Singapore is an amazing city/country. It's honestly hard to describe how nice it is. Everything we saw is meticulous. Gardens are beautifully done and tended after. The streets are all new without potholes. The sidewalks are large and without debris and/or dog poop. The cars can only be 10 years old so we only see gorgeous cars. The subway system is one of the best we have every used and so cold it's like being in a freezer. The malls here seem to be like Starbucks at home - one is everywhere! There are no homeless people. There is no trash on the streets. It, thankfully, does not smell of urine (oh the things we have gotten accustomed to!). The government, which has been in power since 1905, has government housing that 80% of the population lives in. We saw only one person begging for money and I swear we walked up and down, and all over the city.
The only problem for us North Westerners is that it's hot. Hot in a way I've never experienced before. It's so humid I feel like I'm being slowly steam cooked when we are outside and then freezing when back in the AC. We are sweating at an alarming rate and can't drink enough water. We spent quite a bit of time on google looking for how to stay cool in SE Asia!
We are staying at another AirBnB and our hosts have been nice to answer our endless questions and give us suggestions for what to do each day. My brother in law, Tom, has also been to Singapore quite a few times and also provided great lists of what to do. All these things have looked and sounded great - this is a tourist dream with all the meticulous options provided, but unfortunately they are quite expensive. Seeing their Marina by the Bay is a free park to walk around but if you want to go in to the Cloud Forest or Flower Pavillion then it's S$50 each. That's more than our budget for the day! We couldn't even look at the costs for Universal Studios, knowing it's beyond what we can afford. Tom also just emailed us yesterday to say Singapore is now the most expensive city in the world. Not the best city for us on a budget!
At any rate, we have really enjoyed ourselves. The first day we ran a few errands, replacing our Steripen and Eric got a haircut. In the afternoon we headed to the Gardens By the Bay to see the free parts of the park. It is so well done, with gorgeous signage that explains all the flowers and gardens. Unfortunately this is also when jet lag set in and we turned into zombies that needed to return to nap immediately. Here were some pictures before we left:
That evening we went to one of the many hawker centers for dinner. These are government run, very clean, stalls that are all over the city. They have every type of food you can imagine and then some, all organized with picture menus and helpful staff. I had delicious sweet and sour fish and Eric had dark noodles with pork. Unfortunately no cold ones to wash it all down with, beer is heavily taxed and a can of beer is S$3.50!
It was a great first day in Singapore - our feet hurt from walking and we are a bit unsure of the heat - but we are excited for tomorrow!