Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A visit to Singapore - first report

I arrived in Singapore at 12:30 AM "today" (whatever that really means; I am not sure right now, having passed the international date line). Now it is 8:30 PM and I am totally exhausted. I flew for about 20 hours on Thursday-Friday, passing through Tokyo. That was rather grueling, and I had upgrades. I will be doing two days of training for Oracle Corporation on Mon-Tue, then on to Sydney on Wed (7 more hours of flying) and more training there, then Melbourne, then Auckland and then home. I'm really looking forward to the flight home. Well, I am looking forward (already) to being back home, but the flight? No...not really looking forward to that.

Singapore has a reputation for being a very safe and clean place, which is achieved at least in part by very strict enforcement of laws. I saw a bit of this on the immigration form I had to fill out to enter the country. Large red letters on one side said:

WARNING
DEATH TO DRUG TRAFFICKERS
UNDER SINGAPORE LAW

Anyway, I spent today walking around Singapore, riding their beautiful and very crowded Metro, and melting a bit in the heat. It is mid-80s here. When I was in Chicago I relished the thought of going to a warm place. The lack of snow and shivers really is nice, but it is also taking its toll on me. Hopefully I will be better adjusted tomorrow, Sunday, when I plan to visit a big nature preserve, among other things.

Singapore is a busy, vibrant, crowded, clean city. It also feels a little bit like a big Disneyland island, full of parks and resorts that offer quasi-pretend, constructed environments in which tourists (and there are lots of us, it seems) and citizens can "experience" things, including: Underwater World, Jurong BirdPark, Night Safari, Sentosa Island (a whole, small island south of the main island full of resorts and constructed beaches and so on), Snow City (!!!! - "Singapore's first permanent indoor snow centre"), Chinese Gardens, Japanese Gardens, Malay Village, etc.

And then there are the shopping malls. There are lots of malls. Big ones, upscale ones (and I am sure lots of less upscale ones in neighborhoods I have not visited), and they are all very crowded. The taxi cab driver from the airport told me that I could still get lots of good deals right now because the Chinese New Year is approaching and there are lots of sales.

....................

Well...now it is Wed and I am waiting to board a flite to Sydney. 7.5 more hours on the plane. I will write more about my time here - it was great, especially my visit to Bukit Timah - http://www.nparks.gov.sg/nature_bukit.asp.

But in the meantime, you can see all my photos (most without any descriptive info, sorry) at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/60694364@N00/sets/72157603727281231/?photo_deleted=2195886325


1 comment:

Michael said...

Looks like this was a cool place to visit. I envy your travels Steven.