Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Singapore Diaries

I know, I know. March has been a silent month here on the Thought Express. Blame it on the year closing (as we did for everything at work around this time). The thing is, the Thought Express has been philandering all over South East Asia these past weeks and thus been out of touch. But that's what we do...eat, see and come back with stories and experiences for you guys!

Larger than life Giraffes at the Singapore Zoo

Singapore, unlike what people warned me, was a blast. It really shouldn't be delegated just a day or two in your travel plans but is a complete vacation in itself. Yes, the currency conversion does kill us. at Rs.46, the SGD is pretty high and thus a meal in a decent restaurant can put you back 4-5 grand. But that's why you need a week here. To learn from the mistakes of the first few days. Singaporeans eat out all the time. They barely cook at home. But they don't go eat at these fancy restaurants. Actually, come to think of it, we don't go eat in Olive everyday either right?! Every mall here has huge food courts with a multitude of options. No, really. My first day there, I took 20 minutes to see all the options and was so overwhelmed, I actually returned to my table without ordering. When in doubt, go for the chicken rice. It's far better than the Malaysian version and is almost always good. Singapore also has these amazing hawker centers, something like Bhramaputra Market, if you know Noida. There are tiny stalls of a gazillion hawkers selling all kinds of cuisines and you can even find your Butter Chicken or Biryani here!

Avatar or Star Trek? The surreal super trees at The Gardens by the Bay

Another thing that I found fantastic there, was the public transport system. The government has made purchasing a car so attrociously expensive that even the very well to do people don't want to waste money on one. But to enable this, the public transport system is fantastic. The MRT (metro) runs just about everywhere and there wasn't a single day in our week there that we did not use it. The roads are thus never clogged and traffic remains smooth.

Street Performers at the Universal Studios

With the exception of Canada (and I am led to believe, the US), all countries I have been to are not baby friendly. Europe is a nightmare. Try pushing a stroller through those cobbled streets without seriously harming your child (I actually broke a stroller there last year doing just that). Singapore is built for babies. Everyone you see has a stroller with them. In parks, in malls, in the MRT. Thus there isn't a single place without a ramp or a lift. We never had to pick up the stroller over a flight of stairs here. Not even once!

I absolutely loved the city. It's my 3rd day in Malaysia (more on that later) but there is no way that KL can ever trump Singapore.

Ofcourse, it goes without saying that my trip was made fantastic because of our hosts who used us as an excuse to bunk office and took us just about everywhere! And the fact that N happens to be my alter ego...my bestest friend, also helped. Thanks N & B. You're the best.

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