The Sterile City
Another huge change in environments for us: from Delhi, India to Singapore. While much of India is known for being dirty, Singapore is known for quite the opposite. You can’t buy chewing gum because it is banned in the city. Jaywalking is enforced extensively. Caning is still a common form of punishment – remember Michael Fay from Ohio?
Singapore is an interesting mix of cultures. It was once part of Malaysia, but because of fundamental political disagreements, Singapore became it’s own nation. Since then, many British, Chinese, and Indian people have moved there. They have four official languages and most signs are written in each of them!
The city is a bit sprawled out, so its skyline was not as impressive as I had imagined. However, the financial district’s skyline has some impressive buildings. The Marina Bay Sands Casino (shown above) is known for its rooftop garden and breathtaking views.
Right next to the Sands Casino, there is an ultra-modern garden, called the Gardens by the Bay. The high-tech, tree-shaped structures called “Supertrees” are the home of many plants while also providing lighting and cooling functions for the park. There is a suspension bridge between several of the trees, which has some great views of the city.
We stayed in Chinatown, which was decorated for a festival at the time. It was one of the best Chinatown neighborhoods I’ve been to – lots to see and plenty of tasty food.
Singapore is often cited as the best food city in Asia, which we found to be true! Chinatown seemed to be at the core of this foodie culture with its many hawker food courts. Essentially, these hawker markets are a gathering of cheap, yet tasty food stalls with a common seating area.
Super-sized shopping malls cover, seemingly, every block of the city. With Singapore’s tropical rainforest climate, they are a welcome refuge. It seems possible to walk across most of the city without leaving the air conditioning.
Some may consider Singapore lacking in culture, but I’d argue otherwise.