Greetings from Singapore!
Singapore is both a city and a country and the details don’t matter – it’s great! Singapore was love at first sight. Or rather, love at first walk around. Before my visit, all I really knew about Singapore was that you can’t chew gum here. Leaving, I’m so much more fascinated and really excited to come back.
The country is an interesting case study in progress. It will celebrate its 50th year of independence next year and in those short 50 years has gone from a fishing village to a legitimate first world country. Downtown is a massive testament to the progress, while I stayed in a more hipster area nearby, that felt like the Denver of Singapore. Most people I’ve seen classify it as another concrete jungle and skippable, but I whole-heartedly disagree. I found it to be an amazing blend of big city progress with an incredible mix of preserved cultures.
Hands down, the best public transportation I have ever experienced (Boston, you’re pretty close tho
ugh). Everything was logical, easy to access, frequent, cheap and air conditioned. What more could you want? Dear world, study Singapore’s public transit and copy. ASAP. It’s amazing, too, what impact that has on getting people around. There’s hardly any traffic (also because apparently getting a license to purchase a car is hella expensive) and people feel like they can get anywhere easily and quickly (and cheaply).
When I posted my first pic of Singapore, one of the first responses was from a friend who said that it’s in his top 5 eating destinations. I thought, “Chef being Chef.” But holy cow. The food here is incredible. Now, being a big, huge, flash city, you can get any type of food at any level of service that you want. But as always, hitting the streets for food proved best.
They are famous for hawker stalls, which are a congregation of food stalls, each with their own offering. Walk around and you can get pretty much anything you want, for less than $3. I went with vegetarian noodles and sweet potato balls. Perfect. Homemade lemon tea? Divine. Blueberry juice for $1? Fluffy pancake stuffed with peanuts? Pulled tea? Chicken rice? Wow, wow, wow and wow.
I got dared to go to a specific Indian restaurant and try minimum level 3 spice. But when I got there, level 6 on the board said, “I dare you,” so…obviously went for a level 6. You actually can’t order level 7 without being invited (an invite you earn by completing level 6), and it has to be a full moon. I suffered through the 65,000+ scovilles of level 6 and have a standing invitation to come back for a full moon. I’ll sit on that one for a while…
I also got dared to try durian. All I knew about durian is that it supposedly smells bad. So how bad could it actually be? Terrible. It tasted like some weird fleshy combination of a not-yet-ripe pineapple, roasted chicken and onions, and maybe peanut butter? We’ll check that one off the list, and never go back.
This was a fun week with How Dare She because the US Embassy in Singapore and the hostel played along, reaching out to their followers via Facebook for ideas of what to see in the city and dares to take on. Which is where the spice and durian dares came from, but also advice to check out Bukit Brown Cemetery, see the orchid gardens at the Botanic Gardens, try butter coffee at Heap Seng Leong (small coffee shop in a hawker stall area) and chew gum (gasps!).
It was also fun as I met another travel blogger, Hannah (Eat Sleep Breathe Travel), with whom I’ve been internet friends for almost a year. So finally meeting in person was awesome. This community of travelers is amazing in the ways that friendships start with a shared interest online, and then get sealed meeting in person. She also co-took over the social pages for our hostel with me, which meant we had lots of fun together, and connecting with other travelers.
This week was also semi-success in terms of travel gear and checking some tasks off the list, given that Singo has everything a girl could want. I got my camera fixed and finally picked up a water zapper (what I will continue to call it because for some reason I CANNOT remember UV water purifier). I also followed my mother’s instructions to do something fun with my birthday money, and I’m sure you’ll figure out what it was when you see the next picture of me.
Did I sneak into the infinity pool at the top of Marina Bay Sands? Not this time my friends. But I’m not going to consider it a fail, because I didn’t really try. Circumstances put the timing off, so we’ll just call that one a delay. I’m guessing based on my love for the city, that I’ll be back.