Singapore Sling

Trip Start Jul 28, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Hotel Royal @ Queens

Flag of Singapore  ,
Monday, April 7, 2008

Singapore.  Wow!  What a cool city.

Singapore is an Asian city but run on Western principles of law and order, due to its previous stint as a British colony.  The people of Singapore are a mixture of Chinese, Indian, Malaysian, Indonesian, and other Southeast Asian nationalities.  Walking around, you notice quite a variety of skin and hair colors...and not segregated from each other, but intermingled as far as I could see.  An interesting change from the monochrome of China.

Singapore is clean.  Singapore is strict (as you may remember from our young American graffiti artist friend who got caned there a few years back.)  Upon arriving, we were told in no uncertain terms that the penalty for bringing drugs into the country guessed it...death. For its strictness, the Singapore government is also highly effective.  The city runs like clockwork.  People don't litter.  People don't jaywalk.  People don't spit outdoors.  People don't smoke indoors.  Packs of cigarettes contain graffic pictures of people with smoking-related cancer.  (Super gross!) In the shopping malls, of which there are a lot, they hire people to stand and wipe down the escalator handrails with disinfectant cloths. (NJ would be so proud!)

I noticed no poverty or homelessness while I was there.  Everything appeared to be in its place.  Buildings and public spaces were impeccably maintained.  Nothing looked old.  There were tropical gardens and fountains everywhere.  Even in the airport.  Incidentally, the Singapore airport was recently voted best airport in the world for efficiency and attractiveness.  Overall, the customer service in Singapore is excellent.  All of the above was a welcome contrast to China.  As one of my Chinese friends put it, coming back to Beijing, I went from one of the most hygienic cities in the world to one of the least.  Singapore, is, of course, a lot more expensive than China.

Other than that, it must be mentioned that Singapore is hot!  It's right on the equator.  It has equal hours of night and day...everyday...all year long.  Crazy.

In sum, I had a fantastic three days in Singapore.  I especially enjoyed watching uncensored CNN in our hotel, so I got to watch Olympic torch relay protests around the world.  For those of you contemplating an Asian tour, I highly recommend Singapore as a vibrant and exciting Asian city, but with all the comforts of home...and then some.
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