Today I saw Singapore. Dewi, Nana, Julinda and I walked the city, and the whole downtown area. The three girls followed me like ducks, and I followed the little dots I had made on a Singapore map. The dots representing landmarks of the city, which I wanted to visit. Basically I want to visit all of the places mentioned in the Lonely Planet South East Asia on A Shoestring book. So many places to see.
It is so exciting. Today we got to see the different cultures - the Chinese around the shopping centers, the Indians in Little India area and the Arabs in Arab Street. We saw a lot of beautiful old buildings: churches, colonial government buildings and museums. We also saw a lot of unique buildings: temples, and mosques. Amazing. I took many pictures.
Singapore is really amazing. It's very modern and neat. The transportation and communication are very efficient. We like the MRT. We like the way we can buy the ticket automatically. I like putting in the coins and pushing the buttons and get the tickets. The trains are very nice and comfortable. The aircond cold. No grafitti on the walls.
The buses are also very clean and comfortable. We don't need cars here.
We can find public phones everywhere, so people don't have to have cellphones. Amazing. I can't believe we're still in Asia. I thought only in Europe or America we can find places so modern like this. Like in the movies.
I admire the way they try to make the most of what they have. All landmarks and places of interests are promoted and information is very easy to get. You don't have to get lost here.
It's an expensive place though :( We can't afford to eat even at those side street restaurant, especially me, with only S $600 to last me two weeks. Fortunately we can stay at Atul's apartment. Atul is my friend Abun's boyfriend. Or ex-boyfriend. Because he just got married. An arranged marriage. He's Indian. I've only met him a couple of times before but he offered a place to stay for me and my friends. He didn't even know them.
His apartment is simple and very sparse. But he filled the fridge with food for us. He knows we don't have much money. I sleep in a spare room in a tiny bed, and the three girls sleep in his bedroom. He himself sleeps in the sofa.
Today we walked and walked, our feet were very sore and our back stiff. We ate bread as breakfast, courtesy of Atul. At lunch we bought a $ 1 bread for four of us.
Tonight Atul took us out to walk along the Orchard road. The girls and I saw a fun sex shop with condoms of many different neon colours. We don't have anything like this in Indonesia so of course we wanted to go in. Atul was very embarrassed, he told us he would be waiting further down the road :)) Poor Atul. We went in and looked around. Didn't buy anything though.
Then Atul took us to an Indian fast food restaurant and treated us to a dinner.
Singapore, Monday 14 June 1999