Hope everyone is having a great week so far!
Edu and I finally went on our first (well-deserved!) vacay since the wedding. A mini-honeymoon of sorts. It was a coin toss between HK or Singapore but since I've never been to Singapore, the wanderlust in me gravitated more towards the latter.
Singapore may be very tourist-y and lacking in individual identity and culture due to its multi-racial nature, but what it lacks it definitely makes up for with its modernity -- all in all, it made for a fuss-free experience that was worth the while.
This cosmopolitan city felt like a mini- U.S. but only three hours away. (Window) shopping was great as everyone knows. It's not known as the shopping capital of Asia for nothing. It is also a melting pot of cultures -- I mean this is a country where you have a Little India, a Chinatown and even a center in the middle of Orchard Road called Lucky Plaza where the Filipinos converge. Everywhere you look you see different faces belonging to a myriad of nationalities just milling about. Since there was no real culture to immerse ourselves in really--no we did not take one of those run-of-the-mill tours--we couldn't avoid the usual tourist traps simply coz it was the tourist-y thing to do, although you'd be surprised most locals haven't even been to the Night Safari. We asked one cab driver-- who was an engineer by profession and has travelled extensively-- what Singapore's greatest resource was. His answer: their brain. One look around this insanely sanitized thriving albeit tiny island city state, with their advanced infrastructure and impressively disciplined denizens (strictly no smoking in public places; have a look at their cigarette packs in the photos below) and we couldn't agree more.
One thing I was so amazed about was their efficient public transport system-- the MRT. Much like Japan's but in English so that made the world of difference. It was soooo easy and convenient to get around that I always looked forward to conquering the MRT ticket machine and hopping on board those nifty trains. Call me shallow but I couldn't really care less :-p It was fascinating. Now if only Cebu had those..oh well, I'll take the fifth on that.
Going back to our adventures, although we didn't really go off the beaten track, we did try to up the thrill factor by going one extra step beyond the usual things to do. Reverse bungee jumping anyone? I'd post the video but I'd have to kill you after haha. Instead of the usual Sentosa Underwater World Experience, we went the extra mile and dove with the sharks and rays. Now even if we were technically in an 83-meter tank, talk about living your life in a fish bowl, where else can you cuddle with leopard sharks the way you'd snuggle with your dog, pet whitetip reef sharks and feed the manta, eagle and stingrays, guaranteed and all in one day. Now that was what you'd call the ultimate underwater experience and the highlight of our trip!-- my mind's happy place where I can go back to over and over again when need be.
On to the night life: It was awesome so say the very least. Now that's what you call super-clubbing! An ordinary Thursday in Ministry was like your ultra-packed, special event weekend in Cebu. And Zouk was a dream! With Peter Hook of New Order and THE Paul Van Dyk as guest djs for the weekend, we couldn't ask for more. Well worth the 30 minute queue and SD$35. Van Dyk kept the crowd jumping non-stop till past 5 a.m.
Sunday was Gmax day. Think reverse bungee jumping at 200 kph. More than enough to turn your insides out but an experience you have to try once in this lifetime. Twas the perfect way to cap off a sensational Singapore trip! :-)
Till our next meandering experience.
(originally posted September 4, 2007)