanical Gardens for the last weekend, so I didn’t have to schlep round the whole of Singapore to find them all.

Last time, I faithfully blogged all 250+ elephants.  I won’t bore you with them all this time – anyone keen to see the full set can check out my set on flickr.  But here are my favourites.

1. Ele Fun-Asia

Ele Fun-Asia

2. Orangephant – he smelled like orange

Orangephant

3. Delightful Durian – thankfully he didn’t smell like durian

Delightful Durian

4. Nuts over Elephants

Nuts over Elephants

5. Lily

Lily

Advertisements

Singapore

Ahhh…Singapore…home of polite people, calm traffic and clean toilets. Never are your charms so appreciated as when people arrive after four weeks in India. We felt like we were treading water a bit in India, so when we arrive in Singapore we hit the sightseeing and we hit it hard.

On our first day, we had to hit one of the many (many, many) shopping malls for a few bits and pieces. Mr Beet was thrilled and a little bit emotional when he spotted…a Nando’s. Singapore just gets better and better.

Mild Boy

In the afternoon we went to Singapore Zoo. Long-term readers of this blog will know that I got a little bit obsessed when they had those Elephant Parade statues up in London a couple of summers ago. I totally geeked out and combed the entire city photographing all 250+ elephants. There was nothing but elephants on this blog for weeks. You can imagine my delight when I arrived at the zoo and discovered that Singapore is having its own Elephant Parade at the moment and there were lots of elephant statues dotted not only around the zoo but all over Singapore. We had arrived at the zoo only about two hours before closing so there followed a Supermarket-Sweep-like dash around the place trying to find all the elephant statues, and to see all the real-life animals as well.

My first Singaporean elephant – I will do a separate post for these rather than bore you with them all now.

Rainforest Zoo-phant

Kangaroo with joey

Kangaroo with joey

Baby orang-utan getting hauled up by its mum and not too happy about it

I wanna play...

Sloth

Sloth

Mr Beet and me with a ring-tailed lemur

Col and Lol and ring-tailed lemur

Flying fox

Flying fox

Next door to the zoo is the Night Safari; basically another zoo where you get to see the animals at night.  It’s very cleverly done with low-lighting and some animals like the big cats are much more active at night than during the day.  Plus there was a cool fireshow thing at the start. 

Fire breathers at night safari

More photos of the zoo and night safari are on Mr Beet’s flickr page.

The next day was a Saturday, aka parkrun day, so we headed to Fort Canning Park for a few laps and there were some more elephant statues here as well.  Fort Canning is where the British army was based in the Second World War and where the decision to surrender to the Japanese was made.  They’ve turned the military bunkers into a little museum called the Battle Box, where animatronic generals re-enact the last few days of British rule. 

For our second museum of the day, we went to the National Museum.  It’s a big, beautiful building but really empty – we had some trouble actually finding any exhibitions.  Not only did they have the usual history of Singapore exhibition, but there was also an exhibition of paintings on loan from the Musee d’Orsay including Cezanne’s The Card Players and Van Gogh’s Starry Night.  Then we hit the Singapore Art Museum, which is all modern art and we particularly liked an exhibition of the finalists of some pan-Asian competition including a set of photographs of Cambodian “bomb ponds” – ponds that have formed in the craters left by American bombers during the Vietnam War. 

Singapore is very compact and we had no plans to do a walking tour of the sights, but we just seemed to drift from one interesting-looking building to another without too much effort.  We wandered from the Art Museum to Raffles Hotel;

Col in front of Raffles

Then to the Esplanade, a crazy-looking building that is home to a theatre and arts complex. 

The Esplanade

Then along the waterfront, where we got some shots of the business district skyline and of the Marina Bay Sands Towers – the only buildings I’ve ever seen with a ship on the top.

Singapore's business district

Marina Bay Sands Towers reflected

Then we loop round to see the Merlion (the symbol of Singapore) up close. 

Merlion

We stroll along Clarke Quay – a trendy bar area where we find an English pub selling pints of bitter.  Despite the exorbitant price, Mr Beet has to have one as he has not had bitter in five months.  He is quite pleased by his pint of Old Specked Hen.

