Singapore Part VI – Leaving

bookOriginally published in the Fenton Patch newspaper May 2012

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It almost doesn’t seem fair. Soon I will have to leave this paradise where I can sit on a fifth story balcony in the morning wearing only shorts and a T-shirt and gaze at beautiful scenery while feeling the warmth all around me. This seemingly perfect spot to enjoy a cup of coffee and add words to my notebook will vanish for me.

Ok in reality I could stay for two more months because my passport is from the USA. But as happens with most countries, because my wife has a Colombian passport she gets only 30 days, maximum.

Wish I could join those I watch below me who are heading to work. I mean to have a legit reason for being able to stay. Also there is a difference in these people, a difference that I have not seen in most of the masses in other parts of the world. These people seem happy. They do not have the trudge walk and hollow-eyed look by many I have seen in some other countries of the world. I mean those people whose minds seems to be radiating at them the dull pain of, I have to go to work. I have to go to work.

The Singaporeans walking below me seem to have a spiritual awareness guiding them into enjoying all aspects of life. Makes me wonder if the majority of us in the West are missing something.

Thought that since I am leaving then it is time to disperse my last tidbits of advice to readers who may wish to visit this island country.

Bring your adapters – They use 220 volts here. Personally I have grown very fond of their method, especially the on/off switch on the wall plates of sockets. And the speed with which an electric pot heats up water is amazing.

Knowing where to go – My wife and I are very fond of the book, Fun Singapore published by Mighty Minds Publishing Pte Ltd. The glossy color pages provide useful information and maps as well as explicit directions.

Getting around – Ninety percent of the time we use the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT). The above and below ground use of clean trains does an excellent job of covering the city. At the MRT station you can purchase a rechargeable card that works also with the city bus line. I recommend putting about $50 per person on the card for each week of your stay.

Top new landmarks – According to Yahoo News Singapore has two of the worlds top new landmarks. Imagine three sixty story buildings close to each other. Now put a three acre park of gardens and restaurants that connects the roofs of the buildings. That is the Sands Skypark at Marina Bay.

The next featured landmark is the Henderson Wave Bridge. We enjoyed a picnic one night on the unique bridge that connects two parks and provides a spectacular view of the city skyline.

Hawkers Central – On some evenings they close down streets and bring in many tables. A large variety of food and beverage vendors line both sides. Everyone purchases what they want to eat and all meet back at a table for an evening fun and inexpensive dining.

Clothes – I was amazed that many of the young women wear very fashionable dresses to work each day. They all look very elegant and you can see they feel it also. Yes, clothes make the person. A previous writing talked about the major designers. For those looking to save a few dollars and take a chance on the up-and-coming designers then check out Bugis Village. It is located across the street from the Bugis MRT station.

Marina Bay Sands Mall – When you are in a place that is one of the most expensive cities in the world expect an appropriate mall. Forget about stores like Hudsons or Sears being the anchors. Here it is Cartier and Gucci with fill-ins such as Jimmy Choo, Ralph Lauren, Tiffany, Christian Dior, Fendi, and Prada. Like the Grand Ole Opry Mall in Nashville it also has a river inside where you can take a gondola ride.

Just walking around the area is a treat with excellent eating establishments, the Artscience Museum and the Helix Bridge. This is also where the Singapore Formula One is run each year.

Zoo – The Singapore zoo offers a double feature. It is one of the best I have seen for keeping animals in natural habitats as well as having a large variety of animals specific to Asia. But the best part, that you should not miss, is the Night Safari. This is fantastic and shows animals like no other zoo I have seen before.
I hope that everyone gets the opportunity to visit this charming country. But now it is back to the real world as my wife calls it. That is provided that I survive the 17 hours United Airlines flight from Singapore to the USA.

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