Monday, May 30, 2011

Transported to the future in Singapore

Country #4, Singapore.

A couple months before I left on my trip I got a friend request on Facebook from a Melody (my last name is case you didn't know). I accepted the request and got to know a family member, technically related as my dad's cousin, but family is family. Also,  come to find out, Allen lives in Singapore with his wife and children. What a strange coincidence, no?!

So I had made it one of my goals to reach the southern town of Singapore on the Malay peninsula. I headed here after staying in the cool and temperate Cameron Highlands. Heading into the city which is an island about 25 miles long 15 miles wide (I think), I got quite the culture shock! First of all I was on an actual highway, just like one at home. As I snaked through the city around sunset I started passing downtown and enormous skyscrapers, the modernity of it was just astounding after spending the last 2 1/2 months in much less developed (what is the p.c. term nowadays?) countries like Laos.
I met Allen and his wonderful family including his wife Isabelle, from France, and their three children. They were more than generous, and gave me my own room, the nicest room so far on this trip! Being in Singapore can be related to be home, although I think in some aspects it was much more developed than home, as well as the obvious financial wealth. Singaporeans have lots of money, and they want to spend it.

Spent the days doing a wide variety of things and getting to know eachother and enjoy the company. Some of the highlights included going to the Night Safari Zoo in Singapore. Apparently we were destined to be the stars of this night. First, we were watching a fire breathing show and they needed a 'big strong man' volunteer, and guess who got picked... We all had a good laugh watching Allen on stage with fire being blown around him and he being asked to roar and flex his muscles. What luck. After the fire show we headed down to the Creatures of the Night show where they brought out a whole variety of night creatures including a wolf, otters, and tarzirs. When they asked for a brave young boy to be a volunteer out of the 150 people there, I thought no way, but their son got chosen and was able to be up close and personal with the tarzirs. Lastly the show had 'apparently' lost an animal. After searching a few places they came over to right where we were sitting and asked to see in the area below our feet where there was an underground box. They opened it up and to my surprise at least, there was a 10 foot anaconda just chillin. !!!! Eeeewwwwww. The rest of the night we spent on the safari exploring and seeing a whole bunch of animals in their natural like environments and when they are most active (because during the day it is way too hot!).

We also did some hiking in the reserve on Singapore island which was a really really nice day. We walked down Orchard St.- what seems like the biggest most outlandish shopping area I've ever been too. There were 3 Louis Vutton stores in a matter of 1/3 mile, and the amazing thing about all these stores and shops (which included Starbucks) was that they were all full, even mid-afternoon, they were all full. We went to Sentosa Island, their slogan; "The World's Most Desirable Address." We had some great meals, and this part was a special treat for me after 2 1/2 months of eating oily street food and noodle soup, which I love, don't get me wrong, but it was nice to change it up. And I got to experience a bit of French cuisine, and I liked it, a lot! We toured downtown Singapore which is full of important business buildings, shopping, ridiculous law signs, eating, architectural amazements, camera monitoring, and trash bins! ( I posted many pictures on Facebook)

We did many things and our days were full. I very much enjoyed my stay there and am thankful to Allen and Isabelle for showing me such a great and generous time, they really were too kind!!

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