Monday, March 15, 2010


I'm watching the Friends episode where 'fat Monica' dances the closing credits. Hilarious, and it made me think of how skinny my crew was on SQ405. I can't help but think that Singapore Airlines must save a lot of money on fabric as their flight attendants aren't using a lot of it for their uniforms. Hiring skinny staff is a great cost-cutting measure that perhaps United Airlines could pick up!

My flight over here from Delhi was a 5hr nap punctuated by a 2nd breakfast(!) and I arrived in Singapore ready to face the beggars, grime and pollution that was surely waiting for me.

In fact, the streets of Singapore appeared to have been freshly and thoroughly scrubbed for my visit, probably by little elves that scampered back into their underwater lair at sunrise.

Everything in Singapore is so clean I was in a state of shock as I kept thinking about the contrasts with India. And if I'm noticing this as a tourist, what do Indians who've never left the country make of it? I was told that Indians who live here are quick to adapt to the clean ways. I guess they have no choice!

I got wondering at the thought of a "Clean up India" campaign where citizens would start picking up and bagging trash from the streets in their neighborhood. It could be sponsored by Airtel, Vodaphone, Pepsi or Coke, like everything else in India. It would probably take about 50 years of weekends spent cleaning up, and they would need a landfill the size of Sri Lanka (or Sri Lanka) to dump all the plastic bottles and bags in, but I think it could be done.

There are modest sounding stickers everywhere declaring that 'Singapore's OK' as if to say, "Singapore's just OK; we're sorry, it really should be cleaner". So has nobody made a business out of "Singapore's so clean jokes"? I'd like to start: "Singapore's so clean, you have to wipe your feet before you get off the plane, and if you're from Malaysia you have to remove your shoes altogether". Or how about,"Singapore's so clean if you spit or chew gum you'll go to jail". Oh wait that last one isn't a joke.

I knew that selling gum in Singapore was illeagal, but my cab driver was rather zealous in his warnings, "police find you with gum, you get in trouble!". I was actually chewing gum in the back of his car at the time, and my jaw slowly stopped moving... I would just have to park my Orbit behind my upper lip until I could find a safe place to spit it out. Perhaps it would just be safer to swallow it.

My friends Jodie and Kai are my hosts for this trip and I am so excited to be with them just 2 months into their move here from Sydney. Luckily for me, they're foodies too and had already been busy scoping out the best hawker stands for yummy treats.

I was so glad to see them and start my weekend of non-stop fun and adventure. Their amazing pad at Sunglade Condos is nothing short of a vacation resort; the giant pool looked so tempting I could barely maintain a conversation while drooling at the chance to cool off with a dip in the never-abating heat and humidity.

My 3 nights in Singapore were amazing- there's just too much to describe in detail, so here's a quick recap for posterity's sake: food at Chop Chop Hawkers, lots of pool time, a day at the Ion mall on Orchard road, a visit to East Coast Park, making new friends with Maarten, his friend Martijn, father Vincent and sister Saskia from Holland, (Maarten is marrying Jodie's friend Alicent next week), eating yummy spicy crab and stingray, drinks at Alley bar, a surreal visit to Orchard Towers, clubbing at Attica in Clarke Quay. Let's not forget our 4am breakfast at McDonalds and late night Karaoke cab rides. How much more fun could I possibly have squeezed in? Well maybe wakeboarding at 360 in East Coast Park but I chickened out at the last minute. But hey it's good to leave something for next time!

My whirlwind tour was over before I could say, "Wrigleys, Double the pleasure Double the Fun" and sleep was not featured heavily in the trip, so I was exhausted as I made my way to the "Budget Airlines Terminal" at Changi airport for my Tiger Airways flight to Kuala "don't call it Koala" Lumpur. I was off to stay a few days with my friends Mike and Sandy, also recently migrated from Sydney.

My cab ride over was of course another chance to catch up on local views with my 'state of the union' conversation with my cabbie. He's convinced that the migrant workers are a threat to the safe reputation of Singapore and I argued that they're probably more interested in working hard and sending money home, but I could read between the lines.

I waved goodbye to Singa, and slept the short hop over to KUL airport for my next adventure.

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