Welcome to Singapore!

Trip Start Jan 06, 2008
Trip End May 10, 2008

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Flag of Singapore  ,
Monday, January 7, 2008

Lauren and I have been using these first few days in Singapore to get settled and absorb the culture.  Singapore is very clean, ultra modern, and filled with people and shopping.  In general, the people here are very friendly and willing to help.  Everywhere you look, there are signs reminding people to "Be Courteous" or "Be Gracious."  The weather here is warm and humid.  The temperature is nice, but the humidity takes some getting used to.  It feels nice at night, though.  I just always feel like I'm on vacation...

Everyone in Singapore speaks English, which is convenient.  It seems like everyone has a different accent though.  The other night we were hanging out with one of my friends from USC who is from Singapore and a group of her friends from high school, and each one of them had a distinctly different accent.  I asked why everyone had a different accent, and they said that one girl's was the most authentically Singaporean.  They were all born and raised in Singapore, so I don't really know what that means.  People here speak "Singlish," which is just mostly English with a few Malay and Chinese words thrown in.

The food here is a little scary.  I get weirded out by meat pretty easily, so many of the dishes don't look too appetizing.  Surprsingly they don't have many vegetarian options, except Indian food, which I don't really like.  I asked my friend what kind of foods I should try given my pickiness, and she recommended many, but I can't remember what any of them are called.  It's hard to remember words you don't recognize.  The malls all have huge food courts, so potentially there should be something good.  I tend to get overwhelmed by how huge they are and end up going with something that looks safe, but looks can be decieving.  I've ended up with a few mystery poultry dishes.  The fruit here is really delicious though, so I eat a lot of pineapple.

Here in Singapore, the government is all about public service announcements.  In the MRT station they had video announcements reminding us to "Be Vigilant" and showing graphic pictures of transportation bombings and other terrorist attacks around the world.  So apparently Singapore is full of subway vigilantes.  They also have ones reminding you to have bars on your windows so children don't fall out, and to keep rain ducts and other places where standing water collects dry so that mosquitos don't nest there.

Another strange thing is that people don't really have dryers, they hang their clothes out to dry.  It's really humid here, so it isn't very effective.  We're going to try to find a laundromat or something with dryers.

The shopping here is fantastic.  They have ginormous malls with every imaginable type of store all over the main part of the city.  Unfortunately, Singapore isn't super cheap like the rest of Southeast Asia.  You can still find some good deals though.  All the malls are accessible by MRT and connected underground.  It's amazing.  I love it.  I have to remember to save some money for traveling though...
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