Singapore – Our first impressions

March 2nd, 2009 by scott and becky

Our first impressions of Singapore are that we love this city! It has a great multicultural mix that makes Toronto look homogenous (OK, maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration – there are fewer cultures in Singapore, but more people from each culture).

Becky riding over a fancy river walk bridge

Becky riding over a fancy river walk bridge

Riding around town, Becky was grinning and saying hi to everyone. She did not realize just how oppressive the Middle East has been to her. In the Middle East (Syria and Jordan particularly) she could not smile or make eye contact with men – especially young men. Anytime she did, she got hissed at or she was made to feel uncomfortable. She quickly learned to do as the local women and just walk looking at the pavement and not smiling – which is so out of her nature. It wasn’t until we arrived in Singapore and the men were giving her a thumbs up, smiling and waving that she realized how this affected her moods. It was wonderful to allowed to be visibly happy and friendly.

In Singapore, we are staying with our friends Gordana and Mark. They used to live in Ottawa, then moved to Atlanta, and only last month they moved to Singapore. This worked out very well for us, and we are happy to be able to visit with them. We had planned to visit earlier in our trip when our ship was leaving from Savannah, Georgia, but then we got redirected to Miami.

Upon our arrival, Gordana was on an airplane on her way home from a business trip to Toronto. Mark entertained us by leading us out for a lunch of a Korean noodle soup and dinner of Thai food. We are definitely going to enjoy the variety of cuisines while we are here. For Becky at least, SE Asian cuisine is comfort food, so she is happy to be able to sample local varieties of the food with which she is at least partially familiar.

We expect to be here for about a week. We need to visit the Thai embassy and try to get ourselves a 60 or 90 day visa. From all the reports we have read, Thailand is only issuing 15-day visas at land crossings, which is too short for us. We will also be trying to book our onward passage from someplace in the Middle East to someplace on the North West coast of North America.

One Response to “Singapore – Our first impressions”

  1. Saille Says:

    Ah! I loved Singapore too, although it being so clean, colourful, and shiny made me feel really grungy! There IS definitely an attitude shift when you get to Singapore. One of my big shocks arriving there on the way back to Canada was seeing women showing skin, and seeing people of both sexes out enjoying nightlife. It blew me away.

    To answer your other message (sorry it’s taken so long), I loved Indonesia, West Sumatra was beautiful and the people were vibrant and friendly. I could probably talk your ears off about it… I intend to go back and visit my host village and group members sometime (one was from Bali!). I think I’m only just realizing how much it’s influenced me.

    School is tough but enjoyable and keeping me very busy, and crunch time is just starting. Somehow I still manage to make it out to the Chalice choir, and the Ottawa Regional Youth Choir to boot! Have you been singing as you cycle? Also, there’s some sad choir news: Bill Royds passed away a few weeks ago, I’m not sure if you’d heard. The choir will be singing at his memorial service and at a concert in his honour as well. He’s missed.

    I hope you have a lovely time in Singapore! If you’re into it, I recommend the seafood. I had some amazing sushi while I was there.

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