I left Bali for Singapore, where I was going to spend few days before heading on to the Philippines. Upon landing, first thing I needed was a metro card. I asked the lady at the counter what the best option was and I finally opted for the refillable car instead of unlimited traveling packages. It didn’t take long for me to be amazed with the effectiveness of the transportation system in Singapore. Not surprising when you think that a car is ridiculously expensive. You buy the car, have to pay a car tax equivalent to the car value and need a license to own a car for which the price varies but is around $40 000. Finally, your car has to be less than ten years old, since the license applies only to one new car and is valid only for the ten years.
I digress. Once the first matter at hand was taken care of, I met with my host. I felt slightly out of my comfort zone waiting outside in the business district with my traveler backpack and surrounded by people of all nationalities dressed in formal business attire.
Next order of business was food. You can find any food here. From pasta to cereals, from carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes to cheese and poultry. International food is more expensive though. If you know how to cook with Asian ingredients, you would save a lot of money on groceries.
You can eat pretty much anything you want here, so it’s rather hard to pinpoint what is truly local. I am ashamed to admit I still don’t know what the traditional Singaporean food is like.
Singapore’s meticulous order was quite a contrast with the chaos of Bali. When you take the metro, there is a lane system on the ground you have to follow. One lane to go in the cart on either side of the doors and a space for people coming out in the middle, where God forbid you should be standing.
Also, here, you can only eat and drink in the designated areas. Same for smoking. And don’t even think about littering. Not that this would be a bad thing mind you.
I will admit that the order of Singapore was a little soothing to me after the chaos of Bali. It truly was going from one extreme to the next.
The only thing I found amiss were the smile, it seems smiling to stranger is very uncommon and strange here.