My experience in Singapore was a mix of the very Western (making my foggy jet lagged brain question whether I had actually left San Francisco and flew half way around the world) and the clearly foreign. The farm-to-table dinner at Fordham & Grand and artisan cocktails at HongKong 28 made me wonder why I had bothered to leave home. But then we ended up amongst the ladyboys, dancing to a 90’s cover band while downing pitchers of Tiger beer at the seemingly condemned Orchard Towers (or as my friend Kris calls it – “Four Floors of Whores”), which showed me the grungier side of this seemingly plain-vanilla city. I was happy to be experiencing the mix of high-end and low-brow that is Singapore. In the same day you can pay sing$4 to eat some questionable clams in your lunchtime Char Kway Teow at a locals ‘ hawker stand, and end your evening on the sky deck of the Marina Bay Sands sipping sing$30 beers (at least I was paying that much for Hoegaarden) with a view of the futuristic downtown skyscrapers. While Singapore is “Asia lite” – clean and largely crime free with relatively few offensive sights and smells – you have to admire it for what it is. A city state that has quickly shun the habits of its neighbors Westerners deem offensive (spitting on the street will get you a hefty fine while expelling such bodily fluids is considered a healthy habit in most of Asia) to welcome in international corporations and become an extremely wealthy but still culturally diverse country (and the most expensive.)
Overall I am glad that I stopped through Singapore, even if I did only start my trip there to see my ex pat friends who I miss dearly and whose help easing me into Asian culture was a god’s send.