The Spotless Lion and the King of Irony
Singapore Travel Blog› entry 45 of 115 › view all entries
Singapore's name was, according to my second hand book swap Lonely Planet, originally derived from the Sumatran words for lion and city. If the city is indeed a lion (although in the financial world it's known as one of the Asian Tigers - go figure) then its government is a big rough tongue, licking the fur made up by its four and a half million inhabitants into shape whether they like it or not.
On the surface of things, which is all a tourist here for a few days can expect to witness, the grip of the government on everyday matters means that the place is spotless, utterly spotless. Honestly, it's cleaner than the winner of the "World's Cleanest Whistle Competition 2008." I've never been to a city so well scrubbed before; it's absolutely extraordinary.
Is Singapore the most intoxicating, wonderous, exotic city on earth? No. Neither is it the cheapest. But it is safe, clean and pleasant to meander around for a day or two, even at night. I came here not expecting a great deal, but I enjoyed my time negotiating the centre and Little India etc. There's also plenty of scope for scoffing - the grub served up at the ubiquitous food courts and hawker stalls is relatively cheap, plentiful and wildly diverse.
In other, more personal, news I made my first confirmed sighting of the sanatorial delight that is the Asian squatter toilet. This is basically a plumbed in porcelain basin set into the floor over which you must squat to conduct any bog business. For now I was able to avoid the ordeal of losing my squatter virginity.
I discovered something even more unexpected down by the river. It was my last night in the city and I decided to try my luck snapping a few of the impressive CBD sky scrapers lining the river all lit up and looking mighty fine. Mission accomplished I wandered over to Boat Quay, a riverside tourist leisure street. I swiftly set my internal sat nav to "Dodge," attempting to avoid the restaurant touts luring in moneyed foreigners with the promise of fresh crab and other delicacies.
Then, to my dismay, my ear drums began to quiver to the sound of karaoke.
WOW - SPECIAL BONUS SECTION!
Salad's Singapore Shopping Guide
Do you like shopping in seemingly endless, plush, shiny malls? Then go to Orchard Road - it's great - hurray!
Do you hate shopping in seemingly endless, plush, shiny malls? Then don't go to Orchard Road - it's rubbish - boo!
Do you like to think you're gonna grab an electronic gizmo at a bargain price? Go to Hong Kong instead - it's cheaper apparently.
Not put off? Then try Sim Lim tower but always haggle like your life depends on it. You can also get some tax back (VAT, GST or equivalent) at the airport if you get a receipt.
Salad's Travel Tips: Like a minimum wage acned teenager slaving in your local supermarket, I'm always happy to help!