First stop in “Asia”, Singapore

So my visit to singapore was short lived. I was only in town for a few days. I was excited to visit Asia for the first time and seeing as my friend just moved here a few months ago, I figured this was a good place to start. He works in the film industry in a managerial role for a visual effects studio.

I came into singapore with really no idea of what to expect. I had seen some pictures but really have spent more time focused on other parts of the trip like Europe and Thailand. So, with no expectations I arrived in Sinagpore around 5pm, picked up some sim cards for my cell phone and mifi and headed to my buddies place. It was about 25-30 minutes from the airport and the cab cost around 35 singapore dollars (.80 USD = 1 Singapore Dollar). I was pleasantly surprised by how many people in my initial interactions spoke pretty good english. It turns out that english is the official language in Singapore.

girl in broken tooth buddha temple in singapore

I immediately noticed that Singapore looked a lot like a western city. Big buildings, lots of familiar car brands, etc. The skyline is beautiful for sure and the new installations of the Marina Bay Sands and the Art and Science Center and the Gardens by the Bay are really nice standouts against an already well developed skyline. The city just looks very modern.

I got to my buddies place around 7, dropped my bags and we went to a local Hawker Center (Holland Village) to grab some dinner. Hawker centers are “organized street food” locations. They are often located close to malls (or in malls) and could best be compared to a food court. The food is generally inexpensive but a lot of the hawker centers have really good food options. Holland village was about 15 minutes by bus from my buddies place and he had an extra metro card/pass for me (which I loaded up later). We got to holland village and order our food. I don’t remember what we ate, didnt take a picture, and didn’t write it down. I’m a terrible person and I’m sorry. We got back to the apartment, had some drinks and called it a night. I had a busy day of sightseeing ahead, so no worries.

Monday rolled around and it was raining, again. It’s the rainy season in Singapore and with humidity of 70+% it rained every day while I was here. Normally its a short, florida, like rain but it rained pretty much the whole morning. I figured that I would only be in Singapore once so I grabbed an umbrella and headed out. I visited all major sites, Little India, China Town, Marina Bay Sands, a couple of temples, etc. It was an interesting day. I ended up by the MBS where I spent 30 minutes in a bathroom stall sewing the torn crotch on my pants (yup!) and then went to the bar to grab a drink. I met a really interesting guy who lives in Indonesia and works at a a “gold mine village”. Apparently it’s the largest gold mine in the world and they have a village built in the jungle to support the people that work there and manage it…. OK. I left the hotel, got some more photograph done and met up with my buddy for dinner and drinks. We met at a Dim Sum place called Din Tai Fung. It was really good and we had a few orders of dim sum, a soup, some spinach and some kind of crab filled doughball things which were really good.

Tuesday we had planned on going to the bird park and then doing some more sightseeing but it was literally just too hot. We decided instead to go to a local hawker stand at Clementi and grab lunch. (ask harrison what we got). We met up with a friend that I had met in Buffalo for dinner and went to a Hokkien Chinese restaurant called, Beng Hiang Restaurant.

Beng Hiang Restaurant Food:

1) Ngo Hiang and Hei Zou–This is in Hokkien Chinese Dialect

(Chinese Five-Spice Pork Roll and Fried Prawn Rolls)

2) Roasted Chicken with sea salt

3) Stir-fried Chinese Spinach with Garlic

4) Kou Rou Bao (Stew Pork Belly Bun)

All the food here was really good and it felt like an authentic meal. They had one of those lazy susans in the middle of the table which I loved! I don’t understand why they don’t have those everywhere in the states. I’d totally get all lazy on susan.

Rascal’s and Long Bar:

So apparently this guy Rascal was a real go getter and is responsible for much of the Singapore that we see today. (google him for more info, I’m in a car right now without wifi). One of the places we visited is Rascal’s Hotel and the grounds are really beautiful. They have a bar there that is a big tourist trap called Long Bar where they apparently invented the Singapore Sling. It’s a nice place and they serve you peanuts in the shell on the table that you can crack open and toss on the floor. I guess that is a real novelty in Singapore. We didn’t have the slings but I had a nice Old Fashion. It was good but really pricey (about $25/drink). We had one and took off.

Some other things I noticed about Singapore:

There are no cops… like ANYWHERE. It’s very strange. But I felt safe almost the entire time (Little India is a bit ‘seedy’)
Booze is VERY expensive

There is construction going on EVERYWHERE with housing/condo developments going up all over the place

The country is like a melting pot and 3 different cultures co-exist

People have to pay 80,000(ish) Singapore dollars every 5 years for the RIGHT to have a car, plus the cost of the car.

The metro (subways and buses) are really easy to use and pretty convenient.

Cabs are pretty inexpensive. I went from the airport which is all the way east in Singapore to my friends which is on the other side of the city for $25 SGD.

The city is super clean

 

Overall, the trip was interesting. I don’t know that I would go back though. I was looking for ASIA and I don’t think I really go it there. I’m writing this post in Thailand and THIS is Asia! This is what I was looking for.

Pictures below!!

marina bay sands in singapore marina bay sands and the art and science museum in singapore lamps in little india in singapore more lamps in little india in singapore a dummy in chinatown in singapore a girl working in a shop in singapore's chinatown a sign in a shop in singapore some masks hanging from the ceiling in a singapore shop a guy working in a shop in singapore some candles at the buddha tooth relic temple a god statue at the buddha tooth temple in singapore a peaceful statue in the buddha tooth temple in singapore some books on a table at the buddha tooth relic temple in sinapore the buddha tooth relic temple in singapore

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