Published: January 28th 2012January 28th 2012
I landed in Singapore at 3:35 am. I could have waited until 7:00 or 8:00 to take a tour directly from the airport – however I wouldn’t have been able to leave the bus. Instead I decided to go through customs and take a cab into town. Before that I called my parents via Google Voice. Google Voice is a great way to make free calls from your computer. My parents even claimed that it was clear than when I call them using AT&T. I’m so glad that it worked. Before I left I got a dedicated number so I can use it from anywhere and it’s just as if I was calling from the US. This is probably the first major difference from my European trips. Thirteen years ago I had to buy a phone card to make calls. I didn’t even have a cell phone at that time. Often I would watch my account balance on the phone card drop as the call was going through or when an answering machine picked up. I could easily burn through half a card doing that if I was just trying to say a quick hello. With Google Voice (or Skype), all
you need is a Wifi connection – no costs. I also have my iPhone in case I need to make a call, but hopefully won’t need to. Having an iPhone with the apps I have is also another major difference from my European trip. Some of the apps I have are for a flashlight, currency converter, flight and hotel apps that I can book on, the State Department’s SMART traveler app, calendar, weather, bank accounts, camera, video camera, news, contacts, international clocks, notes, calculator, medical reference, translator, games, and books.
Singapore was very impressive. From the start I knew these people had their stuff together. The airport (Terminal 1) is one if the nicest I’ve seen. They had free computers kiosks you could use right off from the gates. The terminal was just plain huge. Not like LaGuardia where you can jump and touch the ceilings if you really wanted to. It was also immaculately clean.
After storing my two bags for S$7.00 I took a cab downtown. This place is more American than America. You can’t walk a block without passing a Starbucks, McDonalds, Wendy’s, Coffee Bean, or Baskin Robins. Singapore reminded me of so many places.
From the Singapore Flyer
It’s as clean as any northern European city and about as hot and humid as Miami. At 6:00 am I was sweating from walking. I decided to call my brother using our Facetime iPhone feature since I was using the Starbucks wifi. Singapore is very connected. If you live there or just have a phone there you get free wifi.
My main goal in my twelve-hour layover was to take a city tour bus around town that I could get on and off as I pleased. Since I had a few hours to kill I decided to walk up and down Orchard Road. This road had every major European fashion house represented. I walked around until about 9:00 am when the bus tours started. I went to a hotel to inquire about the tours and they allowed me to hop on their bus to the main terminal. There were three routes and you could take as many as you pleased, getting on and off as you wished. I was able to take two of the routes, which provided me the opportunity too see most of the historic sites, financial center, and other unique finds in Singapore. The last thing
I did before I left was to go on the Singapore Flyer
, the largest Ferris wheel in the world. It provided great views of the city. After that I was off to the airport to catch my plane to Bali.