Singapore Adventure

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

National Day
by venitha

Today is Singapore's 40th birthday, so in a tribute to National Day...
What We Love About Singapore

Venitha's Top Five
  • The public transportation. The MRT, the buses, and the taxis, all easy, clean, cheap, and efficient. It rocks.
  • The skyline. There is no nicer end to a Singapore day than a glass of wine and the panoramic view from our rooftop garden.

  • The orchids. Beautiful, stately, elegant. And I'm awed that any living thing can maintain such qualities in this heat.

  • The fruits. Mangoes and guavas and chikkus and rambutan and longans and tamarinds and persimmons and... endless varieties, fresh and delicious and inexpensive.
  • The ease of life. In spite of all my whining, Singapore provides a soft landing in this part of the world. Nothing makes us appreciate clean, safe, efficient, and English-speaking Singapore more than venturing just beyond its borders. It is truly Asia Lite.

Jim's Top Five
  • The restaurants. Every ethnic cuisine you can imagine, tasty and affordable. We could dine at a different place every night of our tenure here, and we'd still only have nibbled a few grains from the rice bowl.
  • The languages. It's a constant source of amazement (and frequent bewilderment), the mad rush of different languages swirling around us. Two friends shouting their goodbyes across the street; was that Tamil? Or Kanada? or Hindi? The checkout girls in the market holding a side conversation in Malay. And all this in Chinatown beneath signs in Chinese!
  • The clean air. Compared to many Asian cities, Singapore has very little pollution. The streets are clean. The cars are all relatively new and thus relatively non-polluting. There is no swarm of mopeds with filthy 2-cycle engines fouling the air. Wonderful!
  • The cool breeze during and after a rainstorm. Like the joyous celebration of the first warm spring day in Madison, it's a gasp of relief.
  • The people. From the ethnically-diverse group co-workers who regularly introduce me to fun new foods for lunch... to the friends in the large expat community who help us stay sane... to the nice Singaporeans who befriended us after our first Malay language class. Even the cab drivers frequently give us a great ride filled with advice on where to eat, what to visit, or things to avoid!

Venitha and Jim