Felipe has already told our itinerary in Singapore, now I want to tell some of our impressions of the country-town.
We have observed that very few people that we know include Singapore in a round the world trip, and is also hard to see people saying they want to go there. But we did not want to simply stay in the transit area of the airport. We wanted to know the place we considered one of the possible options to live in the near future.
When we were planning the itinerary of this trip we included five cities that we’d like to know, because one day, maybe, we’d move over there: Sydney, Perth, Singapore, Barcelona and Rio de Janeiro. We chose these cities because they are all coastal cities, each of them, in its own way, have things that attracted us, and they have good prospects so we could find a nice job in our area.
But where did the idea of Singapore come from? Well.. Singapore is virtually an economic oasis in Southeast Asia, we heard stories of people going there with good professional offers, but above all, Singapore is just a few hours (and a few dollars) from Indonesia and Thailand. Not bad eh?! (that’s what we thought …)
Results are, as you can realize by the previous post, Singapore has proven to be much, very much, hotter than we had imagined. This seems weird coming from a Brazilian girl who’s just spent a month in Indonesia. I should be used to it. But frankly I think no one ever gets used to it.
People come out of an air conditioned place to enter another. From the apartment to the car, from the car to the office. The subway is a refrigerator and there are parts of the town where people just walk underground, blocks and blocks of galleries filled with luxury shops and, of course, air conditioning.
Could we have gone at the wrong season? No. Singapore is almost on the Equator, the temperature and humidity are constant throughout the year. The lowest temperature ever recorded there, of all time, was 19.4°C, with year average being 28°C. But even worse is the humidity, which is on average 90% in the mornings and 60% in the afternoons, and is super common to reach 100%.
As much as I like the heat, for me it was a pain.
Then you may think “but heat in an island is nice.” It turns out that Singapore is a concrete jungle. Too many buildings, a lot of concrete. I believe this is another reason for the feeling of suffocation.
When we went to Sentosa everything changed.
Seeing a little green, sand, beach, even if between a construction site and another, was a big relief and the day was a delight. Even the night, when we returned to the city, was also really enjoyable. I think we were starting to learn how to enjoy Singapore.
The Ramayana presentation that we saw by surprise was amazing and made me feel even more in love with Southeast Asia.
Ah! I also want to tell some curiosities from Singapore.
Singapore law forbids the sale of chewing gum. The reason: hygiene. Everything is extremely clean in Singapore. The streets – except in Little India – are the cleanest ever (also because it is rare to see people walking on them). The subway stations have marble and granite floors and columns, and if someone leans on one of these columns, while waiting for the train, when the person leaves there comes an employee with a cloth to clean it and get the stone shining again. Surreal.
Cleaning is also reflected in urban planning. Neat sidewalks and totally hidden power lines.
We found out that the number one leisure activity of Singaporeans is watching television. Well, you can understand that it is not so nice getting out there but, seriously, watching TV? Hmm, I think this lifestyle is not exactly for us…
It’s amazing the amount of shopping malls that we saw there. Often one after another. Always with many luxury shops. A paradise for who’s into shopping, what we definitely are not. And even more impressive is the amount of people buying, especially young people. The malls and galleries are always packed. And the world out there, empty.
Electronics are not as cheap as people think they are there. For those who come from Brazil, it can be. But coming from New Zealand, we found the prices about the same.
People looked at me in the street as if I were an alien. At least that’s how I felt.
I can not explain the reason, if it’s my white skin and blue eyes, so different from the Chinese/Indian majority there, but the fact is that I always bothered time to get dressed so as not to attract attention, even though the Chinese girls wore very short skirts, but it did not make a difference. I felt much more an ET in Singapore than anywhere else in the world.
it was nice to be in Singapore. Surely three days is a very short time and we did not see lots of interesting things there. But it was enough to know that we would not be able to live there. The heat, a geared to work for money and consumerism culture, and lack of nature in the day-to-day basis is not for us.
Just the fact of being near paradises like Bali and Thailand was not enough to convince us.
Maybe we’ll stop over there some other times, during our future trips to Southeast Asia, to check Bread Talk again, watch another show at the Esplanade and to see all that we missed. But just like this time, short stays.
P.S. As Perth also was in our first list, I might tell that we have discarded this option too, since we didn’t fall in love with Perth either. So for now.. Sydney is winning the dispute. Wellington and Curitiba are always in our hearts, of course.