Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Singapore Adventure - Final

Time to fill in the gaps of our trip to Singapore. Where to begin?
Well for one I have to say the flight to and from Singapore on Emirates Air was amazing in itself. Flying coach on Emirates Air offers you just as many benefits of flying business on any American airline. They even serve you a full meal for a 3 1/2 hour flight, a good meal at that!

I'd say our hotel was pretty much typical what Holiday Inn has to offer. It had a very nice lobby and glass elevators. As with everything else in Singapore it was expensive, to include breakfast for about $18 per day and Internet access about the same. Room service was unbelievably expensive. One cup of coffee, about $8. Don't ask me how I know that.

We wanted to experience the many food courts that Singapore has to offer. They call them hawker centers. They are very large and have food stalls that seem to go on and on and on. You might think that these places are dirty and loud, but they are neither. The centers were very clean and you can leave your trays on the table. We were surprised that with all of the people we were able to carry on a conversation without raising our voices. The prices were very reasonable. Oh, yes, how about the food? Fantastic. I tried the chicken rice and Peking duck with noodles, delicious!

We visited the Hard Rock Cafe, one of three on the island. The prices were a bit higher than the States, but they had the same good ol' HRC menu. I always get the pulled pork bbq sandwich, for no other reason other than it's probably one of the least expensive items on the menu : )

The metro system was great. Very easy to use and inexpensive. The station were very clean and architecturally pleasing. The trains were behind glass doors that opened when they arrived which kept the noise down. A neat thing about taking the metro is that if you bought a single pass you can redeem your pass at any of the ticket machines for a $1 refund.

Singapore is famous for two things, shopping and food. I mentioned the hawker centers but they also had food malls. No, not food courts, food malls. We visited two and could not believe the huge selection of foods they had to offer. The vendors went on and on with every type of food you could imagine. Again they were very clean and the prices were reasonable. Speaking of clean, what do you imagine when you think of a mall bathroom? Now how about a food court bathroom? You probably wouldn't even want to use it unless you really wanted to. We used one at a food court and I almost took a picture of the inside. It was like something you would find in a five star hotel. The attendants carried tongs to pick up anything that fell on the floor. It was amazing.

Now we found out the shopping fell into two categories. For the most part the prices were totally ridiculous. Crazy expensive. Yet, the malls were crowded just like any mall in the States and the kids were buying the stuff up. But on the other end of the scale we visited a mall in Chinatown and they had many stores with lots of reasonably priced goods. In fact most of Chinatown had small stores with good prices.

Final thoughts? I really enjoyed Singapore. By far the cleanest, most advanced and civilized country I have ever visited. I liked the food, I liked the friendly people. I liked that nobody cared we were tourists. When we were in Chinatown we ate at a hawker center and had to have been the only tourists there. We didn't worry about the price mysteriously getting higher, nobody stared at us, nobody tried to scam us. It was very nice. But on the other hand it was just very expensive as a whole. More expensive than the Maldives and I thought that was expensive. The Maldives was affordable compared to Singapore! I'm not sure if I'd visit there again. I'd like to see Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) next.

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