After 19+ hours of traveling from Seattle, I arrive in Singapore at midnight. As soon as I step outside, I can tell the humidity and I are not going to get along. Furthermore, one of my coworkers who lives in Singapore texts to let us all know it’s unusually humid, maybe the worst Singapore has ever been. Lucky me!
All that aside, I’m so excited to be here! I’ve heard so much about the food and can’t wait for my first meal. I’ve arrived two days before I have to start work to give myself a chance to adjust to the time, and have a chance to do a bit of site seeing. But first, it’s time for some much needed sleep. I head straight for the hotel and pass out almost immediately, excited for the day to come.
I don’t really have any plans for day one, just wander around the river and see what I see, so after breakfast at the hotel, that’s the direction I head. It’s only 9am and I’m instantly sweating as I step outside. Even my camera lens fogs up. It takes a few minutes to acclimate before I can finally get it clear enough to take pictures. But frankly, I feel like foggy pictures would be a more accurate portrayal. You practically have to swim through the air here (I can’t promise I won’t mention the humidity again – sorry not sorry).
My journey takes me through some very English looking colonial-style buildings. This used to be the seat of the English parliament, but today houses various museums and galleries. I almost feel like I’m in London.
The river cuts directly through the city making it pretty easy to find. See those multi-colored awnings? They are all little cafes and restaurants with every kind of food imaginable (Mexican, Italian, English, etc) built into what are some of the oldest buildings in this city. As Singapore grew as a trading port in the late 1800’s, merchants needed places to set up shop. Today they offer a colorful contrast to the skyscrapers that dwarf them.
Later in the week, I come here for sushi dinner. It’s good, but there’s a better spot on Pickering Street, Koji Sushi Bar that I would recommend even more. It doesn’t have the same riverside atmosphere, but the food is delicious.
Further up the river is more color. Can you believe this used to be the police station and Singapore’s first jail? Police stations around the world, take note.
Next I come to Clarke Quay. Once the commercial center of Singapore, today this space has been turned into lively restaurants and night clubs.
At this point, I start to make my way back towards the harbor. There are several bridges crossing the river and I wander back and forth over them, exploring both sides of the river. On the east side, there are tons of statues along the water. There aren’t any signs to explain the meaning behind them, but they certainly add character.
Despite the not so clean appearance of the water, I wouldn’t mind jumping in to cool off with these kids.
On that note, Singapore is one of the cleanest cities I’ve ever been in. Heavy fines are imposed for littering, and if you are caught throwing out larger items, you may be required to clean a specific area wearing a brightly colored vest. Good thing I’m not big on littering.
Back on the west side of the river, I notice a shady park with these giant, mirrored balls. Again, I don’t know the meaning behind them, but I have fun photographing the reflections in them.
Oh hey, there’s me!
By this point, I’ve been walking around for several hours and am ready to have a rest, escape some of the humidity. Time to make my way to the harbor. But, you’ll have to wait to see those pictures until my next post!