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Street food and shopping malls

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Well we made it into Singapore after our horrendous day of travel out of Australia. Getting out of the airport was much easier than anywhere we have been yet. Everything is bright, shiny, and well organized. A quick ride on the MRT (Singapore’s public transport train) brought us to our stop and we were out on the street in the heat and humidity. A quick word on the MRT. Everything is automated and in order to pay for your fare you simply step up to a kiosk with a map of the city and press on it were you want to go. The machine calculates your fare and after you have paid it spits out a plastic ticket that looks and feels like a credit card. This you simply tap on a pad on the turnstile and the gates open up to you. Use the card one more time at the exit of the stop you purchased. Return the card for a dollar refund! The often busy MRT was easy to use and really efficient and was all we would use to travel in Singapore.

We got a little off track on the walk to the guest house from the MRT. This is never nice in a new place with all your belongings on your back. We were on busy streets with a lot of people milling around and new we were close but not really sure what way to go. Just then a man who was sitting on the corner in an Indian restaurant’s front porch and smoking a hookah called out to us, “Sleepy Sam’s? You looking for Sleepy Sam‘s? Yes you are very close. Just the next left and you will see it down a little way”. Not only were we immediately spotted for tourists this man knew exactly were we were headed. Welcome to South East Asia!
The Street Scene outside Sleepy Sam’s and the Sultan Mosque

We spent our time in Singapore mostly walking and checking out different parts of the city. We started out in Little India. Set in an old part of town Little India was a tightly packed area of narrow streets and old but colorful buildings. Our senses were alive with the sights, smells, and sounds and yet we knew that this would be a far cry from the sensory overload we could expect in the real India.
Flower Garlands at the street stalls in Little India

We passed a lot of interesting modern architecture. This was mixed in with the older street scenes of little India and Chinatown as well as Temples from the mid 18th century, gaudy shopping malls, and monstrous housing complexes made for many different worlds within one small island that is Singapore. This also was apparent in the different peoples and religions of Singapore. Singapore and Malaysia are a cultural melting pots were Muslims, Hindu, Buddhists, Taoists, Confucians, and Catholics (amongst others) all celebrate their religion side by side. On the same street you will find any number of different temples and mosques and people of different beliefs existing in harmony. On the same street as the largest Mosque in Singapore their was also a Christmas tree!
Some Singapore street scenes all in a days walk

Modern Art School
Color coded housing complex
Little India
Thian Hock Keng Temple

One of the things I was most exited about in Singapore was the Food. Up to this point we had been cooking about 95% of our meals and now we were in the land of cheep eats! We went directly to one of the Hawker Centers that Singapore was famous for and dove in. Here for about $3 USD you could have a feast of many different strange and exciting foods. Most of these places were sort of an open aired cafeteria with a lot, sometimes up to a hundred, small food stalls selling a variaty of foods. It was overwhelming at first. All the smells coming at you from all directions was intense. A lot of the displays had some in English but even with this it was vague. Some items that we really enjoyed were the Chili Crab, mystery meat dumplings, a weird tofu like dish made of radishes and called fried carrot cake, chicken satay, and some strange seafood soup.
Some incite for the tourists
Mmmm… Dumplings and Tiger Beer.
Meghan digs into some Indian Food
Tiger Prawns in Ice

On our last day in Singapore we took a trip out to the Zoo, but not before a quick walk through a zoo of shopping malls and rich Singaporean shoppers out for the holidays. Shopping is so big in Singapore that there is a section of our guidebook dedicated to it. This is hard core capitalism and one could easily get lost in the maze of mega malls.
Orchard Road MRT Station
Glittery Sidewalks of the Orchard Road Shopping vortex
Even Santa’s Reindeer get the latest styles, high heals, and diamond earrings!

The Zoo was entertaining and a nice break from the busy city.

Posted by pmunson 03:36 Archived in Singapore

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My mum and I were in Singapore at the same time of year a few years ago. I have to confess that we were never lost in the maze of shopping centers. They brought out the best and worst in us, consumers that we are!

Safe travels.

by Katy Martin

Way too cool.

by Drew

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