Sunday, November 14, 2010

All Singapore, All Week - Part One

So I'm just going to do it.  This week I'll break my colorful Singapore pictures up into three posts for Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.  I also have a bazillion pictures of food which are less photogenic and more for hard-core foodies (-or Chinese people - is there a difference?).  Probably I'll just select a few and post them next week.

Too bad Singapore is at like THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD!  Or I'd be popping over there every other week.  One kind of thinks, being in LA, that since one is on the Pacific Rim, Singapore could be/should be CLOSE.   But No.  NOT EVEN. I think that even on Singapore Air from L.A., it is necessary to make a stop in Japan, or the Phillipines on the way. It's a long flight.

But I digress.  Some people will go to Singapore and come back with that "meh - eh - what's the big deal?" kind of reaction to it.  But I have a feeling that they are not foodies, and that they don't venture out beyond the malls and the high rises, the redeveloped water and riverfronts and the Raffles-Centric Disney-esque Singapore.  In effect, aside from ALL the Chinese people, it could feel very much like you never left home.  But PLEASE PEEPS!  If you're going to go so far out of your way, DO go only a little off the beaten track, and you will be richly rewarded!  This is not the sanitized squeaky-clean police state you might imagine full of sanctimonious English-accented Chinese yuppies.  It is a varied, vibrant, pleasant-tempered metropolis that could fulfill some of your craziest dreams of Asia.  If you are THAT type.  (Which I am, and I DO!) 

So.  Barely two (excellently maintained and run and easy to get around ALL IN ENGLISH) subway stops away from City Hall is Bugis,  

where the Muslim quarter can be found, and the gently gentrifying Haji Lane

with it's arty little shops

and Egyptian cafes.........

Buildings in the neighborhood are being done up and refreshed.

And here too, is the archetypal travel photo of the bicycle against a yellow wall - it could be anywhere, France, Tuscany, Prague, Hong Kong....but it never stops being beautiful does it?

At the end of the street

is a very popular Chinese noodle shop, because in Singapore you are never far from one.

The people eating here seemed very happy to me, if a little surprised that their noodle-eating might be found to be photo-genic.

But the whiff of the mid-east prevails, in restaurants with ornate tiling and ranks of hookahs,

wafts of sandlewood and incense

exotic and vividly colored and sequined garments, Indonesian batiked and densely printed fabrics...

rugs, electronics and Mom and Pop toy stores can be found here.

All in the shadow of a gleaming dome topped mosque and the tidy, green, sheltering Malaysian Cultural Center with it's joyful mynah birds in song.  It is quiet, the pace is slow and contemplative, you will be welcomed into shops but never harassed into them, people will regard you with curiosity and often sweet little conspiratorial smiles.  You could learn to like this place quite alot!  I certainly did.

Next time, Little India and Chinatown.  


  1. Amazing scenes and beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing!