Observations of Singapore #1

The first thing we noticed when we arrived in Singapore is that it isnít really all that hot here Ė compared to sitting on a frying pan.  Now, I exaggerate, of course.  It isnít hot here at all compared to Abu Dhabi.  But compared to Colorado (where we were before coming here) itís DARNED hot.  Most of the days have been cloudy, but when the sun comes out occasionally it warms up in a hurry.  Of course, like most of the hot places in the world these days, itís usually easy enough to rush from one air-conditioned space to another and avoid most of the heat.  Iíd have to say our trip to Singapore is very little like what it must have been to come here one or two hundred years ago, when the jungle (and tigers) and heat were ever present and inescapable.

Because of all this heat, we were going through clothes in a hurry and had to quickly search for a laundry here in Singapore.  This turned out to be a bit of a challenge.  Itís not that there are no laundries; theyíre all over the place.  However, they do not wash underwear.  We donít know why; weíre guessing they feel itís unsanitary for their washing machines.  So instead of dropping off laundry at any place within walking distance of our hotel, we drop it off at the one place we found that does lower itself to washing underwear half way between the hotel and work. 

Weíre staying on Orchard Road.  This is the shopping center of Singapore, certainly, if not the world.  Mall after mall spread out on both sides of the street and extend onto the adjoining streets as well.  The only other types of buildings allowed on this street are hotels and restaurants, and in many cases there are hotels with restaurants and malls.  Iím not sure why, but there seem to be at least one Esprit store in each of these malls, and I suspect there are more than one Esprit in several of the malls. 

There are very few stretches of rain forest on Singapore Island; at least half the island is built up and what open spaces there are are gardens and river/ocean front parks.  Singapore is doing a great deal of land reclamation, so the island is a good deal larger than it used to be though Iíve been unable to figure out how much larger.  The whole island used to be rain forest, with tigers all around, but the only tigers around now are in the zoo.  The zoo has a night safari, where you get to walk around after dark and see the nocturnal animals after dark.  Itís a unique experience, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Getting a haircut in Singapore is great, too.  First, they massage and shampoo your head for what seems like 15 minutes.  Then (after a rinse) they cut your hair, and then go rinse off the cut hairs.  Itís a very relaxing experience, as long as you have about an hour to spend for the whole experience.

Finally, some of you may be aware that Iíve always had an affinity for the number 28; Iíve been claiming for years itís my favourite number.  Iíve seen it in many signs and business phone numbers here in Singapore, and I asked Angela why that is.  She says that the numbers for 2 and 8 sound like ďeasyĒ and ďprosperityĒ in Mandarin Chinese.  So, it seems that I was perhaps Chinese in a future life, and my fascination with the number 28 has survived into this life.  Pretty cool, eh?