Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Singapore

My arrival in Singapore was pretty much horrible. I had booked a very cheap flight with Tiger Airways and that flight landed in the middle of the night, at 2.50 am to be precise. Unfortunately, I had not been able to sleep the night before and Tiger Airways has the smallest and most cramped seats I have ever seen in a plane. I did not sleep a minute on the flight. At 2.50 am Singapore airport is pretty much deserted, but sleeping was still a problem as all the seats in the airport are made of hard plastic and made as uncomfortable as possible. I ended up stretching out in the handicapped toilet. Luckily Singapore is a very clean place and that includes airport toilets. I still had to drag myself through half a day as I could only check into my hotel after noon and had to take more naps in handicapped museum toilets.

But after a decent nap things went uphill pretty quickly. Singapore is a very expensive place, especially for accommodation, but food is cheap. Especially if you come from Australia. There are food courts everywhere and you can get almost any food. Therefore most of my sightseeing consists of visiting various food courts and eating my way through every food stall.
Tacky Buddhist theme park

Singapore is the most cosmopolitan place I have ever been to. To give you an example: My hotel is next to a Catholic church, opposite a synagogue and further up the road is a Hindu temple and a Buddhist temple. And next door is a food court and another one 200 meters away.... Because there are so many ethnicities here the common language is English. Everyone speaks English, albeit with a rather weird accent. But everything is also translated into Chinese (70% of Singaporeans are of Chinese origin), Malay and Hindi.

War cemetary
Singapore is sort of Asia light: Fantastic food, lets of temples and colorful neighborhoods, but all is very clean and safe - although expensive, but I have mentioned that before. Being a dutiful tourist I visited all the flash museums - and I can assure you, they are very flash. In the National Museum you even get your personal multimedia gadget that guides you around. Most fascinating for me is Singapore's history: Singapore was a swamp with not much on it before the British discovered it as a safe port. They developed Singapore as a trading port and it flourished until the Japanese occupied it in 1942. The British surrender was signed in a Ford car factory, which has now been transformed into the most fascinating museum. I always feel ashamed in Asia that I know so little about Asian history. I thought I had learnt everything about WWII in Asia while in Japan in 2009, but the Singapore/Malaysia history was pretty new to me. And right now? Singapore seems to be some sort of democratic dictatorship which might explain why the modern art scene is sort of very tame.

There are only two bad things about Singapore: It is expensive and the hot and humid climate makes it feel like a steam sauna. Whenever I left an air conditioned bus or museum my glasses would fog up..... I am moving on to Malaysia now, where the climate will be the same, but at least it will be cheaper!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No Walking in Singapore?
D