One of the rules during the circuit breaker (lockdown) and phase 1 was that you were only supposed to exercise within your neighborhood. Some of our long walks and bike rides definitely stretched the definition of this, but all in all, we were pretty good at following the rules. Now in phase 2 we can spread our wings a little bit. While it rains quite frequently in Singapore, the past week has been VERY rainy. When it rains here, it dumps. Literally monsoons. So Thursday was our first day with a long enough break to venture out. I’ve wanted to head to labrador nature reserve for quite some time. We talked about riding our bikes there, parking, walking around then riding home, but it always seemed like too much. So yesterday we hopped a grab and went for an adventure.
Part of the nature reserve is an old fort from the British colonial days. There is so much fascinating world war 2 history here. When the British set up their defense of Singapore, they always assumed any invasion would come from the sea (which from their mindset of seeing Singapore as a integral port city, made sense). Then came the Japanese. They invaded from the north through Malaysia. The above cannon is facing the sea. While they could re-orient the cannons to aim inland (they could shoot up to 10 miles!) the ammunition they had was to shoot at ships, not to explode on land. The British lasted 7 days before they surrendered Singapore to the Japanese. The Japanese brutally occupied Singapore for a little over 3 years. The cannon was interesting to see, but while the people were away in lockdown, the bugs came out to play! There were giant swarms of mosquitos and a bee nest in the cannon. Considering there were more cases of dengue fever diagnosed yesterday that covid, we hustled away from the swarm.
The fort at Labrador is built up on a hill, underground were a series of tunnels and store rooms. Apparently one tunnel went under the water to fort siloso in Sentosa! These sealed off entries are all that are left and they are so overgrown by jungle it’s hard to imagine it as a fort…
The entire time we were at the park, the Air Force jets were flying over in formation. It was so cool! We read later in the day that they were practicing for the national day celebration in August (which I wasn’t sure was happening as normal, but apparently no one told the Air Force that yet…).
Playgrounds are open again! Limit to 5 kids at a time. Again, major bugs.
After the playground we walked along the coast. There were a few small spots where you could get a glimpse of what Singapore might have looked like before it was a major city. But then you looked up and saw the giant shipyard with cargo freighters stacked waiting as far as you could see…
At the far end of the park is another small playground and man made feature called the dragon’s teeth gate. This is a representation of a rock that used to sit at the mouth of the harbor that is now called keppel bay. Long Ya Men (dragon’s teeth gate in mandarin) or Batu Berlayar in Malay was a famous pirate hideout for centuries. It was recorded in 1349 by a Chinese historian as a landmark of note for mariners. When the British came in 1819, they also “discovered” the harbor as a safe place to anchor their ships. Sadly, in 1848 they blew up the dragon teeth rock formation so larger ships could enter the harbor.
Keppel bay condos Small, medium, large We would rather have this one… We ended our walk continuing along the water, past Keppel marina and some huge yachts!