You’ll have to excuse the gross lack of photographic record of our final day in Singapore.
To tell the truth, I took my first picture + then proceeded to eat my way through Little India, only pausing to snap the pile of chaat my mom + I dug into midday…
Most of our final day was filled with shopping: we bought yards + yards of beautiful saris + sarongs from Hanifa Shopping Center, then headed back to Toko Aljunied, our fave Arab Quarter spot, to buy handpainted + printed batik sarongs we had been dreaming about since browsing through the Arab Quarter our first day.
We also stopped into the Asian Civilisations Museum for a bit of information overload about the region! I most enjoyed the Salak Yom section of traditional northern Thailand gift trees, which welcomed us on our way into the permanent collection + the Thailand Buddhism exhibition which was one of the features. I just wished my friend Christian could have seen the Buddhas! (She’s got a nice collection, herself, + I’m sure we’ll see some firsthand when we got to Thailand this summer!!)
Soon it was back to Louise + Colman’s for some pool time + a nice dinner of fresh salad, veggies, bread + cheese–things I am sorely missing in Taiwan (most veggies are cooked here + good quality salad greens (not to mention CHEESE!!) are often hard to come by + super expensive). I got shots of some of my favorite shop houses + buildings in their neighb on the walk from the bus.
We caught the redeye back to Taipei, but not before some head scratching about there being an utter lack of a restaurant or bar in our terminal + then having to go through security AT our gate, making the water we bought in the airport for the purpose of drinking on the plane a completely pointless purchase.
Overall, we had a great time in Singapore! I will say I am still a little uncomfortable about just how clean + pedicured the city was. I know that is the reverse of the desired effect, but coming from NYC, an old city of almost 12 million, I like to feel like a place is being lived in! We almost couldn’t turn around without running into a highrise, but it was almost as though there was no trace of the residents. As I said, it almost made the place seem too good to be true + in ways, I feel like it is.
On my last day in the city, a Chinese Singaporean started to speak to me about how hot it was in Singapore. He was very curious about the fact that I was visiting from Taiwan + told me that he had visited Taiwan many times + loved the food here. He apologized for his little English (which was actually really good!) + told me that he couldn’t speak any Mandarin. He said that Singapore is probably the safest + cleanest place in the world, but that there are a lot of things that cannot be discussed.
It occurred to me that most things that seem too good to be true often are. That perhaps many Singaporeans understand that for the privilege of living in the cleanest, safest place, there are things that have to be sacrificed.
I’ll happily risk gum on my shoes for the right to use my big ole words.