From all that I have heard of this city country nothing really impressed me. Sitting in India it was hard for me to imagine an Asian city without litter, graffiti, spit and pee stained corners, corruption and a host of other maladies which afflict cities in this region.
After moving to to Jakarta, Singapore seemed to be only an extension this city, a place where most expats go to relax or to cure a cold. The city where a lot of wealthy locals have their weekend homes. I have even heard of Indonesians who do most of their shopping in Singapore. All this just put me off the country even more, being a person who travels for colour and smells simply dismissed the city as being drab and therefore not worth spending time and money on.
My first visit to Singapore happened after exactly 3 years in the region. It was a 3 day trip spent roaming the city with one day dedicated to Universal studios. The trip was uneventful, no surprises awaited us, nothing learned and nothing gained except a stamp on our passports. We had some scrumptious Chinese food from a hawker place near our hotel. Toast box, with their strong aromatic coffee and butter-oozing toasts was another favorite haunt.
Last month, with the kids having a rather long break and husband away on work, I decided on an impromptu trip toSingapore. The plan was to stay with friends who had just moved fromJakarta. Our current favorite Airlines, Lion Air came to aid with cheap tickets and convenient timing.
We spent 5 glorious days inSingaporethis time and fell in love with the place. Seeing it in a new light especially from the angle where it has everything Jakarta lacks; traffic lights that work, pedestrian crossing that people actually use( I had forgotten that such things existed!) roads that were near empty. We hopped in and out of buses onto walkways and parks. Bus and train connection from anywhere! Even walking was such a pleasure through tree lined paths. Parks everywhere and free.
This time I made sure I packed the wave board and the boy spent all 5 days riding it all over the city. I can say that this trip was just made so that he gets to ride to his hearts content.
I stayed close to the East Coast Park and we spent most of our time there.. What paradise! I saw trees there that I am sure the jungles of Borneo or Sumatra cannot boast of, having fallen prey to human greed. There were no plastic bottles or noodle wrappers strewn around in spite of the throng of revelers during the weekend. The beach framing the park was as clean as that of any remote Island in Indonesia (Even there you would find Indomie cups, Sigh!)
So, the saying ” first impression is not the best impression” has been proved in this case, but if you ask me if I will give up my life in this chaotic country to go and live in that order, I guess I will have to look guilty!