Islam, Judaism, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu….religious places EVERYWHERE….and integrated right into the city center…quite impressive actually. I didn’t go in any, but seeing the kaleidoscope of religions and cultures was a treat to the senses. Funny that of all things that’s what stands out to me about Singapore as I head to Malaysia (at about 2pm….probably should have left around 8am, but I’m too busy trying to find a Yoga teacher training to care..) It wasn’t my first impression though….I actually thought to myself “wow, looks like I’m staying in China town/This is just like Richmond (Vancouver)”….then realized ‘no, anika… you are just in Asia…’.
Anyhow, I arrived midday on Thursday after not sleeping my last night in Bali. I got attacked by bed bugs on Nyepi and refused to go to sleep…instead I spent copious time doing core workouts and mastering my head/forearm stands and deciding what to leave behind in exchange for the few souvenirs I caved and bought in Ubud. 5:30 am cab to the airport and I was off to Singapore! Landed…all signs in English…all staff speaking English…I felt like and ignorant American but I was truly ecstatic that English was prominent once again. I met some sweet people in my dorm room at Backpackers@SG which was a great hostel-clean, helpful, free wifi and breakky! We went to little India for dinner and I passed out while they did a cruise down the river from Clarke’s Quay which the definitely recommend if you are passing through Singapore!
I did a 20km loop walking yesterday (Auckland all over again), met up with a friend from home for a bit, got some solid hawker food, sliced ice cream, and gazed at the building with a boat on top. My friends partied there the night before and paid $44 for a vodka coke…soooo be ware of drinking at clubs in Singapore!
I proceeded to walk Orchard Road, have some amazing dim sum, then head to the Singapore Art Gallery which offers free admission on Fridays from 6-9pm! It was great to go to the museum (not just for air con and free water) to have a taste of upper crust living, which many Singaporeans have (mean income of 75k/yr)…and have the luxury of admiring art, which unless free, is a very low priority in travels. Exhibits included the weight of history and one about south east Asian history specifically which was a great intro to the next few months of my trip.
I wanted to go to the light show and shows at the promenade, but instead found live music in little India and headed back to the hostel. The lady at the info booth said it was nothing compared to the Bellagio…which I thought was interesting….it also made me really not feel like walking there. Although the Singapore map makes it look a lot bigger than it is, it was still a solid 30 mins one way.
I heard somewhere that Singapore was one of the cleanest cities in the world which is an appauling statement in my opinion. There was mad pollution and still heaps of garbage….the city center was immaculate but otherwise it was your average city on most counts. Anyway, one more country done! Off to Malaysia, where I was supposed to spend 10 days….and ay spend 20 and fly to Cambodia, because everyone I talk to raves about it…but more importantly it has arguably some of the best food in the world. And I’m running in to a problem where with the heat and humidity I’m not hungry enough to try them all in one sitting!
Oh, I have just remembered as well, I met an old Singaporean man in a park who sat down and told me to write post cards instead of skype and about some cemetery, and limped and spoke broken English….then he asked for TWENTY dollars for food, when I said no he said ‘fuck you, bitch’ and stormed off….gotta love a good attempted scam.
Also, I paid the extra 70 cents to take the air conditioned express bus from Singapore to Johor Bahru on the Malaysia border…Best decision of life.