After disappointing first day, remaining part of my staying was more graceful, once or two times a day showers, humid and hot hazy weather for most of the time. Few evenings free of work and half of next weekend I could dedicate to see what is going on in this state-city.
Eating and shopping, this is what Singapore is famous of. These days shopping is no more attractive as it was 10-15 years ago when European prices for electronics were way too high. I am neither shopping-animal is I do not need to, so I focused on food. As most people here prefere dining out, almost every streets is crammed with food serving places, ranging from stalls with chinese-like takeaways through fastfood-ish small businesses to restaurants. The variety of cultures mixed in Singapore powers that impression. In shopping malls and business centers it is typical that food courts serve Chinese, Malayan, Indian, Korean, Janapese and many more cousins. For Europe-grown taste not every meal can be swallowed easy. I like challenges but Chinese traditional fish soup was no-go. On the other hand different sea-food mixes were really tasty.
Among most impressive was the stinky durian of course which I liked really. To surprise my family and friends I took a challenge to bring a pack of durian bags in checked-in luggage. The “101 durian” stall sellers know what it takes as durians are not allowed in most airports in this part of world – they have placed paper tissues inside plastick box to take moisture off the fruit, wrapped box with paper sheets and placed into welded foil bag. Before welding they put grounded coffee beans to absorb smell. Then this wrapped package was put to welded foil bag two times more! I kept this package in fridge overnight to pack it in another foil bag to suitecase. To my surprise I 20 hours later I picked up my luggage in hometown’s airport without any issues. At home I realized the need of multilayer packaging, I was hit by natural a smell of natural gas leakage (this is how I could find from 30 meters durian stalls in Singapore). Fortunatelly it was very slight so my clothes did not catch it up. I did not dare to open package at home, so I went out to staircase. Cutting through the foil has thrown inmates away (and did the same to friends later), pushed to taste causes face contortion at least… Finally I had to eat almost all of it. Well, it really polarize people into love-hate groups.
(PS. the gas leakage smell in starcase lasted for hours)
Trying different sea food once asking for “coke can” I got by chance “coco-nut” :] to my main dish. I never had it before and I did not know they serve it in such fast-sea-food-ish places. I got straw to sip the milk and spoon to scrub the pulp later. It was far from dryied coconut, the milk was more like oily sweetened water with delicate flavor of vegetables (like cucumber) and I was not sure if I like it or not. I gulped it quickly to not give my brain a chance to decide wrong way. The flesh was like barely sweetened gelly pudding and I took it as as desert. Definitely more polite experience comparing to durian.
The rest of free time I spent wandering around – Little India again, Chinatown couple times, Marina Bay and Botanic Garden. Attractions of Santosa like biggest aquarium in the world sounded to me like timekillers easy to find in any other place in the world. And I skipped it. Short on time and cought by showers couple times I needed reliable place to take couple photos of Singapore skyline. My impression of Singapore Flyer was similar to Santosa, so I picked up 50th floor of Pinnacle@Duxton building complex. Getting there first time was kind of puzzle as I was lazy enought to not read through their website: the building for residents do not have any reception desk and I was walking around asking people until I was told there is a stand that gives access to ez-link (RFID) card I am using for metro. Finally I found the gate to terrace.
In Marina Bay I took shots from ground level. Astonishing hotel with boat-like construction joining three towers is one big outdoor restaruant and swimming pool, available only for hotel guests. The Merlion, icon of singapore, is overrated but close from that place there is also another durian-shaped icon, Esplanade Theaters. Walking the coastline in the evening is popular place to take shots of other attractions.
Last day I went to Bugis to get some suvernirs. Do not mix it with Bugis+ which is shopping center nearby, Bugis is old-style bargain. It is like Grand Market of Istanbul compressed couple times: the same amount of people is very small area stepping on each other foots.
The frame for Singapur story is that I got once again to Sri Veeramakaliamman temple in Little India. I realized why I missed that first time. Not because of the rain, because it is hidden due to reconstruction work.
Reasons to come back? To get the bad smell of durian again.