Col finds a pint of bitter in Asia and is moderately pleased

Then we head into Chinatown, which is getting ready for Chinese New Year (of the Dragon) with lots of lights, lanterns, stalls selling brightly-coloured tat and about a billion people.

Chinatown gets ready for New Year

That’s enough for day two, we decide to get out of the crowds a bit on day three and hopefully get some training in for climbing Mt Kinabalu by doing a hike. However, the travel guide makes the route sound a lot more strenuous than it really is; it’s more of a stroll than a hike. Still, it’s a pleasant route that takes us along a network of parks from Kent Ridge Park, through the horticultural gardens, over a couple of tree-top walkways and up to a place called Mt Faber which has a cable car taking people over to one of the smaller islands.

Forest Walk

Cable cars

More photos of Singapore on Mr Beet’s flickr page. 

Elephant Parade – the Top 5

5. Blackberry Elephant (“Bramble”) beautiful striking artwork with no gimmicks.

4.  Filigree Elephant (“Ampersand”) see-through and very tactile

3. Speech Bubble Elephant (“The Illustrated Elephant”)  Looks joyful.

2. Camouflaged Elephant (“Russell”) If I’d have got a better photo he really would have looked as if he was disappearing into the background.

1. City Elephant (“The City in the Elephant”) Elephants inside elephants.  The most fun.  Look at my happy little face.

Elephant 20 – The Final Instalment

Last day for elephant spotting – could I get the full set of 258?

Martin Luther King Elephant

Daisy Elephant

Dodo Elephant

Old London Town Elephant

Orchid Elephant

Fancy Top, Pyjama Bottoms Elephant

Doors Elephant

Tulips Elephant

Menagerie Elephant

Vinyl Elephant

Harrods Elephant

Colourful Elephant – I probably could have got a better picture, but if I stayed much longer I might have gone medieval on some tourist arse.

Pink and Black Elephant

Psst… Elephant

Water Damage Elephant

Woolly Mammoth Elephant

Hotch Potch Elephant

Fake Eyelashes Elephant

Ornate Elephant

London Boroughs Elephant

Fancy Skeleton Elephant

Comic Book Elephant

Archway Elephant

Designer Elephant

William Morris Elephant

Global Elephant

Black Eye Elephant

Chelsea Pensioner Elephant

Grassy Elephant

Coconut Elephant

Dribbly Elephant

Diversity Elephant

Patriotic Elephant

Butterfly Elephant


Penultimate Pachyderm

Final Elephant – No 258!  Whoop Whoop!

Finally I can blog about something else.

Elephant Parade 19

Elusive Pornographic* Elephant – originally on show at Selfridges but moved because his “autumnul leaves” are in fact cut outs from porn magazines.  I mean, you’d have to look pretty hard to notice that, but yeah, he’s covered in close ups of genitals.  So now he’s viewable by appointment only at Chinawhites.  It’s dead good though – you go down a darkened corridor and he’s at the end covered in spotlights and they’re playing elephant music.  My photo was rubbish.

Bejewelled Elephant at Royal Exchange

Mini Piggy Bank Elephant – not an official elephant so doesn’t count towards total

Tower of London Elephant

This elephant pisses champagne, so they have a waiter positioned behind to catch it.

Rubber Elephant (another one viewable by appointment only)

Bird Elephant

Cautionary Elephant at St James Park

Headband Elephant

X Ray Elephant

Grayson Perry Elephant

Subtle Tartan Elephant

Jockey Elephant

Sparkly Toes Elephant

Butler on Elephant

Running total, 222 down 36 to go

*I’m tagging this, just to mess with people

Elephant Parade 18

Final push to get as many elephants as possible

Smoochy Elephant

Cowbell Elephant

Eavesdropping Elephant earwigging at Churchill and FDR

Sleepy Elephant

Another Patchwork Elephant

Liz Elephant – named in honour of a hair-straightening friend

London Elephant

Butterfly Elephant

Police Tape Elephant

Manneken Pis Elephant

Ankle Bracelet Elephant

Rainy Scene Elephant

Eleafant

Old Lady Elephant

Elephanty Elephant

Goldfish Elephant

OK, I’m cheating now.

Penny Elephant

Pin Up Elephant

Hearts in Hats Elephant

Sunflower Trunk Elephant

Bindi Elephant

Cheetah Elephant

Purple Elephant

Jaws Elephant