Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Marina Barrage

This past weekend, Bryan and I headed to the Marina Barrage.  Ever since the Youth Olympic Games started, getting around town has been a little more difficult, and Sunday was no exception.  Bryan was in a hurry to get out there, so he suggested we take a taxi, but we gave up after seeing only HIRED or ON CALL lights for about 15 minutes.  We took the MRT and wandered around aimlessly for awhile after reaching the Marina Bay MRT station- the station was under construction, so it was a little hard to find the bus stop we were headed for, but eventually we made it to our final destination.

Marina Barrage is relatively new, having just been completed in 2008.  The location gained a little notoriety after serving as a pit stop in the sixteenth season of The Amazing Race.  The building of the barrage across the Marina Channel created a reservoir, which has the largest catchment area in Singapore.  The structure itself is very modern-looking, with a unique spiral design and a green roof where people can picnic and fly kites.  Inside the building is a museum/gallery focusing on the history of conservation in Singapore, and highlighting the water issues that have been a problem for the country for decades.

On the way in from the parking lot is a big, funky fountain.  Apparently that big blue thing is a replica of one of the pumps installed in the dam, which assists with flood control by pumping excess water out into the sea.

We were surprised by the number of YOG athletes hanging out in the area.  It looked like they were participating in some of the educational events that are part the YOG athlete's experience rather than competing in actual events.  We bypassed them and made our way onto the green roof, which provided great views of downtown.  It was a nice day, and tons of people were flying kites in the sunshine.
View from the roof

Up on the roof, the sun was beating down pretty intensely so we didn't stay up there for long.  We headed back into the cool, dark building to check out the Sustainable Singapore Gallery.  It was pretty neat- they had used recycled materials in artistic ways, like by creating an entire wall out of water bottles, and another one out of shelves of old, yellowed newspapers.  It was neat to see old trash turned into something fresh and fun.
Water Bottle Wall
Everything in the gallery looked super futuristic, like something you'd see on a spaceship.
There was something interesting in there, I swear
 I liked the little replica of downtown Singapore.  The itty bitty Singapore Flyer is the best!

It was a pretty educational day.  I was especially interested in the Sustainable Singapore Gallery after having read about some of Singapore's water issues when I read A Singapore Story.  Lee Kuan Yew talked about the trials of having to import water, and the major efforts of cleaning the Singapore and Kallang Rivers, turning them from squalid filth into clean waterways with effective waste management systems.

We ended our day by reading at the Coffee Club at Raffles Place for awhile- it was nice to mellow out for awhile after being surrounded by people at Marina Barrage all afternoon. 

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