Sep 072011

My whole standard of living is right about to change.

One of the ways I can afford to travel so much – aside from the obvious fact that I work on the road – is through careful planning. I always schedule periods of quick, efficient travel to overlap with expensive countries, while slow-paced work-on-the-road segments overlap with the cheapies. So although I may still be months behind on blogging, because of the cost of living in Singapore – by far the highest in the region – I plan to devote every minute possible to enjoying myself.

Besides, I haven’t even had a beer or done any purely deliberate tourism in nearly a month – and from what I hear Singapore has a ton to offer. Not to mention that getting a private room would easily cost quintuple what I’ve been paying (and trying to work in a backpacker dorm is more or less impossible :P)

So anyway, here are some of my very first impressions of Singapore – all noted on the brief walk from the bus to my hostel in nearby Little India:

• Other than its greenery, the most unexpected trait I noticed was Singapore’s density. Its low density. Considering the country’s miniscule size, I’d envisioned a congested Asian megapolis – like Tokyo or Hong Kong. But despite the numerous skyscrapers, Singapore surprisingly feels like nothing of the sort. There’s plenty of open space all around, creating a really nice, welcoming feel. Being spotlessly clean doesn’t hurt either 😉

• Today I saw the first female in a low-cut top in a month. It almost shocked me. I’d subconsciously grown so accustomed to conservative Muslim attire – the all-concealing burkas and veils – that such a flashy amount of skin caught my eye from nearly a block away. Wow, I really have been living in a different part of the world…

• Just passing through one small shopping area (Bugis St) has already made Singapore look amazingly cool. There’s SO much delicious-looking food, everything is absolutely spotless, everyone speaks English, the air doesn’t smell polluted, the streets are *full* of fashionable young socialites, and everywhere seems to be blanketed by free public WiFi. I don’t think I’ve seen any two of these traits since Bangkok.

• On the other hand, the weather was indescribably annoying. For the past two solid weeks, during which I’ve been indoors working or sick, it’s been beautifully sunny. But today, the first time I actually had to be outside, guess what happened: it started pouring right as I stepped off the bus. Typical. And that’s not all; my cheap Thai flip-flops picked the same exact moment to fall apart completely. They’d been fine for nearly two months, but now that I was desperately trying to make my way to a room with all my luggage in the torrential rain, they suddenly deteriorated into useless strands of rubber and plastic. By the time I got to the room my one clean pair of jeans were covered in mud. Ugh 😛

Note: These posts are behind realtime; the above took place on Friday, February 18th.

  8 Responses to “Initial Reactions”

  1. that sucks about the rain and flip flops!

  2. It did. Very muchly. >:o

  3. You stayed in a hostel in Gothenburg too 😛

  4. Oh yeah, good point…one day after Copenhagen, haha 😛

  5. Oh good point about the population density. You’d expect it to be larger considering how rich it is compared to nearby countries.

  6. Well, keep in mind that many super-wealthy countries actually aren’t that dense (consider Norway, for example). The surprise to me came more from the fact that I’d always imagined it to be a big Hong Kong-like city…

  7. But Norway is surrounded by well-off countries, whereas Singapore isn’t. I would have expected more immigrants vying for a better future, but I suppose immigration control is tight enough to prevent that.

  8. They also have an incredibly small border to protect, as it’s at the end of the peninsula and divided by water (and is a tiny country in the first place). Not like i.e. US-Mexico which has hundreds of miles of nothingness 😛

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