Monday, January 11, 2010

Day 4 - January 10, 2010

Today we got to see the entire country of Singapore via subway, foot and taxi.

We started with a hike through a neighborhood near the Watkin's condo and got to see all of the huge mansions in Singapore. From there we saw the exact opposite which was the public housing. These buildings of apartments are everywhere in Singapore as you can see in the slide show. I would think over 1/2 of the country is public housing. Our cousin's live in a condo, which is a step up from the public apartments and then the very few extremely rich Chinese live in mansions on the end of the island. The four c's all Singaporean's strive for are "Cash, Car, Condo, and Club". We got to see this on our tour today.

The country is set up so you do not need a car to get around. It is very expensive to have a car, $30,000 to get your license, plus the cost of the car which is priced a lot higher than in the US. For example a Toyota Camry in Singapore would cost about $50,000 USD. Most people take taxis or the MRT (subway) everywhere. The subway pretty much runs from one end of the country to the other (Singapore is about the size of Chicago).

After our tour of the housing, we walked through a local market and saw all of the interesting things you can eat. They have black chickens, chicken feet, duran (which is a super stinky fruit), and fish heads. Our cousin Jeff said we had to try a fish head before we left. We will see how that adventure goes down when the time comes. Another interesting thing is the cigarette packages, they have pictures of people with mouth cancer and other disgusting pictures to discourage people from smoking. All you smokers out there in Richmond, expect a pack of cigarettes to help you stop smoking as a souvenir! :)

After the market, we took the MRT across Singapore and pretty much saw more housing. It seems that there are houses, schools, and shopping malls in Singapore, outside of the downtown business area and not much else. The interesting thing about the subway was that in some areas when the train was above ground and near the public housing the windows of the subway would immediately go dark so you could not see out in order to protect the residents privacy.

After the subway ride, we did a walking tour of downtown. We saw all of the new developments down by the ocean. Gambling became legal a few years ago and two large casinos (Integrated Resorts) are being built as well as some other tourist attractions which look like a lot of fun. We went to the Raffles (Raffles discovered and helped develop Singapore) Hotel. We went to the Long Bar in the hotel where the Singapore Sling drink was created. We are not big fans, but got it down! We had lunch on the river and then walked downtown some more and saw some interesting architecture and the location where all of the transvestites in Singapore used to parade around in the streets.

To end the day we walked down Arab Street and visited a Mosque and did some shopping. We were exhausted by then so went to a local microbrewery to rest up for a yummy sushi dinner in Japan town. We did a lot today (we heard we broke another record by seeing more in one day (I didn't do this post justice) than any other visitors they have had.

We are off to bed and to pack for our next big trip in Phuket tomorrow!

Here are 2 slideshows of our pics from today!

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