Out and About

Our first destination was to a particular mall, to get some needed things. This would be our first exposure to Singapore’s national sport: mall shopping. The immediate blast of air conditioning upon entry was intoxicating, and reminded me of how the Tahoe casinos ply you with free drinks as long as you keep handing over your money. As with the subway, everything sparkled. The malls are modern, very clean, and bustling with people. We saw no evidence of a struggling economy; it seemed that every last person was carrying a bag or 2 or 3 of purchased items, from very stylish and contemporary stores. And mind you, Singapore is  not cheap.

We crossed the street to the famous Raffles hotel, which was probably stunning and authentic back in the day. Now it looks like the face-lift that it is, and only there for tourists. We entered the fabled bar- home of the uber-fabled “Sling” cocktail, but at something like $25 per, we used excuse #47 to quickly and politely excuse ourselves. Instead, we walked a hot block to the limited-but-still spectacular view from the top of the Swiss Hotel. We were met by a stunning look over the heart of Singapore, and which gave us our bearings.

We strolled along the tropical esplanade, sandwiched between a huge cricket field and several stunning, modern buildings off a short ways. The large, round, textured aardvark is actually a performance center, while the 3 blue towers with a long ship thingie resting on top, connecting them, must be quite the impressive resort hotel. The hypnotic sounds of tablas lead us to an Indian trio rehearsing for that evening’s performance at a white-canopied open air stage, with a fabulous backdrop. We crossed the Singapore river many times as it snakes along the financial district, where the long shadows provided some cool relief in which to marvel at the architecture and explore the many courtyards. One highlight was stumbling upon a large sculture by (fave) Salvador Dali, of Isaac Newton, which we both adored. The Chinatown district nearby was interesting -at first, but quickly turned into blocks of hawkers and souvenir kiosks. We figure that there’s more too it all, but the heat kept us moving along. Hopefully we’ll return again someday for a longer visit.

Our feet begged for mercy, so a few train stops later, we entered Little India, which immediately felt different from all that we’d seen prior. It was somewhat unkempt and dirty (by Singapore standards), and most everyone there looked Indian. It felt as close to the real deal as either of us had been, and we liked it a lot. Crowded narrow streets, stalls of flowers or produce, in between busy electronic shops and small restaurants. Groups of men surrounding the television sets, glued to the cricket match. Mosques and temples, vans and motorcycles, squeezed together, in the heat. We sat and enjoyed curry and beer, but my feet still begged for mercy. So I treated them to a massage, while Jennifer got lost searching for a particular mosque that she never found.

Another theme emerged during this, our first day out and about on this small island nation: we recognized and appreciated the diversity of Singapore. The people. The architecture. The districts. The religions. There’s a cooperative spirit that impressed us. Again: no troubles nor trouble makers.

-matt

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matts iphone 4-26-13 035

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Dad
    May 11, 2013 @ 04:24:39

    Spectacular photos, Matt. Interesting travelogue, and I would give up eggs forever unless I found an English or American eatery.
    Love to you both,
    Dad

    Reply

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