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Stories from Singapore

Beach Road, Singapore

Arrival

timSingapore is a great county to enter as a gateway to Asia: lively streets bustle with vendors, food hawkers offer a huge variety of inexpensive Asian food, and there is much to see and do. Unlike other large cities in the region, it also offers a low crime rate, clean streets, and tap water you can drink.

We were lucky on the 11-hour flight from Auckland. The airplane was empty enough for us to grab 3 seats each. I slept for most of the flight and I feel great today. Time to expore! top

One of many large food markets in Singapore. The basement floor featured in this photo sells meat, vegetables, and fish, while the second floor features row after row of fun yet inexpensive food stalls.

Chinatown, Singapore

Food!

timThe best way to visit attractions in Singapore is on foot, so I've racked many miles on my Tevas in the last few days. We've walked through Little India, down into the huge upscale shopping area of Orchard Road, and all over Chinatown. Like the mix of the Chinese, Indian, and Malaysian people who live here, the colorful ethnic neighborhoods blend smoothly to create a feeling unique to Singapore.

Singaporean people love good food, so good food is everywhere. You can walk through any food court in amazement, staring at the variety of hawker stands dishing out food made-to-order. You walk slowly, soaking in the vision of the hawkers crammed behind their 10 to 20 foot wide booths, each crowded by dishes, pots, pans, vegetables, noodles, sauces, and 300 other items. Each hawker specializes in a specific food: one sells seafood noodle soups, another Malaysian noodles. Perhaps the person next door is making a specific type of Chinese, Malaysian, Muslim, or Indian food. Or perhaps he just specializes in drinks or dessert.

Place your orders and take a table somewhere in the cacophonous hall. The hawkers drop your food off to you with "real" flatware and plates. (These plates later make it back to the specific hawker by being color-coded.) Only a couple of the dishes cost over $3 US. Most dishes are far cheaper.

The desserts have been the most fun for me. Most dessert hawkers sell varieties of tropical fruit, shaved ice, sweet beans, and sweet bean curd. I just ate a fresh lemon shaved ice with tangy pieces of the tropical fruit soursop on top. There can't be a more refreshing taste on a sweaty hot day. top

Part of the Singapore skyline.

Orchard Road, Singapore

Singapore - A Fine City

michelleSome people call Singapore "Fine City". Ever present signs warn of a $1000 fine for littering. There is a fine for chewing gum, a fine for possessing pornography, a fine for using chewing tobacco. There is a fine if you are caught not flushing a public toilet, a fine for jaywalking and a fine for, if upon inspection of your house, standing water is found รป for example a puddle. (This is an effort to fight mosquitos which carry malaria.) Importing or using drugs is punishable by death, which is a pretty hefty fine if you ask me.

All these laws have contributed to Singapore being a very clean, safe country but it sure is different than our US ways. I wonder, what would Washington, DC be like if we used these same strict laws? top