Singapore: First Impressions
Just when I was thinking that I’m not getting chances to travel around, I had an opportunity to visit Singapore last week. Unfortunately my trip started on Monday morning and ended on Friday evening (yes, not the an ideal itinerary to explore the place). And on top of it since it was a business visit, I was confined till evening attending meetings & trainings. Even then after long hours at office, I somehow managed to sneak out of the four walls couple of evenings and roam around. Here are few observations/ impressions – (my observations are more or less like a blind man commenting on an elephant just by touching one part of it)
An isotope of the UK
The moment I got into the taxi at airport and started towards the hotel, I felt I was in the UK. You take a big bustling city from the UK, cut it out of the country and throw it away into the sea somewhere neat the Equator – that’s Singapore for you. Having spent some time in both England and Scotland, I couldn’t stop myself in comparing the two countries. I saw so many similarities – infrastructure, the tubes & buses, driving rules, unpredictable weather. and yet the place is so different in many ways – the culture, people, the languages.
World shrunk into an island
Talking about the people and culture, Singapore is a place where the world is shrunk into an island. You find people from all over the world, of different countries, races, and speaking various languages. I heard quite a few different languages from different parts of the world. And as with the world’s population ratio – it’s not surprising that there are more people of Chinese & Indian origin.
WiFi yes, Sim card no
Most of the roaming around on the evening of day one was spent in searching for a prepaid Sim card for me to use. But the search went in vain, maybe I was searching in wrong shopping malls since they were not in the regular tourist area and they were close to the hotel I was staying. Surprisingly, I was connected all through out thanks to WiFi networks – I could find WiFi networks almost everywhere I went, but not Sim. After looking out for the Sim for two days, I decided not to buy since I could live without one for next 3 days.
One of the evenings, I found myself in front of Marina Bay Sands and then decided to roam around aimlessly. Perhaps the best thing I did during my stay there. The walking around went on for couple of hours, close to 10 KMs. I was left gaping at the buildings with amazing & wide variety of architecture – starting from the Marina Bay Sands, Esplanade, many more buildings unknown to me.
It’s raining, no it’s not
Being closer to the Equator, Singapore doesn’t have distinct seasons – it rains, shines, thunders 365 days a year. On the first, I looked out the window to see dark clouds gathering and within no time it started pouring like I had never seen before. After 10 minutes, there you go, there was no sign of a single cloud and it was a clear sky. When I stepped out for lunch in another 30 minutes there was no sign of a single drop on the ground as if it had not rained for weeks!! And if you are not a sound sleeper, you are bound to get awakened by the loud thunders during night :)
That was Singapore through my eyes. I might be wrong here, but that’s how I got to see the island country.