Singapore: the Last of the Safe Ice Cubes

Got into town last night after 10 PM, but it was Friday night, and 85 degrees out, so the city was still hopping. As expected, I received excellent service and cheer from the tourist information counter at the airport and the airport shuttle crew. I got to my splurge hotel, the Swisshotel Merchant Court, received plenty of help from the folks at the desk, and had someone else carry the bags upstairs. Ah, the luxury.

I went out into the night to see what could be had for a late supper and the place that was still open was the Iguana Bar on Clarke Quay. A Mexican food place (we have them everywhere in California, so this is a little ironic). They had lots of water with clean, safe ice, and decent chicken and lettuce wraps that tasted much more Malaysian than Mexican, which I was hoping would happen. I had a strawberry margarita at a table right on the water. Gave me lots of time to watch the people promenade past, and see all the lights. I was too tired to bring the camera (sorry folks), but it was quite lovely. Most things are pretty here in Singapore. It is an orderly place with plenty of city planning. I hope the Singaporeans will forgive the comparison, but the only other place I have seen with this much aesthetic planning and cleanliness in one place is Disneyland. Today, I am going back to the Quay for a chili crab lunch, though I may venture down to Smith street for the street hawker version of it instead, considering my internet connection cost me $25 Singapore dollars (about $17 US). Mind you, it was free at the down-at-heel Tiffany Tourist back in Seoul. But then again, everything costs money here in Singapore. It’s like any big financial center that way.

I’ll try to take some more pictures when I am out today getting my lunch. I am very happy to be back here. I never thought I’d get back to Singapore again, but it is so clean and safe it feels like coming home. If you have a chance to come to Singapore and you are not sure if you’d like it, I recommend you try it. It’s a great place to visit, assuming you are law-abiding and have tidy habits. Penalities for littering, not wearing your seatbelt, bringing chewing gum into the country or heaven forbid bringing drugs to the country are severe. Did you see my last post? The immigration card warns you right off the bat that the penalty for bringing illegal drugs to the country is death. And they mean it. People are caned for littering, and fined heavily for not wearing seat belts. On the up side, the city is neat as a pin and people try to behave in an orderly and considerate way. Best of all though is the natural kindness and way of helping others that seem to be a part of these people’s culture (I observed the same in Malaysia a couple of years ago). It makes you want to help people yourself. That’s got to be a good thing.

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