Observations of Singapore #2
There is a single significant culinary experience for visitors and residents of Singapore: the Chili Crab. Hereís the basic idea: take one humongous crab. Boil the heck out of it. Put it in a large shallow bowl and douse it in slightly sweet chili sauce. Serve with some soft bread (to soak in the chili sauce after you run out of crab). Eat. Of course, there is another issue: crab is sort of finger food, so you pick up the crab legs (or crab body) and you are soon wearing almost as much chili sauce as youíre eating. Do not wear new clothes or anything white when eating chili crab. Restaurants featuring chili crab (there are many of them) also serve black pepper crab, which is slightly less messy and somewhat spicier. Going out for chili and black pepper crab is a long eating experience, starting with drinks and appetizers, then a few other seafood dishes, then the chili crab, and then usually a crushed ice, fruit, coconut and bean dessert.
Driving: The Singaporeans are COURTEOUS Ė may have been the result of the fact that Singapore is a FINE country. There are plenty of T-Shirts that point out the Fine Country bit Ė you getting fined for spitting, you get fined for parking in the wrong place, etc.
There are many tailors in Singapore, inexpensive tailors and tory tailors. Angela and I picked out one near the hotel to make some dress pants for me (as you can imagine, I often find it difficult to buy off the rack). I stand there for the measurements and the tailor keeps saying, ďYeah, this is great, youíll love it, donít worry, these will be your favorite pants ever,Ē etc. We go back a week later to get they pants, and they are every bit as short as every pair of pants Iíve ever bought. If it stand up perfectly straight they look OK, but if I walk around or (heaven forbid) sit down, I have pants that seem to stop at about my knees. We complain that this isnít what we had in mind, and it offends the tailor to no end. He says thereís no way to let them out and in a huff he give us our deposit back and sends us out. So, no customized made pants for me. Bummer.
As previously mentioned, itís warm in Singapore. Because of this, the temperature differential between the outside and air-conditioned inside is significant, though Iíll admit it doesnít feel as cold inside buildings in Singapore as it does in warm places in the US. The office building they work in is set at 71oF, about their nominal winter temperature. The thing thatís kind of funny is the Singaporeans find it winter like in the office and wear fall/winter coats whenever theyíre at work.
And now, Iíll close with two of the best attractions in Singapore not previously mentioned: Horse racing and aquarium. The horses race on a turf track in the late afternoon and evening on the weekends. We went once and had a great time, though when youíre there you have to make a choice. You can either choose to hear the horses charging to the wire while you yourself get roasted in the field, or you can sit in the A/C area watch the horses move like you are watching a silent movie. Oh, the A/C area is not like your little VIP box in a ball stadium, the entire viewing stand is enclosed with A/C.
The aquarium: Itís located on Sentosa Island, which is a small island south of Singapore, which is covered with hotels and resorts and other tourist attractions like the aquarium. The first few rooms you walk through look pretty similar to all other aquariums, but once you get to the heart of the building you get to the cool bit. They have made a large glass tank with a conveyor belt running under it. So, you hop on the belt and ride around like a piece of sushi at a sushi bar and stare up at the really fresh fish. There are sharks and dugongs and manta rays along with all the exotic fish. Excellent.
So, thatís the end for our observations of Singapore. We hope youíve enjoyed them.