Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Fine City, Singapore

As I sit  at the lobby of a very small hotel here at Lavender Road in Singapore waiting for my wife, two daughters and their aunt from a last minute shopping spree, I reminisce on the good times we've had since our arrival on Sunday, Feb. 9.  To my delight, we landed at Changi airport, one of the finest airports in the world, not in that budget flight airport they had, when I first came here several years ago enroute to Malaysia. I was told by our cab driver that said place is no longer in use.

First one that I got to see were my good friends, Alf and Zharro who is several months pregnant with their second child.  They were with their very cute and adorable baby, Zeetee who took a little time to warm up with me but once got going, really got going! She would call out to me and point at whatever interests her at the time, usually water. To her young mind, every male she encounters is "ninong" and, young as she is, would pronounce it as Noni!  So, she would call out "noni, water!". This would go on and on and when she was already on her feet, she would run ahead with her squeaking sneakers and call out "noni" and made sure I was watching.  She was so cute that everybody in my hotel room would giggle everytime she smiled.

My friends took me to Suntec mall. We made the rounds and made sure I go around the fountain of wealth and had merienda there. They took me next to Marina Bay Sands Hotel and its environs.  After a happy, non-committed stroll of the park, we had dinner at the fastfood chain and they took me back to the Hotel.

The following day, I had a good breakfast of laksa in a nearby hawkers' place. I will be having laksa every breakfast during the rest of the stay.I was with Kuya Rizal who paid for my breakfast.
From there we started our tour. First stop was at Suntec taking a ride at the MRT, the subwy train system, a good four minute ride from our hotel.  From there we took the city tours bus which had already been paid for when we bought tickets to Sentosa. Our first stop was at the  boat rides where one rides a boat tour of about an hour around the city.  From there, we went to Orchard Rd for lunch. Then we went back to Suntec to catch a free ride for Sentosa.  Once we were there, we went ahead to sea aquarium. It may not be as spectacular as the atoll reef experience I had with nitz in hongkong but it is as impressive just the same. When we have consumed everything we could out of the area, we headed back to the bus station and headed down to Bugis for some shopping. Then we went to the nearest MRT station and headed back to Lavender Rd again.

The following day, aftet breakfast, we headed back to Sentosa. We had lunch there at the Malaysian Hawkers Street. I had Biryani of muttons which my companions thought was too hot. it was okay forn me, though. Then we went to Universal studios. we enjoyed the shows, the photo ops with the characters and the rides, particularly the simulatd ride fighting with the autobots! nitz and I enjoyed it too much that we did it again withour friends, Gregor and Leslie. Waterworld show was spectacular as well and while I have seen this already in Thailand, I was still pretty much amused

 By and large, Singapore is a very nice place. Everything is so efficient.  The transportation is as excellent as Canada's and one only has to know the system, which is not really that hard, and one can go to any place without any worrries at all.  The cab we rented on our way to and from the airport is no less than a Mercedes Benz! Now beat that Manila.  The food is nice, although one has to know the amount of heat one can tolerate as they could really be very spicy.  Cheap food can be had at the hawkers which is practically all around and they are very clean.     What  is even more wonderful is the combination of ethnicities that live here in hrmony.  the Chinese, Indians, Malays seem to live together nicely and peacefully that the systems work without any glitches at all. Remarkable indeed.  If I am going to nitpick at all it would be the rat race people seem to live by in order to keep up with the high standard of living.  I was told tht the cleaning, janitorial services are usually reserved for the elderly. This is because they have to continuesly earn their keep.  They could sometimes be a burden to their young ones that they hve to keep on working or nobody could tke cre of them.  There had been bews, as a matter of fact, that some elderly had been bused simply because they had been a nuisance prompting th government to launch commercials about respecting them.  besides that, you seldom see people smile  unlike in Manila, dubbed as where the happiest people on earth live. Really, something has got to give, in my opinion.

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