Published: March 8th 2009March 8th 2009
Met Marisol (far right) while I was shopping for pearls. :) Totally friendly and we became friends immediately.
When I first heard about Singapore, I envisioned the British East India Trading Company meets old school trade route port. Boy was I in for a rude awakening. This place was like going into one of the burroughs of New York, but on a totally different scale.
I flew from San Diego to LA to Tokyo to Singapore where the guy I relieved, Salvatore D'amato (or Sal) came to pick me up. Taxis are the main way to travel besides the SMRT (railway/subway), so with my luggage we took a taxi. What an experience that was in itself. It's after midnight and our taxi driver is falling asleep at the wheel! Somehow me managed to arrive safely at the base. The Navy Lodge was full, so I just stayed with Sal, he had double beds and I was just exhausted.
The next morning I awoke to a terrible screaming coming from outside. What the hell, right? Who's killing whom? Turns out to be a family of monkeys coming out of the rainforest and they're just being loud. The troup had a couple of very, VERY small babies. Sooo cute, made it worth waking up too early.
Small Building with Giant One
I thought this was a good contrast with the different era buildings.
Singapore is made up of four major ethnic groups and about 10 different religions. It really struck me how everyone got along so well, the Hindu sitting next to the Christian sitting next to the Muslim, etc. I wish the rest of the world would take note from this tiny country. People always seem to make fun of all the rules in Singapore. No chewing gum, no eating or drinking on the transportation system. No this, no that... you know what though? It makes for a damn happy city and everything is clean and organized. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. Though I did miss chewing gum... a LOT.
So, there are the Chinese, Malay, Indian and Peranakan majorities with some Arab and Westerners along for the ride. The Peranakan is also called "Straits Chinese", a mixture of the small strait islands peoples and the Chinese traders that would go through there and take wives. Though you wouldn't think of them as a large or separate population, they certainly have their own culture in Singapore. There are more temples than I knew what to do with. I can't wait to go back to take more photos,
I got a little sidetracked and didn't photograph very much but I'll be there again. Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist temples... mosques... old buildings from the British rule... rainforests! Major languages are Mandarin, English, Malay and Tamil. This is my kind of place, a little bit of everything.
There was some very good and some very bad food there, but I'll focus on the good. Holy moly, they have amazing Indian food!!! I went to a place called Muthu's Curry twice. :) Yummy. Also, some of the best Chinese food as well. I had a chili crab which reminded me a lot of Thai food with it's saucy coating that would be oh-so-good soaked up in some rice. I heard there was some great Thai food too, just didn't get to it.
The people are extremely friendly, I made a few friends just by walking around... and they were women! Totally unusual for me, I know, but at least I knew they weren't being friendly just to hit on me. I would go back here again and again... so much to do and see, though a little expensive. You have to know how to haggle a bit, can
get frustrating. Pretty much everyone speaks English!
There are more photos below