Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Slinging through Singpore

I left this blog rather abruptly back in February, but it’s time to finish off this trip and move on.  There was a good reason for shutting down the blog.  A friend who was travelling with us didn’t board the boat in Bangkok.  We spent a nervous day thinking he was dead, or at the least beaten, robbed and seriously injured.  Fortunately, that was not the case, but somehow it took the steam out of the travel blog, and out of the trip.  Lesson learned? 
Singapore was our last port of call.  We were sad to leave our ship home, but watching the live Super Bowl disaster suffered by the Broncos in the ship’s lounge hastened our departure.  We took a taxi to our airport hotel, then another taxi for a walkabout on Orchard Road.  Not being a shopper, it was less than exciting.  We should’ve headed for Raffles and a Singapore Sling.  We were happy to get back to our hotel, a hot bath, and room service.

This was my second visit to Singapore.  The first was back in the 90s, and I remember thinking how oppressive it felt.  What a contrast to Thailand, the land of smiles; Singapore could more easily be called the land of scowls.   There were SO many rules and regulations…no littering, no jaywalking, no horn-honking, no thinking.  The ruling concept is order.
This trip, I appreciated the order.  Parkways are lined with beautiful flowers; cars stays in their lanes; people are respectful of your space.  In short, there is less stress.  Maybe it’s age, but I’ve come to appreciate order.  I’m not the only one to have found Singapore to be oppressively “big brother,” but the lecturer from the ship presented us with another point of view.  She recounted arriving in Singapore and taking a taxi into town.  She and a friend were commenting on the police state atmosphere, and they asked their taxi driver to give them his thoughts.  He said (a paraphrase):  “I used to live in China.  Here, I own my own apartment.  I’m married and my children received a state-sponsored education.  We have free health care.  I never lock my doors because there is no crime.”  Masses of people would be happy with that situation!