Before going to Singapore, I didn’t know much about it and in the back of my head it has always been a not interesting destination.
It is a very small island country which is the second most powerful country in Asia. Apparently it is a place with very low corruption rate. This reminds me of Seoul where nobody wanted to take my tips. Ok, nobody spoke English, but if you’re a waiter, you figure it out why there’s more money than the bill. No! They were showing me so insistently the total and handing the extra back that I had to take it and go, after I said all combinations of for you, tips, tips, ok, ok.
Singa means lion and pura means city in Malay, having their origin in Sanskrit.
Together with South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, the lion city is one of the East Asian Tigers, being the fourth currency exchange center after London, New York and Tokyo.
Another thing I knew was that for drug possession the penalty is death and that chewing gum if forbidden. And that it’s expensive. It is not cheap, but I didn’t think it is expensive.
Oh…and that everything is so fake.
But I also knew that I met the nicest guy in Johannesburg who was from here and that the guy whom I owe the greatest time in Bangkok is also from here.
When I arrived at Changi Airport I could see it is very modern and on the way to the hotel, indeed, everything looked very surreal – the trees, the setting, the buildings. Maybe different seems like this at first. However, something does not seem right, the colors are green, but plastic green and the trees look like somebody stayed to trim every leaf. I know, it’s called smart landscape planning, urban smartness, call it whatever, nature is beautiful because it is imperfect.
In 30 minutes after checking in my amazing view room I am in the lobby asking for a Buddhist temple – Burmese.
Then I take a walk in the Zhongshan Park, which I see below the palm trees by the pool, from my couch behind the glass wall in my room.
Where does everybody want to be in Singapore? Marina Bay, so there is where I’m heading. The place is indeed spectacular. The truth is that I’m still thinking if I did not have enough time to explore as I wished.
First we had dinner by the bay with the best view to Marina Bay Sands, as it was getting dark.
Here I asked the obviously gay waiter about Pink Dot and his face absolutely fell. Why so serious, my dear? Then he recovered and told me how to get there.
Pink Dot is a huge GLBT event to promote acceptance and toleration to the community and I was told about it by a friend that I was supposed to meet there. It started raining and we had to move inside, but the rain ended up being a light shower, so we continued our walk to the Marina Bay Sands.
We had seen the lion and took pictures of it from every angle. Why do people take pictures with the water going in their mouth, I really don’t know, but I took one too.
Now, together with the other three friends joining me we decided on the shortest way from where we were to the Sands which seemed to be at the closing of a circle (the bay). We decided together the way and it ended up being three times longer, mainly because we seemed to get the way wrong and entered a few very nice – cannot deny – hotels.
Some water events were going on and we passed the canoes parked there in the noise of the night.
At the basis of the world famous building classical music was playing and then a light and sound/projections show started. The idea was not bad and for sure gathered everybody around, but some of the projections I did not understand.
Then we had to run 20 km – all right, I’m exaggerating – to find the entrance to the elevator that took us to the observation deck, where the best view of Singapore is.
The information desk lady explained on a few pages map how to get there. Go here, turn left at Prada, then go down, again Prada – yes, we have a three floor store, she says when seeing we are confused. I thought, that this is a place, a tower, you walk 10 steps, take the elevator and go up. Wait! This is different. When I arrived up I realized that from the place where the projections took place we walked through the huge mall that crossed under the 6 lane highway. Amazing, indeed! And the view leaves you breathless.