(SW indicated to us some activity near Flanders Square, which is opposite Petain Road. It surprised me greatly to learn that it was a licensed nightbirdie reserve (see Geylang below). I have taken a short cut through this area from Mustafa Center several times and had not noticed anything unusual except that it is very quiet.)
The name ``Irrawaddy” triggered some memories of school geography lessons --which in the good old days required us to memorise tons of facts about other countries. I remembered it to be a river in Burma. Was it a coincidence that a Burmese temple was nearby?
But then I noticed Shan Road. That too reminded me of Burma and wait, Rangoon Road was not far away! The dots began to connect. A check with the NHB guide confirmed that the area had a Burmese connection, with many other road names (including Moulmein!) being of Burmese origin.
Some of you might know that there is not only a Kerbau Road further down but also a Buffalo Road! Why so much reference to buffalos? There used to be buffalo stables in the area. Indeed some side streets off Serangoon Road still have the stables which have been converted to other use now.
We headed down Lavender Street and turned into Kallang Road in the direction of Geylang. On the right is an old temple (1888) built by workers from the gas-works which used to be located near there. I remember the huge blue cylindrical structure (25 storeys!) dominating the skyline in those days. See photos here
After passing the Kallang River, Singapore’s longest!, we turned into Geylang Road. The restaurants at the initial stretch were doing roaring business with tables spilling onto the road.
We detoured from the main road and walked through some side-streets where some nightbirdies were to be seen. Some of the nightbirdies were probably not independent, as their handlers were probably nearby, but in any case these street nightbirdies, of varying plumage, were unlicensed, as opposed to those residing in the official nightbirdie reserves.
(Earlier in the evening, at around 4pm, when I was on my bus ride to the Lavender meeting point, I passed the main Geylang Road and noticed nightbirdies very obviously posing at several doorways of the shop-houses. It seems that some nightbirdies have adapted to sunlight, or was it a case of the early birdie catching the worm?)
I cut through Haig and Onan Roads to make my way south along Joo Chiat Road. Near Joo Chiat Place there were a few nightbirdies socialising with their admirers but otherwise the road was quieter than usual.
As I passed one foot-massage establishment an assistant on the sidewalk asked me if I needed a massage for my tired feet. I was tempted but I decided it would be better to keep my momentum and moved on.
There was a bigger crowd as expected near the intersection of Joo Chiat Road and East Coast Road, with people having a late night snack or tea. I took a P break at the corner mall and then continued on south, through the underpass to the East Coast Park.
Stage 2: Lavender-Kallang-Geylang-Paya Lebar Stretch: 5km
Stage 3: Paya Lebar-East Coast Park: 3km
Total time for stage 3: 1 hr