Singapore

They sure have a lot of Asian people in Singapore. It’s like friggin Chinatown here or somethin.

Oh ho ho. That’s just my little semi-racist joke to start off my asia trip blogging. Badum-bum!

Aaaanyway… I’ve been traveling almost a week now and still havn’t manged to finish a single post! Surprisingly, it has not been very difficult for me to adapt to the slower, more relaxed life of travel, and thus put off all blogging activities. Jessica, however, has managed to knock out three or four posts. It’s difficult keeping up with a professional journalist. So maybe just go over and read her blog instead. Quit buggin me. I’m relaxing. But I do apologize to all you desperate readers, eager for taylor news (hi mom!). I’m fine, and have been having a great time, albeit a very sweaty and humid one.

I’m actually in Hanoi already, but before coming here we spent three days in Singapore, which was a perfectly calm, civilized introduction to Southeast Asia. Singapore is clean and safe, and very pleasant all around, if a bit boring and uninteresting. I suppose that’s because you get caned for doing anything that’s not boring and uninteresting. You need a doctor’s prescription to chew gum there. I blame the sedateness partially on the lingering British colonial influence. In its explosive economic success and development over the past thirty years, Singapore has wiped away most remnants of the colonial period, but it still exists in a conservative, proper attitude, and in pockets of white-walled british pomposity, like the famous Raffles Hotel, glimpsed here through the underbrush:

Click me!

where I sat down and enjoyed a Singapore Sling and imagined myself be-pith-helmeted, relaxing after a tiger hunt through the dark heart of the east indian jungle, discussing the goings-on of the tea trade with monocled and moustachioed peers of the realm:

Click for bigness

Jessica was totally not amused by my imperialist imaginings, and the lame tourist-trappiness of the whole thing. I think that drink cost like $16, but it was damn refreshing, and no I’m not ashamed to be drinking a pink drink! I hunt tigers and fought in the blasted first Zulu campaign in darkest africa so I shall drink what I bloody well please, and thank you to remember your station, Sir!

Really there’s hardly any colonial stuff left in Singapore—the main legacy of colonialism is the fascinatingly diverse population. It’s next to Malaysia and Indonesia so there are a lot of Malay people, but the majority of the population are ethnic Chinese who arrived originally as immigrant workers. There’s an Arab population, and a substantial Indian population (mostly Tamil) brought over by the british as laborers. So Singapore has ethnic neighborhoods like Chinatown and Little India, which feel very Chinese and Indian respectively, but have random Christian churches and Buddhist temples scattered around:

Click to Grow

as well as Mosques:

Click for Bigness

and a variety of crazy Hindu temples:

Click to Bigify

I’m a bit ashamed to say that I had never been inside a Hindu temple before. Not very open-minded of me. But they’re pretty cool! I mean look at all those dudes up there on the roof! (gopuram?) I’m not sure what they’re there for, but they sure look like they’re all having a pretty good time. And inside they dont seem to be too big on walls, generally, which is nice given the ridiculous hotness of Singapore. The art is colorful, and you get to go barefoot, which considering the current state of my socks, is a blessing (for me at least). Hindu temples are fun! Someday I’ll have to go to India I think..

But for now I’m in Singapore, which is nice but not as exotic as that might sound, really. It feels very western in most respects. I think the entire city is composed of malls and food centers. The food is excellent, which Jessica was really excited about, and the malls are enormous and oppressive. But my favorite things involved getting outside of the city a bit. We went on a hike through the rainforest to the top of a mountain in the Bukit Timah nature reserve which was fun, and a bit of an adventure since I was promised a monkey-sighting by this alluring sign:

Monkeys?

Can you spot the monkey in this picture? (click any photo to magically enlarge)

Click to Enlarge

No? That’s cause there are none!. No monkeys here either:

Click to Enlarge

nor here:

Click to Enlarge! (i get spam called that)

In the end no monkeys were spotted on the entire hike! Zero monkeys! And the only wild animal noises I heard at all came from Jessica during the steeper sections of our ascent.

Fortunately I did make a monkey sighting at the Singapore Botanical Garden. This little guy just walked right on by us and into a bush:

Click for the Monkey!

So that was pretty cool I spose. We also went on a very cheesy-but-fun “night safari” to look at nocturnal animals in a simulated natural environment, and saw all kindsa stuff like Tigers and Giant Flying Squirrels and Porcupines. Not giant flying porcupines, though that would be a pretty good idea. Get on that, Nature! We also saw a very cheesy tribal firebreathing, drum-banging and dancing display which was pretty silly and pointless, but I like this picture sorta:

Click for Picture

Anyway Singapore was fun, and I’ve produced more sweat than I thought humanly possible. And with that thought, I will leave you, dear reader.

Check out my full Singapore flickr set below:

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4 Comments!


  1. Andy
    Sep 28th, 2007at10:20 am

    Wow. Your English accent is even bad in type.

  2. Bob
    Sep 28th, 2007at10:55 am

    I can’t think of anything clever. Giant flying porcupines!

  3. Sep 28th, 2007at11:00 am

    Andy dont you have a chimney to sweep or something? Blimey my tuppence Mary Poppins!

    But thank you for the comment. Your concern is duly noted.

  4. Mom
    Sep 29th, 2007at2:39 pm

    I love your photos. M

 

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