Far, far from Asia

Trip Start Apr 06, 2007
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Trip End Nov 18, 2007


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Flag of Singapore  ,
Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Singapore is a country, a city and a island. At 4 million it has the same population as Ireland but at 700km square it is the size of Islay. Despite the mixed reports I'd heard my way south (everywhere is what you make it) I expected a cool city despite, especially with such cool facts. I was not disappointed in the slightest.

After hopping on and off the bus 4 times at immigration stops on the causeway across to Singapore the bus then drove into the city. Being just 85 miles north of the equator the island is covered in greenery, in and out of the city. Greenest city I've been to.

I stayed in Little India which was cool. Lowrise, modest colonial terrace streets with walkways underneath packed with shop wares and fruit markets. Indian beats could be heard from stereos in the markets. Its the cleanest India your ever going to visit.

I got the subway into the central business district and was more overwhelmed with huge skyscrapers than KL or Bangkok. I could see nothing but buildings, having to crank my neck to see the blue sky. The streets were rubbish free and the pavements had almost no black splodges of chewing gum (chewing gum is illegal in Singapore). The greenery was pristinely kept and the public spaces were neat and sharp. Singapore lacked a human touch. But architecturally it comes close to the top European cities. I found myself at one skyscraper, then at another I'd spotted and then I'd find a nice lowrise building. I walked all day. The colonial buildings and Chinese temples made the city even more interesting sat right against the ultra modern stuff.

There was even cheap stall food in a Chinese food court. This completely destroyed any mental preparation for, compared to the last 6 months in Asia, extortionate prices of Australia. Here I had an interesting and, with an open mind and palette, delicious desert: crushed ice with various sauces served with sweetcorn, kidney beans, rice noodles and crushed nuts.

Plenty of travellers dislike Singapore, dismissing it as boring. Singapore was a business city where conversation was always unlikely to sporadically happen and character was hard to find unlike other SE Asian cities/countries. I appreciated it for what it is: a Westernised, cosmoplitan city with great modern architecture. I really want to go back.

So a great end to Asia even though you could be a million miles from it. There are so many things I will miss from Asia: the attention, the markets, food stalls, friendliness, love of football, chopsticks, the native clothing, lack of table manners, expense, hospitality, being the only blue eyes around, buddhism, Islam, monsoon, animals everywhere, children everywhere. And they're just things off the top of my head. If I were to look through photos, my blog and my journal I could write pages of things that are constant in Asia and will be sorely missed.

From Singapore it was a 4 hr plane journey to Darwin in the very north of Australia. I wasn't looking forward too much to Australia, theres no way it can live up to Asia.
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Comments

grantrough
grantrough on

Yup, your right, no inspiration
Man, the art school looks amazing! kinda thing you would never see around here. I cant believe the drug laws! careful you dont accidentaly put something in your pocket, you dont wana loose your wee head!

mum-n-dad
mum-n-dad on

Singapore - no chewin' the fat...or gum
Singapore seemed...nice in a glass & steel sort of way...bit like the Gorbals without the chewing gum! I used to go running (yeah, me) with a guy called Tam (thiam po ng) from Singapore when at yooni who could do double integration in his head...definitely his kind of town Singapore! Hope you survived the culture clash / dive of Darwin. I had my own wee culture clash the other night...watching the Rangers-Barcelona game in an Irish bar and survived...well only two of us watching and it was in Hamburg - as far east as I get.

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