by Kerry Tolson @kerrytolson.com
I was looking forward to ending off 2016; it’d been a turbulent year – ills and spills, headaches at work, writers block, microphone attacks during public speaking engagements, only one-week-away the whole year – just to name a few of my sad-sack quibbles that had gathered... and let's not forget that the world at large had gone a little strange; all my 80's idols suddenly popped off to have a rave party in the sky and a reality Z-lister was becoming leader of one of the most powerful nations on earth... so I couldn’t think of a better way to wave it off than to spend the last day of 2016 looking at a bridge. And not just any bridge, but the award winning Henderson Waves Bridge.
When I mention to Mal I want to go visit a bridge, he looks at me in alarm, obviously remembering another New Years trip away – a drive through south-east Victoria - in which I insisted on visiting every bridge mentioned in the tourist-information pamphlets, there were a lot of bridges!
‘How many more bridges do you want to see Singapore?’ he asks me with bewildered amusement.
I know where he’s going with this – Singapore has some great bridges, from the gorgeous ornate Anderson Bridge, the delightful twisty-wisty Helix Bridge, the simply beautiful Cavenagh Bridge - that I drag him over on every visit and the formidable Esplanade arches which I drag him under on every visit. Yes I have to admit, I do love the bridges of Singapore.
Now I had discovered there was another fabulous out-there bridge. Built in 2008, Henderson Waves is the highest pedestrian bridge in Singapore (36mts) and straddles the six-lane Henderson Road, connecting Mount Faber Park to Telok Blangah Hill Park.
As I do my little bit of research on how to get to the bridge, by little I mean, let’s find how to get there five minutes before we leave and find that other than catching a bus or taxi to Faber Mount, the only other way besides walking… is to take the cable car.
No biggie for most people, just a pop down to Harbour Front and grab a ticket, five minutes later you’re at Faber Peak… or maybe that should be after waiting in line for 25minutes to buy that ticket… but, as I’m about as ‘adrenaline junkied’ as a cat wanting to take a bath... cable cars are not high on my list of fav things to ride in.
Seriously the thought of hopping into a glass box attached to a piece of fairyfloss and being dangled, swung and jerked hundreds of meters in the air doesn’t hold much appeal for me and although I’ve gritted my teeth and have ridden in a cable car numerous times in various places throughout the world, there have been more times than not when I’ve got to the ticket box stood in line for more than 25minutes and then chickened out upon reaching the counter. I remember one time in Malaysia, going to the Langkawi SkyCab four times over five days and at each ticket-purchase-moment had turned and run.
After finding that it’ll take around three quarters of an hour and two changes of busses to get to the car park of Faber Peak -one way, I decide to man-up and take the cable. However, upon arriving a Vivo City, Mal realizes he has left his hat back at the hotel. It’s a scorcher of a day and so we spend close to an hour wandering around the thousands of shops, going up and down escalators and getting lost on the multitude of floors, looking for a hat.
Why are there only beenies being sold in Singapore in December?!?
It takes mere minutes to arrive a Faber Peak via the cable and on the way up the views are impressive, Mal becomes very excited about it – lots of cranes, containers, the occasional cruise ship and in the near distance masses of container ships filling up the bay.
I’m equally impressed with the summit of Mount Faber. A stunning reception area/café tucked neatly into a cool forest, the wrap-around deck wrapped in thousands of bells dedicated to love.
The ‘love locks’ fad took hold in the noughties and is particularly popular in Europe, the most famous being the Paris ‘love bridge’ - Ponts-des-Arts Bridge which keeps ‘being removed’… the locks that is, not the bridge. Since then it has spread throughout the world much to the annoyance of various council authorities as they see it as litter and vandalism, and we even have it in Australia; the rusty locks are popping up in random places, like the carpark of my local Ballina beach.
And it turns out that it's not a new idea either, sitting in the corner of the garden is an enormous brass bell that dates back to 1909 and its resounding gong rings out for everlasting peace for all.
All those bells! I can’t help myself and just have to do a ‘ring-of-happiness’ lap.
Mount Faber is a breath of fresh air and so cooling.
It’s also noisy. In a beautiful way.
Filled with the song of birds, the area is abundant with them and the colour astounding as bright yellow, blue and red flashes among the leafy canopy and throughout the bushes and flowers.
Faber Peak is also home to one of the Merlions of Singapore.
Singapore has five ‘official’ merlions, or if counting the unofficial, it has 7. Faber Peak’s sweet little cub is considered an ‘official’.
The tapestry of timber slats used for the walkway and hidden alcove seats softens the ‘waves fall’ giving a feeling of being hugged into it.
Mal however sees it as a great climbing opportunity and like a big kid scrambles around it. He’s not the only one. It’s a little hard to photograph the bridge and 'stage' its beauty; firstly because the forest hides the ‘bottom’ waves - you sort of have to poke your head through the slats above the seats, and secondly because there are huge crowds of people strolling along its lines. It’s an extremely popular bridge for people of all ages and fitness levels, evident by the groups of joggers who gallop past.
Our ticket gives us a return trip, not just to/from Faber Peak, but also across to Sentosa Island.
Now I have no desire to re-visit Sentosa again, the memory of being there, becoming hopelessly lost in the underground car-park and then paying nearly nineteen dollars each for a beer to drown our frustrations at getting lost in the car-park was still raw (a 2013 trip), so when buying our cable car tickets I incessantly quizzed the poor attendant and made her promise emphatically that we did not have to get out of the car when it came to the Sentosa station. Just as we re-boarded the car, I checked this again with the Mount Faber attendant. Yes, I did get a weird exasperated look… from both the attendant and Mal.
As our car lurchs across Kepple Harbour to Sentosa I find myself swallowed up in the beauty and spectacle of Sentosa from the air, it has a ‘fairy-tale-cum-disney-land’ look about it and for a fleeting second I consider the thought of getting off at the station. That is until I see the web of paths and the masses of people moving along them - it’s crowded. Well it is the last day of the year and Sentosa is a hotspot for New Years celebrations.
Ah! New Year Eve, I'm all excited, it’s time to ring in 2017
Hello! I'm Kerry
. . . a plan-nothing, have no idea where I'm going travelholic.
A daughter of the gypsies and the wife of a workaholic, I'm forever wondering 'What's over there?' and devising ways to squeeze through the barbed-wire fence of small-business ownership responsibilities and every-day life tangles to discover it.
and this is my book.