Or more appropriately “hello” as Singapore has a whopping four national languages, English included. This made for a very stress-free (and expensive) time in the cleanest city/island/country (still confused on this identification) in the world, Singapore! I’m not really sure if Singapore is actually ranked or known as the cleanest country in the world, but from a personal poll of two, I can verify that it is.
I feel it’s necessary to talk about the cleanliness of Singapore just a little bit longer before delving into our trials and tribulations. Singapore is really REALLY clean… almost creepily so. When walking through the city streets or even in the stinkin’ amusement park, it felt as though we were on the set of an outdoor scene of a sitcom – noises and general sights of a city-scape surrounded us, but there was no trash (none, zip, zero), cigarette butts, gum, or stank smell that an occasional city-slicker comes to love about a city. Patrick LOVED this aspect of Singapore, but I found it to be a little too much of an eerie attempt at a utopia.
To make this ‘utopia’ possible, here are some of the things that are banned/illegal in Singapore:
- Selling/chewing gum (yep – no Hubba Bubba or Trident in Singapore).
- Homosexuality – I said clean, not progressive.
- Forgetting to flush the toilet (I can’t say that I don’t appreciate this)
- Walking naked in your own home… for real.
- E-cigarettes, as they are seen as a gateway tobacco product.
- Littering (cigarette buds included) – Again I appreciate this one and the hefty fine imposed on violators.
- Jaywalking – up to a $1,000 fine! More about this later…
- Spitting in public – again, I guess I appreciate this.
- Singing songs with obscene lyrics – this is a dangerous one for me.
- Playing an instrument in public that may be considered ‘annoying’
- Peeing in an elevator… just in case one has the urge.
During our time in Singapore, Patrick and I made sure to be law-abiding visitors in ALL respects of the strict Singaporian lifestyle – no gum, no jaywalking, and against all of our natural instincts, no peeing in the elevator.
On our first full day in the country/city/island, we decided to venture out to a smaller island off of Singapore, Sentosa. I know this sounds adventurous and exotic, but in realty, the island of Sentosa is just one massive tourist-packed theme park. Mind you, this meant there was a Universal Studios and motha’ freakin’ Chilis!! I am not a fan of Chilis back in the States, but when I’ve been deprived of real, processed American food for six months, there is nothing that can stop me from spending $120 USD at a Chilis.
After converting our stomachs into Kenmore Elite 41072s from an abundance of roller coasters and queso, we thought it would be a good time to take a nice long walk across the bridge back to the mainland of Singapore. I know where your mind is going with this story, and luckily, you’re wrong. Our stomachs did not betray us… but our common sense did.
After three miles of walking and blisters forming on all sides of our feet, we finally had the bridge in sight! We trotted on full speed ahead, with the excitement of the views we were about to experience…. until the sidewalk decided to end. Across the road was the sidewalk that would lead us across the bridge, but there was no crosswalk to be seen. Remember that whole “jaywalking is illegal” thing? Yeah well, we did too, so after ten minutes of debating whether the $1,000 fine was worth it, we turned our butts around, and walked the three miles back to the train station. On a positive note, I think we burned off 1% of those Chilis calories!
Just in case I didn’t mention it before, Singapore is expensive, like hella’ expensive! After spending three months in South East Asia, where four-star hotel rooms are a mere $40, Singapore was a shock to the bank account with laundry costing us a whopping $50… or in our modified Thailand currency, 417 ferry rides.
Also, Singapore has robots… like real, functioning robots! When getting on the elevator at our hotel, we had the pleasure of sharing the small space with a robot that essentially looked like R2-D2. As we ascended our way up to the gazillionth floor, the elevator made a stop halfway up. Our little elevator companion rolled his/her way off the elevator and down the hall to do who knows what.
Bizarrely strict laws aside, Singapore is an incredible country/city/island packed with gravity defying rooftop bars, huge colorful gardens both inside and out, and a diverse population of people from all over the world.
Extending Our Honeymoon,
Samantha and Patrick