$20 plates of pasta. $120 brunches. New York prices in Southeast Asia.
Delicious boiled peanuts.
You can drink the water. The cleanest Chinatown I’ve ever seen.
The cleanest toilets in Southeast Asia.
The cleanest cabs in Southeast Asia.
A pristine Mercedes cab with an on-board computer for way-finding, email, etc. And a cabbie who actually gets out to help you find your appointment. A hallucination for a New Yorker.
Visiting the wonderful Chinatown Heritage Center, housed in an old shop-house, where you can really learn about the crowded conditions of Chinatown living fifty years ago, by seeing the rooms as they were back then.
Realizing this is why Singapore is so clean now — no one wants to go back to such squalor.
Charming, perfectly restored old shop-houses.
Cool boutiques in those shop-houses.
The cool capital city requisite store with useless, tragically hip designerly books, posters, infantilized stuffed animals and digitalia featuring bad poetry.
People who wonder if America is safe enough for travel.
Mosques next to Indian temples next to Chinese temples.
And a diverse populace.
Walking through Little India.
New construction on a temple dedicated to a Buddha tooth relic.
The feeling of being in a Lego town.
$1000 fine for riding your bike through a pedestrian underpass.
Should we eat Nyonya, Indian, Chinese, Malay, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Thai, Italian, Japanese, Spanish…
Restaurant scene that could be New York or London.
Financial district that could be New York or London.
Amazing Asian Civilizations museum we wish we’d visited BEFORE visiting all these other countries and wondering what we were looking at.
Everyone speaks English.
Everyone is helpful and most are friendly.
You can chew gum now.
You’ll pay $$$ if you drop it.
Your computer use is being watched.
There’s a lot of money in this town.
90% of residents live in government sponsored housing.
Government housing doesn’t mean the same thing in Singapore as it does in the US.
Takashimaya. Esprit. Roxy. Gucci. Uma Thurman. Parking lot. Streetside karaoke. Goofy. Mickey. Harrod’s shop. Japanese bean cake. Samosas. Aloe vera juice. Freshwater pearls. Spangly bags. Bespoke suits. Homemade goth-lita gear. Tang’s Department Store. Swedish bakery. Ferragamo.
Orchard Road is an over-the-top amusement park of malls, with piped music from streetside DJs that follows you down the street. There must be 50 of them there. A whole road of simulacra.
Singapore is sweltering all year.
It has an indoor ski center with artificial snow.
Franz Ferdinand guy and his Fiery Furnaces girlfriend sighting at our hotel.
We didn’t stay at the Raffles hotel.
Pretty colonial architecture.
Not much evidence of a bawdy past.
Graffiti workshops held in a city where real graffiti must be highly punishable.
Cosmopolitan magazine was outlawed till recently.
Singaporeans dressed in fuzzy green top hats, green wings and shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day.
Sir Stamford Raffles surveying his city.
Getting a great haircut.
Going to a local dentist in a residential tower-filled part of town most tourists never see.
Being denied prescriptions without showing a passport.
Clean, gum-free tarmac.
Smooth, litter free river, sparsely filled with tourist boats.
Rows of cows above city streets at Sri Mahariamman Hindu Temple.
And confection-like statuary.
Worshipers at Sri Mahariamman Hindu Temple.
Being face to face with a (cute) fruit bat at the Night Safari.
Noting that the Mouse Deer is actually smaller than my cat, and that Flying Squirrels somehow resemble Sloths.
Watching leopards pace, inches from your face.
Browsing home-grown goth-lita gear at an old mall.
Realizing the foot-long mini-skirts sold there would barely cover my butt.
Eating lunch with a Singaporean friend of a friend.