The first time I went to Singapore I was completely enamoured with the place. It was really hard to leave. I mean, all the memories… The streets I had walked, my favourite restaurants. I really felt like Singapore had becomes a part of me, and I, Singapore.
Maybe this was an extreme reaction to a twelve hour layover. The point is though, Singapore’s been on this pedestal for years, and I was really excited to go back and see if it could meet the ridiculously high expectations I had.
Here was Singapore’s first challenge: hostel accommodation. So this surprises some people who know me, but I’ve never stayed in a hostel/dorm/backpackers’. Not once have I shared accommodation with strangers. Mostly this is because travelling around most of Southeast Asia is so cheap that there’s no need to share a room with anyone, and because when I travel around New Zealand I bring a tent. It’s just never been a necessity.
Also, I’ve not been really smitten with the idea. I don’t feel the need to share a room with strange people. I think other people are weird and they probably smell.
Accommodation in Singapore’s expensive though, and hostels were pretty much all that were in the budget. Fortunately, as a birthday/Christmas present last year, my parents very kindly offered to put us up in a hotel in Singapore. Unfortunately, we arrived in Singapore late in the evening, the night before our hotel reservation and thus had to stay in a hostel. My first hostel stay! It did not meet expectations. Namely, I was not expecting this:
Empty bed upon empty bed. We were the only ones there. So I guess I have to change my stance on hostels. They’re fine. A lot like having your own room, but with bunk beds.
Anyway, we got there around 10pm and were starving. The hostel was in Little India so after we checked in, we walked around until we found an Indian restaurant with a patio. And then we ate too much curry and drank giant beers. It had been a long day of buses.
We meandered back to the hostel, and I decided right then that Singapore, after two hours, had already met my ridiculously high expectations. That, or I was a little bit drunk.
Anyway, it was warm and humid out at night, which is a weather quirk that never fails to make me really nostalgic and happy–it feels too much like fireflies and Waffle House at 2am, which is about the only thing Knoxville was ever good for. So the weather pleased me. Also, all the glittery lights and the food and the people sitting under the glittery lights and eating the food. Also, all the crosswalk lights worked, which really cheered me. Stupid KL and their broken traffic lights.
Anyway, Singapore was great those first two hours, and I decided that I would gladly live there forever and ever. Just so long as I didn’t have to work or pay rent and could spend all my time eating and walking around. I’m actively working on developing this as a career path, so you never know. I mean, Anthony Bourdain does it. I’m just trying to figure out how to do it without any work on the back end. Producing a TV show looks hard.
I’m digressing. Here’s the gist: go to Singapore. It’s the best place in the world. And when you go, please take me with you.
Actually, one of the reasons I’m so keen on living in Singapore (I was serious about that) is that I think there must be something dark underneath it all. I mean, a certain level of control goes into maintaining such a Disney-perfect kind of city. At what point do you start to notice it? It can’t be tax time, since that Facebook guy wouldn’t be headed there if that was the case. So what kind of oppression are we dealing with? Fascinating, right?
I met a guy there last time, who asked me if I was Singaporean. I said no and he told me that he was. He then proceeded to tell me about how awful it is that everyone in Singapore gets fined for things like jaywalking and spitting on the street, and it’s totally controlling and terrible.
All I was thinking, throughout the whole conversation, wasA place with no jaywalking or spitting on the street? Yes please! I do love boundaries. So I think it would be an interesting place to get to know better.
Or maybe not. Maybe it’s shiny and glittery and delicious all the way through.