Our second day on the double decker bus took us to the Little India and Chinatown sections of Singapore. These cities within cities are rich cultural gems. Bustling with people going about their business while we tourists press our noses against the window of their lives. Check out the alley in the bottom picture. On the bottom right is a gentleman who appears to be on his way to the shower…here is a closer view……so he’s maybe on his way to the shower while his neighbor across the alley fixes his motorcycle…and his other neighbors are drying their laundry, while another seems to be just using the alley as their closet. Just another day in another alley in Little India! The markets were full of gorgeous fresh fruit and veggies. And this tailor was set up in the walkway in front of his shop. We stopped for a cold Tiger beer and some egg rolls. Yes, egg rolls in Little India. I’m admittedly not very adventurous in the cuisine department – so I was just gonna stick with something I knew. Speaking of Tiger beer – it was “born” in Singapore in 1932. Heineken was one of the founding partners of the company. I really wanted to see the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple (say that three times real fast). I was in the midst of an Eastern Religions course and one of the requirements was that you visit a place of worship of a religion other than your own. We plotted it out on our map and after a bit of walking looked up to see this. Bummer. We weren’t going to be able to go in because it was being refurbished. Oh well, we did get to see a little bit of the artwork on the outside. and the front doors were amazing! The shutters of Singapore were my favorite architectural elements. So many colors and shapes…every one has so much character and has a story to tell. They just seem so happy! Speaking of architecture, we passed by the “Batman Building” on the way to Chinatown – it is near the Bugis area where we had dinner the night before. It is hailed as a shining example of Art Deco style, built in 2002 as an homage to the Chanin building in NYC to the tune of 71 million US dollars. In retrospect, I wish we had gone in because there is supposedly an amazing wine bar inside. Incentive to go back, I guess! Next stop: Chinatown. Singapore is city of opposites that blend beautifully…old vs. new… skyscrapers vs. neighborhoods…Such an amazing city!
There was another temple here on my list of things to see – the Sri Mariamman Temple. It is the oldest Hindu Temple in Singapore -Built in 1827.The carvings were truly amazing! I could have stood and looked at it for the rest of the day! We took off our shoes and went inside to have a peek at the altars and the carvings inside. No pictures as that is seen as disrespectful. Tom was really disappointed he couldn’t participate in the fire walking ceremony.
We came upon Smith Street – Chinatown’s main center of outdoor eating. More Tiger Beer was consumed…I forgot to tell you that it was upwards of 90 degrees with 80% humidity!
Back on the bus…and we hopped off at the Marina Bay Sands Complex (remember – the hotel with the “ship” on the top?) Talk about opulent…I think the cheapest item in the mall was at least a thousand dollars. But it was a great place to cool off and window shop.
In recent years, Tom has developed a serious affinity for the game of craps. He loves craps more than me. Here he is dreaming about winning money.
While we waited for the bus, an elderly man was sitting next to me. I know its kind of stalker-ish (yes, I am an official member of the stalkerzzi), but I couldn’t help but capture a couple of photos of him. Ford met us at Boat Quay (pronounced “key”). This is a busy area – especially in the early evening as there are tons of restaurants. Dining out is HUGE in Singapore. McDonalds even DELIVERS 24 HOURS A DAY! You’d think with all of the food available you’d see a lot of overweight people – but this is not the case. Maybe because they walk and use the public transportation.
I was so impressed by this city that embraces so many different cultures. They do such a beautiful job of blending with, understanding, and respecting each other. Sometimes, I think we in the US have forgotten how to do this. The world is a big, beautiful place and we sometimes need reminding of this.
“It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.” – Maya Angelou