Published: July 28th 2011July 26th 2011
I arrived in Singapore Sunday evening. To say that going from East Africa to Singapore is a culture shock does not even scratch the surface. I think that was actually the most culture shocked I've ever been in my life. Tanzania was amazing - the people were wonderful, the streets were dirty, the drivers were maniacs & the terrain was beautiful, rugged and/or remote. Like, we spent 3.5 hours driving across dirt one day ('dirt road' is too generous a description for what we were on). The cleanest I felt in my 3 weeks in Africa was backpacking on the mountain (where i went 8 days without showering).
Then to arrive in Singapore. The airport was immaculate. And seemingly deserted. I have a new PR for getting through customs - I think from the plane to out of the shower at the hotel took less than 2 hours.
Yes, Singapore is an efficient society. And you can probably get from one end of this city to the other without ever leaving a shopping mall. The malls are busy (probably because they are throughways), high end, and clean. After 3 weeks of filth (and i mean that in the nicest possible way), it's wonderful to be clean. I get giddy every time I look at my toes. They aren't black anymore.
That being said, I really do miss Tanzania. We had delicious home cooked meals the majority of the trip. People I had never met before in my life looked after my well-being as if I were their child. We were genuinely welcomed almost everywhere we went. People were incredibly patient with my attempts at Swahili & my ridiculous Swanglish. That language has clung to me - I still think meme nimeshiba after a delicious meal in a Singapore mall food court. I miss the ndizi (banana). And the nanasi (pineapple). And the embe! (mango) Anyone considering a trip to Tanzania, I would highly recommend it. Anyone considering a trek up Kilimanjaro, I would HIGHLY recommend it. (on a side note I would also HIGHLY recommend doing some research on the guide company you use & how the porters are treated, but that’s a blog for another day. Or a conversation over an IPA :)
Aside from my reflection on the last 3 weeks, Singapore is going well so far. Haven't had a chance to check out the city/island much but hoping to this weekend. I'm in a hotel for now, moving to an apt Aug
1. We have a 4 day weekend the 2nd weekend in August & I just booked a flight to Kuching, Malaysia…don’t know a ton about it, but I believe I can get some nature here.
I hope everyone is doing well! I miss you guys!