Of Chinese and Japanese Gardens

Towards the western end of Singapore lies two very beautiful parks that I’ve visited like, three times in my entire life. While Singapore is not considered large by any measure, I’ve always lived in the North/Northeast region with the exception of my 4 undergraduate years and the west does seem very far to travel to.

It just so happened that we found a fantastic home boarder for the girls a couple of years back, and the sweet couple S & D with their golden retriever Kobey reside in the west. They had been requesting to visit Paris ever since news of her cancer diagnosis broke. I didn’t think it nice to ask that they travel all the way to our house just to visit her since she was doing quite well. And so, I proposed to meet them at Chinese Garden. It was a struggle; I wanted to bring both Paris and Belle out together, but the mister put his foot down on this matter. He claimed that I would not be able to take care of both girls while still trying to catch Pokemon monsters (was a little crazy over Pokemon GO at that time). Which wasn’t entirely untrue. 😛

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Chinese Garden is over 40 years old, and was modelled after Northern Chinese Imperial style of architecture and landscape. Entrance was free-of-charge and we were immediately greeted with the signature red doors typical of such architecture the moment we walked through the tri-archway entrance.2016-09-06-cg-004b 2016-09-06-cg-007b

Paris was in a good mood, being out with me alone and all (i.e. without her pesky younger sibling) and obliged when I frequently made her sit to let me take a few pictures. And what is a visit to the Chinese Garden without posing in front of the Twin Pagoda, a landmark synonymous with the park itself. Although it was in the late afternoon, the sun was still shining mercilessly and I noted that Paris was fast heating up. Her smiles were waning by the second, setting alarm bells in my head. It was time to quickly locate a water point (plentiful within the park, but just have to locate them) and retire to a shady spot while waiting for S & D to join us.

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Clearly Paris found her zen spot and started meditating. 😆 She was on her best behaviour that afternoon, which made handling her a piece of cake. That was until she spotted her favourite boarders – she disobeyed my instructions and ran towards them, unleashed. Thank heavens it was a short distance and that she didn’t scare any other park-goers in the process. For those of you who do not live in Singapore, my worry may seem needless but you see… Singapore is made up of people of several races and religion and dogs are not always welcomed. Even ultra-friendly ones like golden retrievers.

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S & D and their golden Kobey were too, clearly happy to have finally met Paris since her surgery. Like everyone else who has seen Paris, they commented that she didn’t look like she has cancer. That works like a double-edged sword, I reckon, about Paris looking all normal. On one hand we kinda stop treating her like a fragile porcelain vase and let her live her life rambunctiously like she always does, yet on the other hand, we tend to forget and think that she is normal when she isn’t. Case in point, I recently felt lumps on her tummy and was very alarmed, wanting to send her in for a checkup immediately. The mister had to remind me that she is a cancer patient, regardless of well she appears to be on the outside. I have to repeatedly manage my own expectations.

Our target that afternoon was to walk the dogs and… catch Snorlax! At that time, I still had not caught one while S & D caught several in their home! As we were strolling across to Japanese Garden (it is linked to Chinese Garden but closes at 1730hrs while Chinese Garden closes much later, at 2300hrs), S & D’s friends together with their newly adopted shiba inu caught up with us. And thus, we started walking as a group of five plus three dogs. Attracted quite a bit of attention heh.

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We were greeted with beautifully manicured bushes the moment we entered Japanese Garden, a strolling park modelled after the Muromachi and Momoyama periods of Japanese history. It is a beautiful park but we didn’t have much time to explore it because it was nearing closing time (about 30 minutes prior), and a park staff in his buggy had started driving round the park to vacate park-goers. According to S & D, he does this tirelessly every single day. Respect.

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We’d spent several hours away from home by then and Paris seemed tired as she lagged further and further behind. Not wishing to over-tire her, I bade farewell to S & D and their friends. It was a long drive home with occasional traffic jam on the expressway. Fortunately Paris took the opportunity to take a nap and had regained most of her usual bounce by the time we got home. Or I would have gotten an earful again.

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