Sunday, July 12, 2015

Couchsurfing in Singapore

Am I in Asia?
I arrived in Singapore on Saturday and it is an incredibly unique city/country and dramatically different from the Philippines. People are saying that Singapore is overtaking Hong Kong as the 'capital of asia' and from what I've seen so far I'm tempted to believe it. It has the multiculturalness of Vancouver, the big city metropolitan feel of New York and regulations/strictness/cleanliness that you might find in Sweden. I've gone from jeepneys to first class metro systems.

Since arriving I've learned a lot about what NOT to do in Singapore. There is a myriad of things you can be fined for, ones that come to mind are:
  • no smoking in public spaces (fine by me)
  • no eating or drinking in public (not carrying around a water bottle at all times has me feeling like a heroin junkie always waiting for my next "hit" of water)
  • No chewing gum
  • no feeding birds
  • no jaywalking (since I am terrible at jaywalking I finally have a legal excuse to not do it)
  • Not flushing the toilet (also fine by me)
And drumroll for my favourite rule...
  • no durian in public places, there was no fine attached to this rule so I like to think the penalty is going straight to jail for eating something that smells like rotten garbage in a public space

Rules in Singapore transit systems

In Singapore it seemed that since it is the most expensive city in the world that I should be couchsurfing if I wanted to avoid losing my entire budget so when I arrived I headed for JP's place to have a second go at couchsurfing. That night I learned that while people I'm Singapore observe a ton of rules, they also play hard too. At Chaos nightclub I got my first glance at a Bollywood style nightclub and I was both entranced with the high energy, incredibly fun music and at how everyone could DANCE. At one part I noticed that there was someone else with my mediocre dance abilities since we had the same dance moves  it was the one white boy in the club. I guess it's time to come clean. I have white boy dance moves. So good finally come clean. When the club closed at 3am the crowd moved to Moshi Moshi where it had similar music but professional dancers too. I'd gone from handpicked lemongrass tea on a farm to bottle service in Singapore, and for the umpteenth time I wondered if this was actually my life.

I explored Singapore solo the next day and discovered their architecture near the bay area is also very impressive - honestly I should not be surprised anymore at finding that Singapore is crushing it as a country. After wandering around for the day I met up with JP and his friend Varun and we headed to the open air food market with hundreds of different food options and insanely good satay where the smoke from their stalls rising above a pink sky as we were sitting next to the Singapore Stock Exchange was a somewhat surreal and entirely delicious experience. After enjoying satay and Tiger beer I got to try stingray for the first time and if it always tastes like that it won't be the last time. Hanging or with JP and his friends has definitely been one of the highlights of Singapore. The only downside so far has been that hanging out with them has added another 100 places to my list of places to visit (mostly within India) and even on a full belly had me drooling at the prospect of all the Indian food.

The Merlion in front of Marina Bay Sands

Okay a place with worse alcohol prices than Canada has been found


What I've learned: for the love of God don't break the rules in Singapore. They even have apps for people to send photos of people breaking rules like drinking water on a bus so they can be found and fined

Things I can check off 'the list': Tried stingray, partied it up Bollywood style, seen a folder  oreo cake that costs $110 for a small one, had Tiger beer in Singapore

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