The Movie.On.Netflix About Japanese.Guy Taking.Pictures.Or.A.Girl Slices of Singapore Life

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Slices of Singapore Life

He wanted to get out of Bangkok for a few days.

I’ve never been to Singapore, but I have friends who were born there and moved to the states when they were young.

I guess I was just curious and looking for backup for living in Bangkok, Thailand.

Visa laws can change quickly and they are in Thailand, so I used that as an excuse to check out Singapore.

The country’s motto is translated; Go ahead, Singapore.

Singapore is an island of only 270 square kilometers, which makes it the smallest country in Southeast Asia and has existed as an independent republic since 1965.

I chose to fly Cathay Pacific, which is a Hong Kong airline, so it doesn’t matter, but I just thought I’d mention it.

It’s a short flight, so no matter which airline you choose, you can put up with any inconvenience or discomfort for a couple of hours.

Including all taxes and fees, my bus ticket cost 20,835 Thai baht, which is about $675.

The first thing I noticed when I stepped out of the airport terminal was how clean the city was, I mean, really clean. No litter, no chewing gum, no cigarette butts. Clear, with a capital “C” and you’ll feel that people are proud of it.

If you need a phone card, Green is a big name out there (they’re a prepaid SIM card company) and it’s cheap and easy to get into your phone.

Getting to a city with a mass transit system where you can get around quickly is always a plus. I got on the green line (the other two are the red and purple lines) at Changi Airport in Singapore and it took about 30 minutes or so (about 20 minutes by car) and I was checking into the Marina Mandarin Hotel.

The Marina Mandarin Hotel is a 5-star hotel that has recently undergone a major renovation. It has a great lobby with live entertainment that is quite eloquent.

The hotel is located across the street from Suntec Convention & Exhibition Center and Esplanade. Esplanade is Singapore’s new Performing Arts Centre.

It’s hard to imagine that this metropolis was once just a sleepy fishing village that grew into a seaport and is what it is today; a great city to visit.

You’ll get a clear view of the skyscrapers that define Singapore’s financial and business district. From the hotel, you can walk to the heart of the financial district in about 10 minutes.

I almost felt like I was on a movie set because there wasn’t much activity on the street. It was kind of like a Twilight Zone episode where the characters enter a city, but there’s no activity.

Think of the city as having a quiet elegance. You know there’s money there, but it’s low. I came to call the city, rich Singa, because unlike Singapore, unlike Bangkok, it was not a cheap place to sleep, eat or shop.

Thirty-five dollars for a haircut seemed a little high, and I went to 4 different salons. Common items were overpriced, but the norm in Singapore.

By picking up a copy of the English newspaper you can get to know the city and the country well, the city and the country that both have the same name; International Herald Tribune.

I stopped eating at the hotel’s AquaMarine restaurant and was disappointed at the Peach Blossoms (Chinese) restaurant because I like great service and annoyed the staff by being there, but I really enjoyed the food, atmosphere, and service at the Italian restaurant on the 5th level of the hotel called Ristorante Bologna.

If you’re a jogger, the Marina Mandarin Singapore Hotel is located on Raffles Boulevard and just a short distance from the War Memorial Park. It is a very clean and safe park.

There are many hotels, but one thing I’ve learned in my travels is to talk to as many locals as possible and get the best places to go, eat, shop and drink.

I took my advice and found a source of knowledge from many kind people.

I had more than one person find that the best sushi restaurant in town was Tatsu. Tatsu is a simple and small sushi and Japanese restaurant, but it’s a great place for lunch or dinner.

Maggie, the Managress (and I love the word Managress for a woman) was very happy to answer my dozen questions and all the while with a smile.

Tatsu is located at 30 Victoria Street and would not be considered a cheap place to eat. You will spend money, but the quality is worth it. Again, not a fancy place, but worth investigating.

If you’re not a sushi-type patron, don’t worry, there’s a Morton’s of Chicago Steakhouse at the Oriental Hotel on Raffles Avenue.

If you’re in the mood for Indian food, take the purple MRT line to Little India and do some shopping while you’re there. There is a very large market one and a half Sikh temples with all kinds of interesting food and spices. It will wake up your nose.

You must try the lassi. It’s a yogurt based drink that has a fruity flavor and is very refreshing and I was somewhat addicted to the strawberry flavored Lassi.

Even Little India’s scents can be charming, like the jasmine and marigold fragrances of Campbell’s work. You can spend a whole day in Little India shopping, eating and taking pictures.

Across the canal from Little India is an area called Kampong Glam and for shoppers, some of the malls are open until 3 or 4 in the morning. It is better to go during the week.

The area is named after the trees that once dominated the area; gelam trees

Kampong Glam was truly fascinating in what I would call, an ideal world.

In the same neighborhood, there is a Christian church, a Chinese temple, a Hindu temple and an Islamic mosque and they are all in harmony with the people who worship there.

It made me think that we can all get along on this planet if we want to.

Many streets are named after Middle Eastern cities.

I met a couple of young ladies at an open air shopping mall and after the usual small talk, I asked them about working in Singapore and the answer was, “Good jobs are not easy to find”.

What he meant by that statement is that you can find a job, but it is difficult to find a high paying job with a good company.

If you are applying for a visa, there are dozens of hotels around many Singaporean consulates. The Thai consulate is across the street (Orchard Road) from the Hilton Hotel.

There’s certainly no shortage of hotels in Singapore, but like most major cities, the big names command big prices. My room at the Marina Mandarin was $300. everything per night and the mini bar, which is actually a wardrobe, was very tempting.

The tax on most items is 7 percent and they round the figures, as a receipt will reflect this; ROUNDED AMT.

English is spoken throughout the city, so it’s easy to communicate your needs and destinations.

Something that really stood out to me was the giant Ferris wheel in the Marina Bay area. It has been named the Singapore Flyer.

When I say the Singapore Flyer is huge, I mean very, very tall. It is 165 meters high. It would be easier to imagine if I tell you that it is the height of a 45-story building.

It is already a milestone. There are 28 capsules that travel in this circle of wonder and each capsule is able to hold 28 passengers.

The capsules are air-conditioned and take 30 minutes to make a full circle, giving photographers plenty of time to capture the Singaporean landscape, as well as Malaysia and Indonesia in the distance.

It would be a great way to end a day with that special someone or a group of friends. Hire a capsule host and enjoy a glass of wine as you watch the sunset. It will give you a new perspective on the world.

There are group rates and corporate rates, along with special event rates. You could get married on the Singapore Flyer for a truly memorable day.

Two more Ferris wheels will soon start spinning. One will be in Dubai and the largest ever built, called the Beijing Big Wheel, will have its turn in 2009.

On one of my MRT rides, I had a long conversation with a middle-aged family man who painted a vivid picture of what living in Singapore is like. He seemed a bit bitter about the government and after a bit of surfing the web, I now understand his point of view.

He said, “the government is like your father. It wants to do everything for you. It wants to make your decisions about what’s best for you. It will give you enough so you don’t starve, but it’s never enough. You can save it and run away someday.”

After the man said this, he asked me if I understood what he meant and I said yes. He wished he could leave Singapore, but said that wasn’t an option any time soon.

I found it an interesting point of view.

My conclusion was that the country consists of two parts; Rich Singapore and Singa.

Singapore is off my list of backups in Bangkok, Thailand, but it’s a very nice country to visit and spend money on.

If you haven’t traveled outside of your hometown, I highly recommend it. The bounty of culture, food, architecture and people help you appreciate just how complex this spinning rock in space really is.

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