Saturday, May 15, 2004


Singapore was fantastic. I had expected it to be a smaller, cleaner and less interesting version of Hong Kong but it was so much more than that.

So here are the highlights:

- Walking off the plane and being greeted by a gigantic poster of Preity Zinta at immigration. Singapore is about to hold a Bollywood version of the oscars and there are posters of stars everywhere.
- Getting picked up at the airport! My first trip in a car in months!
- Trees, gardens and flowers everywhere! It really is the garden city. Kowloon Park paled in comparison next to Singapore's botanical gardens.
- Cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating. No glares if you stay too long. And no strangers getting put on your table (am I getting anti-social?).
- Wide streets and big spaces for pedestrians to walk on the sides of them.
- Little India! This is probably the best indicator of the difference between Hong Kong and Singapore. Whereas Chunking Mansions (HK's 'Little India') is seedy and dirty (two deaths from heroin overdose this week), the Singapore version is incredibly clean and beautiful. And like so many parts of Singapore, it contains old colonial era buildings that have been kept in almost perfect condition.

But the real highlight was getting to see my friends Joan and Saz. They were the ultimate tour guides. I'm hoping they visit HK soon and I'm planning to demsonstrate at least a couple of aspects in which HK outshines Singapore.
- Firstly, a trip up Hong Kong peak will make them rethink their opinion of Mt Faber.
- Secondly, I can't wait to see their reaction to Temple St and surroundings. I almost laughed when we drove through a nice looking suburb with lots of restaurants and fruit shops and they told me it was the red light district!

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