Singapore, Singapore
1° 17' N 103° 51' E
Apr 19, 2008 14:38
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Text written in: English

Law and Order

Singapore. Saturday and Sunday, April 19th and 20th.

You will not know it, but something has definitely changed for the better with respect to this blog. After almost ten months of seeking out internet cafes to enter text, and having so many hours wasted on buses and trains, I have finally bought a very small computer of sorts. It is the size of half a sheet of paper and weighs less than a kilo, and for only $450 dollars or 225 pounds!! Singapore is well known for cheaper computer stuff.  From reading the manual briefly (real men do not on principle admit to reading manuals carefully, only women do that), it suggested I can create Word documents, which is what I want to do primarily. It can also go on the internet, manage photos and music, and who knows what else. So today's entry will be created on this toy and copied over to the blog using a memory stick - I feel so tech savvy.

Got to Singapore (population 4.5 million) around 9 pm local time, and headed to the hotel I had booked over the net (a first for me, but it was so easy, and it actually worked, PTL). First treats were that everyone was relatively helpful, spoke English and did not appear to want to take advantage of me. The cab driver, as I was looking for change to pay the metered amount, suggested if I could not find it or if I didn't have it then that was OK (an honest cabbie - what a concept!). The fact that people spoke English and the signage was also in English is a first while on the road - not experienced since the UK, or prior to that in South Africa, which was over 8 months ago.  And it is true: Singapore is neat, orderly, organized, clean, safe and all those other things that strong law enforcement cause to occur. It is a little bland and lacking in character, other than grandiose buildings and architecture, but I can handle it for a few days. It is also very hot and humid, as it is described as being 'sub-tropical' in climate.

Not a lot to do in Singapore, unless you like shopping and seeing tall buildings. Noticed there was a very tall ferris wheel a few kilometres from where I was staying, so I walked over. I saw one of these large ferris wheels in London called 'The Millennium Wheel' or 'London Eye', but I did not go on it. As I had time, I  decided to give this one a shot. I was most impressed and would recommend anyone to do such a ride if it is there. One rotation took 30 minutes, which is long enough. After that, I wandered to the old portion of the city, which has the Singapore River flowing through it. Took a boat tour of the inner city, again a nice reprieve. It might be that when something does the moving for me (rather than my legs) I like it. Got out of the boat and, using a map, got to the Chinatown part of the city. Good way to spend the afternoon and early evening. Sunday was more of the same, other than that I bought the small computer and prepared the text in my hotel room.

Tonight, I meet my new group and start a five week tour of South East Asia, going from Singapore to Bangkok and then through Cambodia to Hanoi. Looking forward to someone else making the logistical decisions and to having travel mates again.

Photos / videos of "Law and Order":

The Singapore Flyer.  This is the world's largest ferris wheel, much like the Millennium Wheel in London.  This is looking down from near the top of the wheel's rotation. The hundreds of ships in the ocean waiting to berth in the Singapore harbour (as seen from the Singapore Flyer).  In the background is a golf course. The downtown of Singapore. I am in a similar apartment to the one you see in the foreground. Looking the other way.  Population of Singapore is 4.5 million. Modern freeways, with jungle trees surrounding them, in the heart of the city. Looking thru the spokes of the ferris wheel, with the downtown of Singapore in the background.  I was skeptical about doing the ride, but was very impressed with what I saw.  Full rotation took 30 minutes.  Will do the similar ride in London, now that I have done this one. Old city hall and cricket field near the centre of the city.  There is very little green space in the city. Took a boat ride up the Singapore River (must be a short river as Singapore is an island).  Lots of bridges crossing it and a neat view of the city. Buildings along the Singapore River. Downtown, as seen from the river. The Singapore Flyer in the distance, and a tennis court on the water's edge.  This city really tries to go all out to make a good impression, and utilize the limited land it has to work with. High rise offices and apartment buildings, in the central business district of Singapore. Walls of air conditioners.  The temp is less than pleasant - what gets you is the humidity; without air-con this city could not happen. China Town.  The natives of this area do not consider themselves Chinese, as from China.  There is a large well defining China Town in the centre of the city.  Very vibrant. Camera shot of the crowds in China Town. Old men playing checkers, not chess.  Very serious about the game, with wagers placed on winning or losing. The Tooth Relic Temple in China Town. A Hindu temple right next to China Town, and 100 metres from the temple on the prior photo. Mosque half a block up from the Hindu temple.  These three religious buildings are all on the same block of the same street. The Red Dot Museum of Design.  Fascinating museum showing the winning designs for the 2007 international design competition. Inside were novel designs for everything from tooth brushes to beds to cars to lights to watches to you name it.  Enjoyed looking at the clever innovations.