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Published: August 4th 2013
Even before stepping out of the airport you know you're not in your typical Asian city. A city where one in six people are millionaires including Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin. Everything is profit driven here, the president made 3 million dollars last year AND gets a bonus based on the country's gross domestic product! Lots of very wealthy people take up residence in Singapore because the highest tax rate is 20%!a(MISSING)nd there is no capital gains tax. The cleanliness and efficiency that are hallmarks of Singapore can be felt even passing through immigration where there was a surprising bowl of candy for people entering. Don't mind if I do. No gum though, it's not illegal to chew it, but it is
is illegal to sell it! The mass rapid transit (MRT) system has been stretched all the way out to the airport, making our life easy as our Couchsurfing (C.S.) host lived just off the red line. It was still an hours journey though, and I can't imagine having tried to do it at any of the rush hours. For all it's organization and efficiency, maintenance of the country's MRT system has faltered in recent times (http://goo.gl/QqEmqr
Yee-Pin lived about 45 minutes from downtown in a nice 3 bedroom apartment that he payed U.S. prices for ($2000+ a month). He was one of the best C.S. hosts I have had, and they've all been good. The first night he treated us to a local delicacy, chili crab with rice. The following day we toured around the city with our host. Singapore is a melting pot of Asia culture, so we checked out Little India and had some great southern Indian food before wandering around the colorful district called Arab street. This was a lively place with the states oldest mosque and lots of narrow lanes full of shopping and dining options. On one such lane that exhibited Singapore's only legal graffiti (click here to find out why you don't want to break that law http://goo.gl/G3bH01
), we treated Yee-Pin to his first sheesha session. We chose a refreshing blend of mint and guava tobacco for our smoke session and sipped fresh lime juice and tea until the heat of the day wore off. That evening we went to watch a trippy water/light show in front of the harbor. Then we walked nearly three quarters of the way
This one is for you Mom!
around it, checking out the art/science museum, the opera house and finally finishing our tour by a large lion's head fountain, one of the national symbols of Singapore.
Our second day was spent getting our working visas for Indonesia processed. In the late afternoon we ventured out to Singapore's botanical gardens. 183 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds as well as Singapore's last 15 acres of tropical rainforest. It was exceedingly lovely and it being the 2nd anniversary of our meeting, Ophelia and I had an amazing meal at the ginger garden restaurant. Halia is one of the top restaurants in Singapore and we had some incredibly well prepared and presented dishes and of course with wine to equal it. Definitely check them out if you're ever in Singapore with some dollars to burn (http://goo.gl/BazmkY
). Dinner was followed by a full moon walk back through the gardens and rainforest completing an exceptional outing. Next stop, JAKARTA!
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