From the invention of the first sleeping bag in AD 1,000 to the ones that will keep you warm even at minus 40 degrees
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Waiting for my red-eye flight out of Singapore, I’m already dragging my feet more fretfully than my strolley by midnight as I round the corner towards my departure gate. Thankfully, there is a coffee shop just opposite.
Except they don’t do black. Turning away listlessly, the warm glow beyond tugs my heavy eyelids sideways — where a gentleman sits on a cushioned bank under the shade of a ficus sapling. No, I haven’t found yet another Buddha. What I have found is a serendipitous patch of Changi Airport’s delightful Nature Trail.
The winding pebble path through the bamboo to one side and the automated foot-massage unit tucked by the koi pond are extras — but the grass is already greener on my side of the sky when I spy the bank of nodding orchids, standing sentinel over the chair I aim for. Did you know Changi has its own eponymous Dendrobium species?
The teardrop pendants that hang off the ceiling and the round shades overhead are bright and shed full-spectrum light to feed the plants. As a byproduct, the wash of ‘sunlight’ wakes jetlagged travellers right up for the next leg of the journey. Behind me, the sculpturally illuminated sunflower garden finds gusts of guests tumbling out of an airplane’s belly and heading outdoors for a breath of fresh air — and nicotine-flavoured smoke in the designated lobby.
And this is not even the most impressive piece of the trail, which includes a cactus garden on the roof, the 1,000-strong butterfly garden across two levels, fern gardens and orchid gardens, as well as the world’s most famous landmarks in topiary (Merlion, of course; but also the Temple of Heaven and the Sydney Opera House).
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