We woke up mad early to catch our flight, like we usually do in order to get such cheap rates. We flew with an Indonesian airline called Wings Air and Malindo Air. They are the domestic and international airlines of the country so they offer the cheapest rates. We got to Singapore around lunch time. The airport was so nice. There were plants and waterfalls everywhere. There was modern art on the walls and everything was so nice and new. The customs line took a while but they had complimentary candies to take once through. Then you could use a touch screen tv to rate your experience and let them know if they need to improve anything. Welcome to Singapore, the land that strives for perfection and is pretty damn close. It is a very efficient country that doesn’t fall behind in the latest trends in technology or design. Everything is electronic and new. Everything works the way it should and if something doesn’t work, there is a help desk right around the corner. This country does not belong in Asia, or even this world. It is on a whole different level of kicking ass. With near perfection comes many rules that are enforced. There is no J-walking, littering, chewing gum or food on the subway. Those crimes result in $500-$2000 fines. Other crimes, such as stealing result in a fine, public beating and/or jail time, or both. And drug trafficking is punishable by death. This country is a ray of sunshine. Cars are all very expensive. There are no cheap cars here because cars need to be imported and since the country is so efficient, it wants people to use public transportation and therefore taxes cars 150% above the price of the car. So for example, a $100,000 car will cost you $250,000. Yup. #BallerStatus. We took the subway to our hostel which was on the outskirts of the main area but still close to everything. It was called the Hive and was pretty nice to stay at. It was cheap for Singapore at $10 each per night. We met a guy from Canada who wanted to come with us for the day but he had to wait for another guy he met so he told us to just go. We got on the subway and went to Orchard Street, the main shopping street. The street was all malls and had every store I could possibly think of, multiple times. I bet all the stores do really well because the economy here is booming and everyone has money to spend on nice things. We ate really good kebabs and then just walked the street. There were some cool looking buildings with brand new architecture. Everything was clean and modern. You can’t find one wrapper on the ground here. We then took a subway to Chinatown, which was a shithole that smelled like ass, as usual. I don’t understand. Chinese people move to every city in the world and just create a Chinatown there instead of immersing themselves in the culture. It’s a crazy phenomenon. We walked around the mall of knockoffs and cheap junk and them made our way to Clarke Quay, the nice going out area with a bunch of restaurants. We scoped it out and it seemed really cool, but very expensive. A shot is $10 and a pint of cheap beer during happy hour is $9. Bars promote this like it is a bargain. It was shocking. Things aren’t even that much in NYC. The area was so cool though. It was built specifically to be the going out area of Singapore. There are four large sections and bars and restaurants all right next to each other. There aren’t any other bars in the city really, besides bars in nice hotels. This is city planning at its finest. The buildings were all different colors too. It looks neat. We ate at Chillis because we were craving an American meal with buffalo wings and unlimited chips and salsa. It was perfect and made us feel way too full after. We then took the subway to the Marina Sands Hotel. From there, we walked to the Gardens at the Bay. It was basically a really cool, modern garden of flora that made you feel like you were in Avatar. It was sick. There were these huge tree structures called Supergrove Trees. They were about 15 to 20 stories high and had millions of lights that gradually changed colors. It was incredible. We saw one of the two light shows at night by accident because we happened to walk up to them as it was starting. We walked through the 15-20 huge Supergrove Trees as the light show was happening and were just like Whoaaaa. It was awesome. After walking around the gardens for a little bit, we went to the Marina Sands to try to get to the top and see a great view of the city, but after 6:00 PM they have a fancy dress code. We decided to chill by the bay outside of the mall right there, and just enjoyed the nighttime skyline around the bay. After an hour, we headed back to the hostel. It was a long day but very exciting.
Today, we woke up early because we wanted to go to the Singapore Zoo! Neither one of us have been to a zoo in a while but this is the best zoo in the world, so we decided to devote a day to it. We took the subway about 45 minutes and then a bus for a half hour. We arrived and then decided which package we wanted for the day. We decided to do the zoo all day, and then the night safari at night. The zoo easily took our entire day. We walked around and saw all of the different animals. I understand why it is the best zoo in the world. There aren’t any cages or fences. The zoo was designed with engineers and animal researchers in mind. The zoo separates the animals from the crowds of people by taking advantage of the animal’s weaknesses and qualities. For example, if the animal can’t climb, like a turtle, the only thing blocking them from the crowd is a low log that is hammered into the ground. There were arangatangs that were in trees above us, swinging from ropes and branches, but they wouldn’t come to the ground and escape because they were too high up. They were at least 25 feet above us, which was too high to jump because they would really hurt themselves. About that high, there were metal spokes and wire preventing them from climbing down. It was so cool. Lions were separated by a moat with wall that was too far for them to jump or climb. We saw some cool animals that I have never seen before. We also went inside of this cage with a ton of animals walking and flying around us in all directions. We saw some big birds, flying squirrels, giant lizards and other animals. One bird pooped on my head, so that was a cool highlight of my day. We went to a sea-lion show and watched them perform tricks like backflips and balancing acts. It was fun. We then left the park around dinner time and walked to the night safari park, which is separate. We ate there and then watched a fire breathing show. Once we entered the park, we went to an “animals of the night” show that showed us animals that sleep all day and stay awake all night. Their eyes aren’t adjusted to light so the people running the show made sure, multiple times that flashes on cameras were off. Some Indians and Chinese still managed to have flashes and startle the animals even though the people running the show told them in their home language. I’ll never understand how some people are so oblivious. But then again, there were 250 people in the Indian tour group and over 50 in the Chinese tour group. After the show, we got on a tram car that didn’t have any lights and we rode around the park like a safari. The only lights were dim lights over some of the animals that were solar lighting of that of the moon, so the animals could handle it. We got off half way around the park and walked around. It was neat at night because it wasn’t crowded and we were within feet of wild animals and had no idea until we rounded corners. We saw a bunch of lions and tigers. We learned that tigers are only in Asia, not Africa, so that is interesting. We got back on a tram car and finished the remainder of the park. We saw all sorts of animals and the park was really neat because many animals walk right up to our tram. I have no idea how they keep these animals in their designated areas but they found a way to make us feel like we were right in with the animals by doing this. After we took the tram around the entire park, we then walked a path that went around the entire park again, this time seeing some animals that you couldn’t see from the tram. We had a great time and were glad that we did this today. It was a neat change from the rest of our trip so far. We took a bus to the subway and took the subway home. Once again, we were exhausted from walking all day and passed out right when we got home.
