To obtain my official work visa, I recently had to travel to Singapore; here's how that went down. Right after I got off the plane, I had to rush across town to meet a guy named Wahab who was sitting at a table outside of McDonald's, all non-nonchalant, with a stack of passports and envelopes of cash. I handed him $230 and my passport. I returned at 4:30 and my passport had a visa.
While my passport was getting special treatment, I was escorted to a local strand of food stalls by a family friend and introduced to authentic Singaporean fare. Now, if you know me well, you know that although I travel often, I am a rather picky eater. But, in this particular instance, I sucked it up and ate roasted pork and rice from the eatery below. Yes, I'm branching out.
On Friday, visa in hand, I decided to do the cultural thing and visit the Asian Civilizations Museum. It was a pretty cool place and I learned quite a bit about Indonesia. Unfortunately, it was rather small and I was done meandering about an hour into my two and a half hour allotted time period.
Singapore is quite possibly the hottest place I have ever visited and, being an island near the equator, it has about 1,000,000,000% humidity. By the time I found the cool little path below, I was definitely rocking a red face like Bob the Tomato.
On my little excursion of the greater Singapore area, I found The Coffee Bean, where I happily replenished my depleted stock of coffee grounds in Indonesia. Apparently, despite the fact that Indonesia is a major coffee producer, they export most of the good stuff and everyone here drinks...instant. Real coffee beans are difficult to come by.
I met the Graham family (my hosts) at the Clarke Quay Central for lunch. Despite the temptation of authentic dim sum, I opted for the more rare, Subway sandwich.
The rest of my afternoon was spent shopping in the Orchard area. Not only were my favorite American stores there, my European favorites were present as well. Unfortunately, everything was marked up to ridiculous prices (dresses at Forever 21 started at $40 and books at Borders were around $30 for paperback) which didn't stop me from doing some damage.
Singapore was a great holiday. I got to see new things, eat new things, and shop at some old favorites. I stocked up on JIFF Extra Crunchy peanut butter and Dr. Pepper and even got to make some new friends.