Monday, November 29, 2010

Leave the gum at customs

Being in Singapore almost felt like we had left Asia.  This is largely due to the people living there - a large part of the population (42% wikipedia tells me) are foreigners.  Walking down the street you see people from all over the world, and we heard languages ranging from Chinese to French with a lot of English.  On our hotel TV there was a channel in Chinese, one in English, one in an India language (I'm not sure which) with a variety of subtitles on each.  We also felt the British influence - people drive on the left, signs ask people to queue, and people spoke in British English.

The city was pristine (except for that gum I ironically stepped in after our cab driver told us it is true that gum is not allowed in Singapore). The metro was easy to use to get around the city.  Everybody was very nice and helpful.  All things that make for a great trip.  And it was a great trip.  Except... the malls.  Now I admit our hotel was located on Orchard Road, the shopping area, so our vision of Singapore may be skewed compared to others'.  But there seemed to be malls where ever we went.  Upscale, really nice, expensive malls.  On a 15 minute walk home we counted 3 Dolce and Gabbana stores.  The feeling of constant consumerism wore me out.

What did we love about Singapore?  The food, the diversity, the colors, the pretty authentic feel of the Little India area, the reverse bungee ride, and the view of the city at night.  And amidst all those malls were Christmas trees and decorations, which, being a sucker for Christmas decor, I loved.

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