Singapore, JAN 15, 2020

After sleeping at the hotel for about four hours we were ready to explore Singapore. We only had one full day before we were to board the ship. 

We had a great breakfast at the hotel and decided the best way to get a quick overview of Singapore was to use their Hop On Hop Off buses.

First a few tidbits about Singapore, which means “City of Lions”. It is 88 miles from the equator and the 20th smallest country in the world. Singapore is very clean and very safe. If you pick a flower from a public area, jaywalk, spit on the street or fail to flush a public toilet you can be fined, but we were told these are rarely enforced. Chewing gum is not allowed and if you bring chewing gum into the country you can be charged with smuggling gum on the black market. On our tourist card it said in big letters that bringing drugs into the country is punishable by death. All of these fines and laws may seem overboard or even ridiculous, but in Singapore you see no homeless sleeping on the streets, no panhandlers, no trash and no crime. It simply is not tolerated. When the country gained independence in 1965 it was a country of slums without a proper infrastructure. Today, despite its small size it has one of the strongest economies in the world. It is a leader in trade, shipping and finance. 

However, it is also a very expensive place to live. It is especially expensive and difficult to own a car. In order to encourage public transportation they have a lottery system to get a permit to own a car. The lottery system is a Certificate of Entitlement which only gives you a legal right to own a car for ten years. After ten years you have to re-enter the lottery system. Once you are lucky enough to be allowed to own a car you have high registration fees and excise taxes, road taxes, motor insurance fees, high parking fees and high gasoline prices. And don’t forget high maintenance costs. It costs $2,000 Singapore dollars ($1,485 American dollars) just to get a driver’s license!

We spent the day riding the buses, hopping on and off at various stops. The heat and humidity was oppressive. It was truly terrible. We were glad to find a Hard Rock Cafe  where we had a great lunch and Bill purchased a Hard Rock Cafe Singapore T shirt to add to his Hard Rock Cafe T shirt collection. It was so nice to get into the air conditioning. IMG_20200115_125729_MP

Remember I said there is no trash in Singapore. The Hop On Hop Off bus driver came to the upper deck of the bus to give a passenger his change. The driver noticed some trash an inconsiderate tourist had left behind. He was visibly upset and went downstairs to get a broom and dustpan to get it up. All this while we were sitting on the side of a busy street! 

We were able to see the US Embassy. IMG_20200115_123847IMG_20200115_123853

After dinner we walked down to the river not far from our hotel and had a lovely evening cruise on the Singapore River where we enjoyed some of the lights. IMG_20200115_121945IMG_20200115_202851IMG_20200115_213230

This is their old Parliament building.IMG_20200115_215612IMG_20200115_215624IMG_20200115_215648IMG_20200115_215657IMG_20200115_215703IMG_20200115_215711IMG_20200115_221530This is their space ship Supreme Court Building.

In order to see Singapore in depth you really need at least five to seven days. So many places we passed by but didn’t have time to experience. Here are some photos from our time there. IMG_20200115_121258IMG_20200115_121356IMG_20200115_121401IMG_20200115_121504IMG_20200115_122327IMG_20200115_122342IMG_20200115_142839IMG_20200115_145145IMG_20200115_145553IMG_20200115_150928IMG_20200115_150812IMG_20200115_150944IMG_20200115_151341IMG_20200115_151759IMG_20200115_152237IMG_20200115_152301IMG_20200115_152437~2IMG_20200115_152558IMG_20200115_223951

If you notice the large rat figurines, it is because they will be celebrating the Chinese New Year on January 25th and it is the Year of the Rat. IMG_20200115_151500IMG_20200115_151403IMG_20200115_151456 We even found a Methodist Church.


Next up Thailand.

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