Monday, February 6, 2012

Singapore: The First-World Future

Monica and I made the most of our four days in Singapore. It wasn't an exotic location and we don't have any crazy adventures to share with you, but I do have a few photos.

I love how these boats are all facing the same way.

Landing in Singapore.
On Orchard Road, the main shopping street.
You can't miss the visitor's center, though I stumbled upon it on our last day in town.

Monica and I stayed at a hostel in Chinatown called Matchbox. It was a "concept hostel" and Monica has photos of us in our Japanese-style dorm sleeping cubes. How modern! The hostel supplied free breakfast all day long (cereal, juice, toast) and also had a washer and dryer for free use--very much appreciated.

Around the corner was a "hawker center," basically an open-air food court. Meals are cheap at around $4 USD for a portion of chicken, rice, vegetable and soup. We rounded off our meals with either a boba tea or a fruit shake, such as soursop/starfruit and fresh-squeezed sugarcane juice. Yummy.

Singapore is basically one giant shopping center. Monica and I have a theory that in the future, the whole city will be an indoors/underground interconnected shopping mall. It won't take much to get to that point.

Just getting off the subway and walking for 15 minutes through a new underground mall to get to our exit.
Might I add that Singapore's public transportation network is incredible. It's definitely the most futuristic and advanced subway I've ever ridden. All trains come in either six-minute intervals or three-minute intervals (during "rush" hours). Monica and I never experienced a crowded train, and we rode the trains at all hours of the day, weekdays and weekends. I believe residents are heavily taxed, supporting this public service.

I liked the colorful city bus transit map.

Looks like a circuit board, right?
Stepping outside the subway, we notice a music-video being filmed ...

"To the left, to the left..."
... and very tall buildings.

Am I at Burning Man?

The Louis Vuitton store.
Tons of public spaces for chilling.

Monica at sunset.
A slice of the Marina Bay Sands building.
The Marina Bay Sands is a 2,561-room luxury hotel and casino, developed by Las Vegas Sands. It has everything you could ever want: In addition to the hotel and casino, there is a mall, exhibition center, ArtScience museum, two large theatres, seven "celebrity chef" restaurants, an ice skating rink, and the world's longest vanishing-edge swimming pool. We went to the top floor one night and it happened to be ladies night, so we each got one free drink at the bar--good timing!

Crazy pedestrian bridge.
The Singapore Flyer, the world's largest observation wheel.

We happened to be in town for the week-long Huayi Chinese Festival of Arts, beginning after the Chinese New Year. We saw many musical performances, a puppet show and a Chinese acrobat performance.

The puppet show.
Below are a series of photos from the amazing acrobat performance.

A little bit freaky.

Mirror image.

One day we walked around the Chinatown and Little India neighborhoods.

Laundry hung up outside to dry.
We walked alongside the river one day and went to two museums: The Asian Civilisations Museum (very well-executed museum) and the Peranakan Museum.

Fernando Botero sculpture.
Ladies night at the Marina Bay Sands turned out to be pretty fun.

Top floor, #57. So cheesy with those blue glowing lights.

The vanishing-edge pool on the top floor.
One day, it rained heavily for hours so what did we do? We went to a mall and watched "The Descendents" and drank a Starbucks coffee (not as good as in the U.S.). We both enjoyed the movie and would recommend it, though it does get pretty emotional. You will probably laugh as much as you cry.

Overall, I'm glad we experienced Singapore, but not being real "shoppers," we didn't take advantage of the best thing this city has to offer. I wouldn't make this a destination if you are looking for culture, but if you want to do some serious spending or are interested in seeing a semi-cheesy futuristic city, I would tell you to check it out. I wonder what this city is going to look like in 10 or 20 years ... probably laughably outdated.