Today’s post is starting out with an early morning airplane selfie… the shine in my eyes showing my excitement to be flying again after so many bus journeys lately! (Well, that, and also I think I had a grease smudge on my camera from my breakfast croissantwich. Tempted to leave the smudge – who needs a fancy beautifying app when a fingerprint over the lens hides wrinkles?!)
Said flight was on JetStar Pacific, taking us from Ho Chi Minh to Singapore. The final destination of the day was actually Phuket, but we broke up our travels with a long layover – just enough time to get a feel for the city highlights.
With 6 hours to spare, the first thing we did after clearing customs in Singapore was drop our backpacks at the Left Luggage lockers and bought a train ticket to get ourselves downtown. (One little asside I’ll mention here: even though the individuals we met in Singapore were all very lovely, customer service staff seemed less inclined to be helpful. At the airport and again at the station we would get to the front of a line only to be told in a disinterested voice to “go to the counter there”. This happened about 6 different times!)
Finally on the train I alternated between idly people-watching the commuters and reading the notices posted on the walls. I wanted to show you, but one of the first signs I saw said No Taking Pictures. While on the train it’s also important not to talk loudly or obscenely, don’t carry strong smelling food, no eating or drinking ($500 fine), no smoking ($1000 fine), no flammable goods ($5000 fine). The effort to create a utopian state seems to work from a quick glance by an outsider; but later in the day our cabbie seemed to hint the control went a bit to far. He said there are people out to watch all the time and will report anyone for the slightest infraction. I’m curious, but I don’t know enough about the freedoms or lack thereof in the country to question for further comment.
This may seem strange after the previous sentence, but I couldn’t help but love Singapore while I was there. I felt like I could easily live in the bustling downtown as an expat for a year or two, near a beautiful harbour and world famous gardens. I just might google job opportunities in Singapore when I get home….
When Tricia and I first left the train and began walking around Marina Bay I couldn’t stop ooohing over it all. I saw joggers on the boardwalk around the bay, and busy business people taking their lunch breaks on outdoor patios. The gardens, of course, and the museums and the skyscrapers with cranes and cruise ships docked in the distance. It was love at first sight for me. Like any new love, in my besottedness I made some bad decisions; namely ordering an $18 drink just because I wanted a Singapore Sling in Singapore. I could feel the bartender rolling his eyes at me from my table outside, but the waiter was happy! I didn’t even like the drink, now I’m the one rolling my eyes at myself….
I wish I had captured more photos, but I chose to leave my camera behind and walk around lighter for the day. So you might not know it from this post but I still remember: Singapore is a beautiful place!