I would be surprised if anyone returned to the ship after our 30 hours in port without planning on ways of getting back to Singapore. In terms of modern, international cities I’ve visited, it has definitely made my top-three list (Shanghai and London being the other two). If I were a city, I would be Singapore. There is this phenomenal incorporation of so many cultures wrapped up in this amazing city. The first thing we did was go to Little India and that alone made me want to live in Singapore. Posters with Shah Rukh Khan everywhere, Indian food made in a clean environment due to Singapore’s crazy health regulations, and Bollywood movies in every other shop. It was incredible! I got henna on the streets for less than $5 (hey mom and dad, I could have gotten a tattoo like a lot of other SAS kids. I can get as much henna as I want!) Everything was amazing. After my fill of Little India (going to be in real India in less than two weeks–eek!) we went to Orchard Road which was basically miles and miles of shops containing things I will never be able to afford. We then wandered around aimlessly, trying different foods and looking at the incredible architecture of the city. That night only emphasized my desire to live in the city. We decided to to go to the top of the Marina Bay Sands (an iconic hotel known for its iconic view of the city) and the view did not disappoint. It was breathtaking. Next to the city are these gardens that look like the trees from Avatar which we explored after visiting the hotel which were just unreal. I felt like I was on the set of a movie. I think all of Singapore was crafted to make you feel like you’re in the unnaturally perfect world and never want to leave.
The next day was somehow better than the first. Seeing that it’s hard to coordinate with people when you have no way of communicating with them, my plans fell through for the day and I really had no idea what to do. So I wandered by myself! If there’s any city to do that in, it’s Singapore. It ended up being the best day. I could do everything at my own pace and didn’t need to compromise my plans to tailor it to other group members. So naturally, I went to Chinatown. It’s probably my favorite Chinatown I’ve ever been to (next to real towns, in real China). I had milk tea with pearls and walked around talking to different street vendors and admiring the world around me. It was fantastic! I met an American couple (who now live in Singapore) who introduced me to this painter they buy from. He used to be a pig-farmer, and then found a passion in art and has been selling it ever since. I spent a good two hours talking with them about their travels and about my experience on Semester at Sea. It was a really relaxed and wonderful afternoon, pictures will be coming in the next couple of posts! I’ve only been in Myanmar for a day and already I have pictures I want to share as well!