3 days in the City-State
17.03.2006 36 °C
After my two months in New Zealand I traveled to Singapore on the 15th of March via a brief 3 hr. stopover in Brisbane, Australia. I spent three days in Singapore and found it to be almost like two cities in one, a very clean and efficient and organized city of skyscrapers and modern office buildings and the old rundown districts of Chinese temples, cheap food stalls and winding alleyways.
The population is a fascinating mix of Chinese, Indian and Malaysian with plenty of European Ex-pats (mostly British due to the fact that Singapore was a British colony for a century or so). In terms of religion there are Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, Christians, Shiks and even one congregation all in Singapore and I spent my time visiting the various mosques and temples and soaking up the mix of faiths. The food, one of the highlights of my time in Singapore, was amazingly cheap and excellent - about US $1.50 for a great dinner of fried rice, spicy laksa noodle soup or Indian curries. The weather was increadibly hot and humid being less than 2 degrees north of the equator.
There is a tradition of caged birds singing however, and I was rather disturbed by the massive amount of tropical birds being sold in tiny little cages (PETA would have a field day here). I bought a pair and released them in a park, which is also a tradition that is supposed to bring good luck.
The whole business disctict has been laid out according to Chinese Feng Sui principles and particularly designed for generating wealth and good business. Singapore is one of the most prosperous places in Asia so there must be something to their design.
While I was there the Queen of England paid a visit to her former Colony. She was staying at the very expensive Raffels Hotel and I wandereing in late one night to check it out and may have gotten too close to Her Majesty. Six security guards swarmed around me in a hallway (although politely) and escorted me back downstairs. It was all rather amuzing.
My favorite spot was the Botanic gardens which feature orchid and epiphyte gardens, serene lakes, rainforest paths and even a five senses garden.