I landed in Singapore last night. It was a bumpy trip. I got hasseled by the security people because of my soldering iron when leaving Taiwan, and then again in Hong Kong when I transfered planes. They made me throw it away at that point. Oh well, I was kind of surprised that I had no problems with it when leaving Japan. Besides, I wasn’t in much of a mood to argue. I was in pretty bad shape after having spent the previous night celebrating the second birthday of the hostel I was staying at. At least clearing immagration and customs was the usual breeze, and I was one of the first out of the airport.
I followed my routine to the ATM. The first ATM didn’t like my card, but the one next to it did. I don’t know why there was a problem, it had all the right logos. The next thing I did was buy a SIM card for my phone. I should have done this when I arrived in Japan, but it didn’t occur to me that it would be handy.
At this point, however, it was midnight, and the rail system had shut down. I took a taxi to my hostel and discovered that the reception door was chained shut. This was a moment of panic for me because while I had booked a reservation in advance, and sent them a seperate email, explaining in both that I would be arriving late, I had received no confirmation back from them.
However, I did see that there was a note, and upon exiting the cab, the manager, waiting at the next door cafe called my name. So at least I got to spend the night in relative comfort.
But man is it hot. We’re at 5 degrees north latitude, which is basically on the equator, and is the farthest south I’ve ever been. Actually, the temperature isn’t bad at all, it’s the humidity. It would merely be a warm day back home, but if you move any faster than a stroll, you start to break a sweat. The bottle of chilled water I’ve been drinking while writing this post has created a pool on the metal table from just the condensation.
Most buildings are air conditioned, so I look forward to entering malls and the MTR trains. I actually got cold once, something I didn’t think would happen.
I feel constantly dehydrated. The convinence stores seem to carry only soda or tea, no water, and the tea has just as much sugar as the soda. I discovered this the hard way when I bought some green tea, which lacks sugar in Taiwan and Japan. “Oh, it’s sweet, I thought, I guess I can live with that… and holy hell! What is that after taste?!” Oh, it’s laced with Jasmine. I guess that’s the Indian influence. I couldn’t stomich the stuff and chucked the bottle in the trash and got some crappy sticky orage soda instead. At least I knew what it was going to taste like.
But, over all I’m still having a good time. Today I went to see the Esplanade building, which looks like a gaint durian (look up this fruit, it is on my TODO list of things I must try while I’m here (though I may need to amputate my tounge to get rid of the taste)). This building houses a concert hall, library, and art space. Next, it was off to see the country’s mascot, a merge of lion and fish which sprays a continious jet of water into the river. Then, it was off to see the world’s largest fountain, and finally a ride on the (over hyped) Singapore Flyer, a gaint ferris wheel. It gives a great view of the city, but the price was a little steep, and they keep trying to convince you that you are bording an aircraft, I’m sorry, it’s not “a flight” unless you leave the ground. Anyway, I had a good time and got some good night shots of the city.
Here are some photos of the fountain of wealth, the largest fountain in the world (so they claim). Actually, I’m kind of surprised someone hasn’t built a bigger one, this one isn’t so large that someone couldn’t build a larger one just for the bragging rights. On the other hand, they’ve done a lot with it, there is a laser light show, and a ritual which is supposed to bring you wealth if you hold your hand in the fountain and walk around it three times clockwise. This is only possible during some parts of the day when they turn off the larger cascading part of the fountain.