Singapore Details

Singapore Travel Blog

 › entry 7 of 18 › view all entries
After getting to talk to my family on the phone last night, I realized that I haven't written about the many details of Singapore.  First of all, Singapore is not part of China; it is its own country.  It is an island, but as you can tell, it's not really known for its beaches.  The reason my program begins in Singapore is because of the HUGE port.  Singapore was originally established as a trading post by the British in 1819, but became a sovereign democratic nation in 1965.  People here are mostly from China, Malay, and India.  There are four official languages-Malay, Chinese (Mandarin), Tamil (Indian), and English.  English is the language of administration as well as the medium of instruction in schools.  Everyone here speaks English and one other language.  This makes it really easy for us, because we can read everything and communicate with everyone!  The people learned English from the British, and it is really hilarious seeing a Chinese person speaking English with a British accent!  They also have different ways of saying things than we do.  I asked someone if he could break a $50, and he thought that I wanted him to rip it in half!  They also call a line a queue and instead of saying "get off at this stop" they say alight.  I really like how all of the people from different nationalities get along and work together.  It is strange because people often stare at us!  When we went to the museum, a group of Chinese tourist took pictures of us!  Now I know how they feel when they come to our country.  They do drive on the other side of the road here, which STILL freaks me out!  I always think we are going to get into a head on collision.  This also means that people walk on the opposite side of the hallways in the MRT (like MARTA or DART) stations.  We kept getting run over until we figured this out.  We mostly get around by the bus and MRT systems, which are really easy to use.  You just buy and "EZLink" card and you keep money on that to get onto buses and the MRT.  The public transportation is very clean and food and drink are not allowed.  People have no issue with being in your personal space on the MRT either.  We have taken a few taxis and those rates are really low, especially if you split it between four people.  The exchange rate is 1 US dollar to 1.5 Sing (what they call the Singapore dollar).  The food at the school is really cheap...you can get a whole meal for about 4 Sing.  Food outside of the school is more expensive, but about the same that you would pay in the states when you convert it to US prices.  I usually tell people that I am from Texas, and they seem to know where that is! The climate here is as hot as Texas and more humid than in the ATL.  All of the buildings are air conditioned to the point that they are very cold.  They have regular toilets, but in most public bathrooms they also have a few stalls with just holes in the ground...none of us have been adventurous enough to try those yet!  You can drink the water here and they have AMAZING fruit!  I love Mangoes now!  They also have really good pineapple and coconuts!  They don't have really have milk...only soy.  The drinking age is 18...but alcohol is taxed about 600%.  There is a restaurant close to the dorm that serves American food like Chili's...a meal is about 15 sing and a beer is about 12 sing.  Not really worth it to me.  The famous beer here is called "Tiger" and we are going to be taking a field trip to the brewery!  People wear about the same clothes that they wear in the US (with exception of the Indians) but never wear shorts.  Its so hot that we do anyways!  The people are also very nice and willing to help tell us where to go or how to eat things.  Overall, its not really what I expected.  I didn't know that there would be such a huge Indian population and I didn't think that it would be this Asian.  I don't know that I would like to live here, but it is definitely a great place to spend 5 weeks studying!  I hope that explains everything!  Let me know if you would like to know anything else!
jeobs says:
Nicki-We're enjoying your pictures and stories. It sounds like your having a great time..love grandm
Posted on: May 30, 2007
dolszowka says:
Nicki - thanks for filling in many of the blanks about Singapore. It is great to get the story as you live it...very exciting. You sounded great on the phone...like you were right next store.
Back in the ATL....where the sun does shine! Luv ya...Auntie
Posted on: May 28, 2007
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Singapore
photo by: easyjobrob