01 May 2014

FLASH TRAVEL : SINGAPORE



























I had about six hours in Singapore so I did my best to work my way around the city just taking it in with no particular goal in mind.  I just wanted to wander around and get a feel for the city and what it was mostly about.  Unfortunately, it was raining the entire time which doesn’t bother me but does affect me taking photos with needing to constantly keep my camera under cover and it limited what I could do so I skipped on parks, gardens or anything where the weather affected my activity, plus I didn’t want to spend a lot of money to merely check the city out in a short period of time.  So I mostly wandered around from area to area on foot or by their public train.

Singapore is an extremely eclectic, modern, and wealthy city with roots in the Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Caucasian cultures and it could be seen everywhere - in their food, architecture, styles of dress and more…  Like the Philippines, it’s diversity of cultures is what sets it apart from other SE Asian countries.  Nice thing about traveling there, pretty much everyone speaks English.  On some level, it feels like if a culture can generally speak English, it’s gonna be more expensive… costs of education and globalization I guess and Singapore does not disappoint when it comes to being expensive.  By expensive, I mean that I would compare it to Australia in some instances but it is at the top of the world’s most expensive city list as numero uno.  So… safe to say I won’t be moving there any time soon.

There was really only one thing I wanted to do, try the original Singapore Sling at the Raffles Hotel.  The Raffles Hotel Singapore is a stunning and historic hotel where they serve the (supposedly) original Singapore Sling cocktail which originated in the early 1900’s but possibly the late 1800’s as it’s history and where it all started is debatable, but there’s an interesting article on it here with Imbibe Magazine.  And since I am a lover of sweet and fruity cocktails I had to give it a go - it was definitely was super delicious and the barterers make an art of it.  Thing is, it’ll set you back about $24 and that was with my discount from my airline, otherwise it would have been $30.  By far the most expensive cocktail I’ve ever purchased and is a bit expensive even by Los Angeles’ standards for above par mixology.  For as fancy of a place the Raffles is, they also serve a handful of peanuts in the shell directly on the table or bar for you, so of course with that comes peanut shells all over the place.  It’s like low-brow classiness but I dig it.  Would I go there again? No, not unless someone else is paying.  It’s just ridiculous to pay that amount for a cocktail that I could slurp up in a few sips and not get a good buzz off of it, but it was a once in a lifetime experience.  I can check that off the list of things to do in my life.

Flash travel question: Would I go back to Singapore to check it out for a longer period of time?  Yes, but only for about two days and I think I would feel like I would have had my fill - besides, I don’t think I could afford to spend much more time than that there (keep in mind that I’m on backpacker budget, not a person on a two-week holiday).  Every person should check out Singapore because of its diverse cultures but also because it’s the new Asia and what it’s going to become and it is a fascinating city.  When you live in Southeast Asia, to get a job in Singapore means ‘you’ve made it’, it’s their New York City.  It’s thought of the epicenter for successful, globalized business here in Southeast Asia.  If you’re based in SE Asia, you can easily visit Singapore for relatively cheap though Air Asia as it’s headquartered there and has so many flight deals emailed weekly.  And by cheap, I mean like if your timing is right, you can get a flight for like $10.  Crazy cheap sometimes!  


If you could do one day in Singapore, what would you do?  And would you have spent $30 on a Singapore Sling?

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