Sing City


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a spectacular aerial view of one of the largest ports in the world glutted with ships was my grand welcoming to the sovereign city-state of Singapore.  not only was i pleased to learn that my leftover Brunei money was good here but i had the exact right amount to secure my maximum allowable limit of duty-free spirits and/or wine and/or beer.  i had little trouble negotiating the super-clean-tidy-efficient train system to the Beary Nice Hostel in Chinatown where i was greeted by a very petite, sweet and helpful half Indian/Malay girl who showed me to my bed.  i don’t usually stoop to the dormitory level but in Singapore, procuring a clean bed in a room full of strangers is a privilege you will pay dearly for.

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i was reunited yet again with my French-Canadian travel companion Nicolas who had already been in Singapore a couple of days.  for him that’s just enough time to solidify an entire map of this mega-city in his brain cross referenced with points of interest and strategies.  after spending almost half my odyssey-time to date with this man, i know him well enough to let him lead the way when he gets that certain excitably driven look in his eye.

we were told that any traveler worth their salt knows that the very first place you go in Singapore is the Singapore City Gallery where you will find a giant architectural model of the city with an hourly light show presentation overlaid onto it that describes the history and creation of this living breathing utopia.  while there i was also surprised to learn that Singapore goes to great lengths to make its water drinkable,  all the garbage they cannot recycle is incinerated, loaded onto barges and dumped on a nearby island, and that the city actually extends 120 meters into the earth to house sewage lines, service tunnels, a subway system, a super highway and a large stockpile of oil and ammunition.

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from the top of the Marina Bay Sands (a.k.a.- the world’s most expensive standalone casino property, a.k.a.- those three 636 foot tall towers with a giant concrete boat resting across the top and infinity pool spilling over the side) one can see the breathtaking view of Gardens by the Bay: the wet dream of both the architect and the botanist.

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notice the two booby-shaped bio-domes on the left: “Flower Dome” and “Cloud Forest”.  one contains an odorous collection of exotic flowers and cacti while the other contains a ‘fountain mountain’ with a variable climate that supports a wide variety of tropical plants found at all elevations.  in the mountain’s core is an exhibit called “+5 degrees”: a video countdown that postulates exactly how fucked we are all going to be and when as the average global temperature increases 5 degrees over the next 87 years.  the bio-domes are slanted to one side to collect rainwater for the garden’s built-in irrigation system.  the “Supertrees” on the right side function as the garden’s ventilation system as well as collect enough solar energy by day to brilliantly illuminate the gardens by night.

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while wandering about these domes, gardens and compounds, in addition to buying off on the Utopian Singapore sales pitch, i truly felt as though running into folks wearing Starfleet uniforms would be the next logical chain of events but sadly that was never the case.

the Marina Bay Sands is a newer addition to the Singapore skyline.  at its base sits a giant shopping mall with an indoor water way that runs the length of it.  you can stroll at your leisure or take a gondola to the other end where you will find the world’s largest atrium casino.

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utopia or not.  walking barefoot on the spotless orderly streets or looking out over the monolithic jagged skyline, it’s not hard to be impressed by just how far the city has come from its former state 70 years earlier.  the Old Ford Motor Factory was the sight of the British surrender to the Japanese in 1942 when Singapore entered its darkest time.  the factory has since been converted into a museum that showcases Singapore’s bleak and bloody side with tedious detail.  amidst the chronologies are a few heart wrenching accounts (like this one and this one) from people who witnessed the Japanese cruelty first hand.

Little India is a smaller slice of real India only with 99.99% of the rubbish, smells, klaxon and Indians removed.

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Little India

Chinatown

Chinatown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the cherry on top of the whole experience occurred outside of the city where our newfound Canadian friends: Kate, Sandee and Erin hosted a dinner party in our honer.  the food was delicious, the wine was red and the conversations stimulating.  thank you girls from the bottom of our hearts.  i couldn’t possibly convey what a warm welcoming like this means to a guy who’s been on the run for so long.

early on my final morning in Singapore i headed back to the airport to embark on the longest commute i have ever attempted in my life: a 54-hour slog involving five flights all with extremely long layovers in between.  when i arrive at my final destination i’ll be on American soil for the first time in eight months.

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  1. #1 by Karen on November 21, 2013 - 6:04 pm

    Thanks for making the 54-hour slog of five flights and long layovers! :)

  2. #2 by Anaplum on November 24, 2013 - 5:19 pm

    It’s a hard knock life, my friend. I am sad to see your adventures are coming to an end. Say hello to Ken and Karen for me. -Ana

  3. #3 by roarkb on November 24, 2013 - 5:36 pm

    Anaplum :

    I am sad to see your adventures are coming to an end.

    just because i set foot on American soil doesn’t necessarily mean my adventures have come to an end;). i think there is a good possibility this world hasn’t quite had enough of me just yet.

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