We woke up around 10 am and too the subway to the botanical gardens. Singapore has the best botanical gardens in the world so we wanted to run around the whole thing. We ran about a mile, but it was so hot and humid so we stopped and just walked back to the main gate. There were plants from all over the world and they were all in their own section. There were also plants that are used for medicines and treatment of sickness. We liked the section that showed plants that were around as earth evolved over time. We learned that moss is one of the oldest plants in the world and it is one of the only things still around today from so long ago. There was a rainforest section that was pretty neat, too. We really enjoyed seeing everything. We then went back to our hostel to shower and change, before taking the subway to the colonial district. Basically, there were a few old western buildings and a hotel that is famous for inventing the drink, the Singapore Sling. We them walked towards the Marina Sands hotel and got a great view of the harbor. We walked through a Chinese New Year festival that we wanted to come back to at night to see all of the lights. We walked across a bridge that looked like a DNA strand and got to the Marina Sands. This hotel is so cool. It’s about 60 stories and has three separate towers. On top of these towers is a long structure that looks like a giant ship. On the ship is an infinity pool, a bar, and a viewing area. It’s a great place to get a view of the main harbor and the city. It’s $25 to go up to the viewing area, and we were like F that. We went to an elevator right next to the tourist elevator that went up to the bar. We said we wanted to get drinks, so they let us up for free. Once we got to the top, we walked right passed the bar and just enjoyed the sights. We wanted to get into the area with the infinity pool, but it is strictly guarded by workers to make sure only people staying at the hotel can get in. After getting some great pictures, we took the elevator down and grabbed some food at the food court in the mall. We had some dumplings and noodles. We them went back to the Gardens at the Bay. We walked around a little and saw the entire grounds before seeing the incredible light show again once it got dark. We then walked back to the Chinese New Year festival and saw some pretty neat light up Chinese things. We also had a great panorama view of the skyline. We then took the subway to Clarke Quay to see the going out district. It was really neat, but very expensive. During happy hour, you can buy a beer for $9. We walked around and saw everything until we got tired and headed back to the hostel to go to bed. It was another long, but productive, day.
For our last day in Singapore, we decided to go to Sentosa Island. This island has a Universal Studios, a water park, go carts, beaches, and other fun activities. We decided that we wanted to go to the water park. We took a subway to the harbor where SAS was docked when I visited this city two years ago. It was nice to see the harbor again. We took a monorail to the island and walked to the water park. The area was really nice and kind of resembled what City Walk would look like. We were the first people in the water park and got to ride all the good slides with zero wait. We only saw about ten people for the first hour in the park, so we could do whatever we wanted. It was great to have the park to ourselves. There were good slides. They had one that kept shooting you back up after going down quick hills. They also had two that were like funnels. We ate lunch and then went around the lazy river. We then went to this area with obstacles like a rope climb, balance beam and rock jump. We met a worker there from Singapore who we talked to for a while. She was about our age and explained to us what it’s like to live there. She told is how competitive everything is with schooling because Singapore is so small, but has some of the best schools in the world. Because of that, locals want to go to the good universities, but so do other people in the world. Since there aren’t many universities, if she didn’t get into a university there, she probably would have to settle for a low paying job. You either get wealthy after working your ass off or settle for mediocracy. There is no in between, unless you move to a different country. This would mean leaving Asia all together to go to Europe or the States because those are the only places with comparable education to Singapore. She is also frustrated because many rich Chinese people send their spoiled kids to Singapore for university and they feel like they are more important than locals. That is frustrating for her because people are coming into her country, which is arguably the most advanced country in the world, and they are taking her opportunities away while making her feel second class. It’s a crazy world we live in. After having a great talk with our friend, we went snorkeling in this little aquarium. There was a Chinese tour group of 50 or so that was in line with us. One guy almost drowned even though he had a life jacket on the water was only four feet deep. He lost his cool when he put his head in the water and freaked out. Matt and I just floated by calmly and enjoyed the colorful fish. It was small but there were some really cool looking fish. The worker we met recommended that we leave Sentosa and go to Little India for the rest of the day. We walked the boardwalk to the subway and took it to little India, where we walked around and went into a bunch of little shops. It was chill and noone was heckling us, unlike in real India. We then decided to go back to Chilis for unlimited chips and salsa. We regret nothing! I then looked up if any geocaches were around, and sure enough, there were plenty. We went to find one in a nearby park. I found it pretty quickly in a wall carved mural. The casing blended in well. It was a neat one. We then walked up a staircase into the park to explore. The staircase took us to the original lighthouse of the island. It’s crazy that Singapore used to be a fisherman island and now it is one of the world’s greatest success stories. After wandering around the park on the hill, we walked to the subway and went back to our hostel. We loved our time in this city. There is much to do and see. And it is so much different than the rest of Asia. It’s a nice break from the heckling and sketchy stuff.