The Wayfarer's Book

So I Never Wrote About Singapore, a Story in 24 Pictures

It’s been almost two years. It’s time to talk about Singapore.

Write about Singapore _ On the Plane

This is the last photo I took before leaving the United States in 2015 to move to Singapore. While my time in southeast Asia would be temporary, my expat life would not. This is when I would stop saying, “I live in New York” and start saying, “I’m from New York.” If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you have seen this photo a lot. This is the face of extreme excitement.

Write About Singapore _ 50 Anniversary

I saw recently that Singapore is gearing up for their 52nd anniversary celebrations. She had just turned 50 when I arrived, missing out on the main celebrations by a few weeks.

Write About Singapore _ Singapore Merlion

Singapore is glam, right? It is modern and clean and seriously, nobody canes you for chewing gum. Everyone needs to relax about that.

Write About Singapore _ Singapore Architecture

And it is, truly, spectacular what this country has managed to achieve in its short history since independence. If you visit Singapore, I highly recommend going to the National Museum of Singapore. It’s a very moving tribute to the challenges this island country has overcome.

Write about Singapore _ Chinatown

I got to work in Singapore. And by ‘got to work,’ I mean, ‘tried to enjoy every single moment of expat life. Even while the humidity makes sweat pour out of you like a freaky but low-budget Star Trek alien.’

Write About Singapore _ I Fell in Love with a Robot

I fell in love with a robot. Naturally.

Write About Singapore _ Little India

I slipped into Hindu temples, the first I had ever seen, and was duly impressed by just how descriptive the carvings are.

Write about Singapore _ Singapore Microbrew

I tried to find Singapore microbrews. This one was located in a hawker center in a parking structure in Chinatown.

Write About Singapore _ Drinking Tiger Beer in Hawker Centers

Though most of the time we ended up drinking sub-par beer while sitting on the street on plastic stools outside boiling hot hawker centers and gorging ourselves on dim sum. That wasn’t a bad life either.

Write About Singapore _ Singapore Ice Cream Sandwich

I adopted new ways of eating ice cream.

Write about Singapore _ Singapore Brunch

I found hipster brunch places that we could only really afford when someone else was paying.

Write about Singapore _ Prayer Flags

We made it to an island off the coast of the island and went bike riding. And I didn’t fall once.

Write about Singapore _ Sulky Teenager at Singapore Zoo

We went to the Singapore Zoo and saw the baby giraffe, which was standing aloof from its parents in an obvious bid for adolescent independence.

Write About Singapore _ Gardens by the Bay Supertrees

I nearly teared up while watching the Gardens by the Bay light show, with the supertrees blinking on and off to the Star Wars soundtrack.

Write About Singapore _ Gardens by the Bay Inside

I managed to check off all (or at least most of) the touristy things to do Singapore.

Write About Singapore _ Gardens by the Bay from the Marina Bay Sands

And I even made it to the top of the iconic Marina Bay Sands, not for a dip in their Insta-famous infinity pool, but for a casual $14 beer.

Write About Singapore _ Marina Bay Sands

But, in case you haven’t noticed, I lived in Singapore for the last three months of 2015. And I haven’t written about it — in the two years since then — at all, except for references in my nomadic life round-up posts. It doesn’t even get mentioned in my top 11 moments in Southeast Asia. Why not?

Write about Singapore _ Tan Teng Niah House

It’s hard to say why. Or maybe it’s easy.

Write About Singapore _ Singapore's Smog Problem

This was the view out of my apartment. And while I’ve doctored it as much as I could, you can still see the fuzziness of Singapore’s haze problem — a disaster they inherited from Indonesia burning their forests. Everyone had an app on their phone to tell them just how unhealthy the day’s air was.

Write About Singapore _ Cheese Plate and Craft Beer in Singapore

And Singapore really is crazy expensive. Having just packed away a bunch of money from a freelance gig, I didn’t worry too much as I spent and spent. But the cost of living was prohibitive. A second round of beers at a place like this would have been indulgent.

Write About Singapore _ Singapore Night skyline

And then there were the malls. Living near Orchard Road, I was right next to the main shopping drag of Singapore. Half the metro stations were inside malls. On more than one occasion, I actually pulled out my phone inside a mall to figure out where I was. I had to GPS my way to the exit.

Write about Singapore _ Sentosa Island Beach

And there was almost a feeling of over-development. Even Singapore’s Sentosa Island has been extensively developed. You have to get through theme parks to reach this beach.

Write about Singapore _ Orchids

I’m not trying to say anything bad about Singapore. There is a lot of beauty, culture, and accomplishment in that city-state. But, in truth, I never really clicked with it.

Write about Singapore _ My Butter Chicken Suppliers in Little India Hawker Center

But I did click with these guys. Suppliers of the best butter chicken in the Little India hawker center. And on one of our last nights there, I was feeling so nostalgic, I made them take a selfie with me. I miss those guys. And their naan.

I Never Wrote About Singapore

Pin it, because they are in fact pretty pictures. Especially me with the robot.

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2 thoughts on “So I Never Wrote About Singapore, a Story in 24 Pictures

  1. Jac

    Glad you enjoyed your time in Singapore even if it wasn’t somewhere you clicked with! Come back next time and I’ll show you around, maybe you’ll find something you’ll love then :)

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