Statue of five boys skinny dipping

Orchard Road

April 13, 2001 (8-days)


I just stayed a week in Singapore, which is unbelievably western. It is also immaculate and efficient. I think New York and San Francisco could learn a few things.

The transportation system is great. The trains and buses are marked so well, you rarely have to ask for help. Each train station has a letter and number associated with the name, so you know exactly how many stops there will be (i.e., N1... N6).

The street lights have a digital sign to let you know how many seconds you have to cross the street. 

There are stiff fines to keep the city clean. They charge $500s ($300USD) for eating or drinking, or $1000s for smoking in a government building or on public transportation. Chewing gum is illegal, so there are no black spots on the sidewalks. I know, it sounds a bit anal, but I like it.

The people are Chinese, Malay and Indian, so the main language is English. It's strange to hear so many locals speaking English to each other. The mix of cultures also brings in a good variety of food. The hawker centers giant food courts have the best selection of food and it's cheap.

I found Snapple and GU in a store, so I'm guessing I could find anything here :~) They have similar stores to the States: Borders, 7-11, DKNY, Bebe...

Orchard Road is alive with glitz and glamour. Huge screens on the sides of buildings show advertisements and movie trailers. Cell phones and high fashion are everywhere. Most of the young local women are dressed in tight or skimpy clothing. In contrast, you also see a few women in traditional Muslim dress, with their heads covered. Asian couples hold hands, which is a refreshing change from Indonesia.

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