Saturday, January 21, 2012

Around the World: Singapore

January 21, 1992

Today's tour of Singapore was done on foot.  I'm not sure quite what I was expecting from a large city on a small island nation, but it doesn't feel packed-in-crowded or overwhelmingly chaotic like Bangkok.  There are comfortable, open green spaces, wide streets, wide sidewalks, and everything in its place.  The neat and tidy, I was fully expecting as Singapore regards littering as a serious offense, serious enough to cost the offender several thousand dollars in fines and many hours of humiliating community service.  Even chewing gum in public can earn the bubble blowing culprit a $50 fine.

Street in Singapore
Photo by zze

There is much to like about Singapore.  English is the official language, it is a city designed for shopping and people are as courteous as one might expect any urban dwelling citizen to be.  What I really love about Singapore is what we have in common.  A wholehearted detest for durian (king) fruit.  See! It's not just me, there's a whole country that appreciates the absence of that death-in-a-bag smell.

Singapore has a very low incidence of drug trafficking and drug use in the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia and is regarded as one of the safest cities in the world.  It's relaxing to explore the city on foot, window shop, admire statues and fountains and stop for the occasional snack or break.  There is no shortage of closed circuit cameras mounted in plain view throughout the city.  Although it's always wise to be cautious, I feel quite safe here.

The airport offers a free city tour, so I'll take in what I can on my own and enjoy the tour tomorrow while I wait for the flight to Jakarta.  I don't know if I'm looking forward to spending more time with Harvey, but Anna has offered to lighten my backpack by bringing a few things home with them.  In the meantime, I'll enjoy the fresh, durian free air and the sanctuary of Singapore while it lasts.

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"Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.
~Anthony J. D'Angelo