I know that it's been forever and a day since I actually posted. As normal I have no excuse for this beside a general lack of anything interesting to talk about. Life is life, and I apologize for the fact that it's just not that interesting. However, no I am traveling, and that is always interesting. Well, at least it is to me and if it's interesting to me then I make sure to pass it on to you.
Where to start? Well I guess the first thing would be why I decided to spend some time in Singapore. To be totally honest this city has intrigued me for a while. What started it was when the American student was caned here in Singapore almost 15 years ago. The idea that there was a country that had such strict laws and strict interpretations of it was a revelation. In the United States we don't have very strict punishments. Here, the average fine for simple offense (jaywalking for example) is between 100 and 400 dollars. That's a ton of money for crossing a street. After the student was caned I learned a lot about the history of this city state. It is poised on the Straits of Malacca and is subsequently one of the most important shipping locations in the world. In college, I learned about the diversity and culture of Singapore, and most importantly, the food. I hate to say this but I came here to eat. The fusion of cultures has produced some of the most unique and honestly delicious food anywhere in the world. Imagine walking down a street and being able to get world class Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Thai food, all for about 3 bucks a pop. That is what I call awesome.
For anyone who watches No Reservations on the Travel Channel you will know that Bourdain considers Singapore to be as close to foodie heaven as you can get. I am starting to agree with him. Tucked away in hot humid hawker centers are simple stalls selling amazing food at dirt cheap prices. There is no excuse to go to a restaurant here. There is none at all. All you need to do is walk down a street that sells food and let your eyes, nose, and stomach guide you. You can have it all here, and there is little to no chance at food poisoning. In most of South East Asia street food is a wonderful gamble. It tastes awesome, but the chances of catching a bug significantly increase. The water, unlike almost any other South East Asian country, is drinkable out of the tap. That is a entirely rare. In fact this might be the only place in S.E.A (SouthEastAsia) that it is possible.
I find myself for the next few days located in the middle of Chinatown. My hostel being located on a street food, and about five minutes walk from one of the best hawker centers in town. For those that don't know, a hawker center is a food court. It's a cheap cheap place to get awesome food, and I do mean awesome food. My meals so far have consisted of Chicken Rice (exactly what it's name implies but the rice is out of this world good), Roast Duck with noodles, and Roast chicken with rice and braised veggies. I have yet to try the Singaporean special known as Chili Crab, but that will be taken care of tomorrow. My stomach is already growling thinking about more food. Yum, I will have to come back to this place.
Today was my first real day in Singapore. I arrived yesterday, but in truth I was worn out from my travels. Unless I am exhausted I simply cannot sleep on an airplane. Even though I took the red eye flight I only managed about two hours of sleep. Upon arrival I found my hostel and quickly met a Polish backpacker who lives in London named Mike. After I took a quick shower we headed off to get some grub (Chicken Rice). Upon return I promptly took a nap which turned out to be roughly a 5 hour affair. Waking at about 10 PM I decided to take a walk and to get accustomed to my surrounding. I toured Chinatown taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of a place which is wholly unique. It is unique not because it is a Chinatown, but it is a Chinatown in a country that is 75% ethnically Chinese. The stuff here, while some of it is directed at tourists is also directed firmly at the Chinese population. They come here for quick, tasty, and authentic food. After my tour I headed back to my hostel and talked with the other backpackers until about 1 AM.. I decided to turn in and get some sleep.
I awoke this morning at 7:30. I ate a quick breakfast, did some research and then headed off to the Marina Bay area. This area is a land reclamation project that is almost finished. Some of the highlights include the Marina Bay Sands Hotel and Casino, the Merlion, and the Double Helix Bridge. The Merlion is honestly a little creepy. It's a half lion half mermaid statue spitting water out into the bay (and drug possession or distribution carries a mandatory death penalty here!). The Double Helix Bridge is the worlds first curved bridge. It is an arced bridge designed in a double helix to represent the Yin and Yang of life, but also DNA. It is curved at a gentle angle, but it is still curved. I toured the entire Marina area, walking for at least 7 miles today. I was lucky in that while still hot and humid today, it was cloudy with a good breeze. It made it bearable to be outside.
CitiLink. The job of this mall is actually to interlink three other malls. The nice thing about it though is that the entire time you are underground and in air conditioning. Upon return to my hostel I headed out for a quick lunch, and then went for another huge walk with another traveler here at my hostel. We easily walked another 5- 6 miles. Needless to say my feet hurt, but I have seen tons of the city.
What I have found so amazing during my travails here in Singapore is just how clean everything is. I think I may have spotted one homeless dude during all my walking today. ONE! Across Asia homelessness like the rest of the world is a huge problem. It is especially a huge problem in large cities which are surrounded by poverty. Normally in a city this size, you would see lots of beggars and homeless. I may have seen one, and even then I am not sure he was. He was way to clean. I joked with a few travelers here that I keep thinking I will turn a corner and see litter or dirt somewhere, but it is not the case. In fact when I was walking through one mall, the main scent I smelled was antiseptic. Yeah, its that clean.
Tomorrow I am planning on hitting one or two museums and then hopefully meeting up with Pablo. Pablo is a guy who I met in Daegu and just happens to be in Singapore the same time that I am. After tomorrow I head off to Bangkok to meet up with Brian and to spend some time on an island. This will be the major relaxing part of my vacation. I am sure that numerous numerous photos will accompany it. Keep tuned sports fans, for there will be a plethora of blogs (provided I have internet access) over the next few weeks. In fact I might even hit four posts before the end of the month. No promises though =P