trails & tribulations

by Jakob

Singapore, quite a contrast compared to Phnom Penh …
Singapore makes me initially think of Europe, to be more specific: a hot summer day in Europe, this impression changed soon when I was in the center of Singapore: numerous high and modern skyscrapers stand close together and where there is some place left building activities were going on. Out of the modern and old town the buildings are different: many quite boring appartment-blocks mainly for the housing of most residents of Singapore.
Everything here is quite well arranged, good organized and clean; don’t throw anything on the ground, because if you get caught there is a significant penalty attached to it, as you can read on signs everywhere, nevertheless sometimes I see some rubbish on the floor, mostly cigarette ends, surprisingly, because for a packet of cigarettes you almost have to pay $ 10, what a difference comparing to Cambodia where you only pay 25 cents for a pack of sigarettes …
The laws and regulations of Singapore seems to be reflected in the guesthouse where I stay: do not this, do not that, fine is a lot or Singapore Dollars.
Although the interior of the guesthouse is quite cozy, there is not really a unconstrained atmosphere, no wonder with all these rules, the common room is quite small with a sofa and television in the front- and a rear table in the backroom. “Do not eat and drink in the living room” I read on a note on the wall, while I was eating peanuts in the living room area …. well ….
In the afternoon I buy a day ticket for the metro, the metro is called MRT (Mass Rapid Transport) and for the most part it runs above the ground, fortunately, I like it more if you can see something of the surroundings. I buy a ticket and ask the ticket saleswoman to activate my ticket for the next day. I pay, get my ticket and she says: “I made your ticket allready active, so do not buy any tickets now.” I think: that’s nice that my day ticket for tomorrow allready usable! and I first head to the trainstation by MRT to buy a train ticket in advance for Malaysia, before going back to my guesthouse. As a low-budget traveler like me, the prices here are just a little bit too much, so I don’t want to stay here too long.

In Singapore are many eateries, not like in other Asian countries where you encounter many food-trolleys anywhere on the sidewalk , but only in covered areas, the so-called food courts. I order some food, take a seat at a table and soon a dinner companion is curious enough to ask me some questions such as where I come from and so on, to be honest, I always feel a kind of flattered when people are curious about you.
The next day I wanted to take the metro to start my sightseeing tour, but strange enough the ticket didn’t let me pass the gate, it said something like: “ticket is not valid”, apparently the saleswoman had misunderstood me yesterday. I go to the store where I bought the ticket and try to explain what went wrong, but since I allready used ​​my ticket I’m not getting a new day ticket for free … well, that was a relatively expensive ride yesterday and I decide to do no sightseeing tour with the MRT … Instead I buy a return ticket to the citycenter and intend to use my feet.

skyline Singapore

Back in my guesthouse I still have pay for the coming night before leavingtomorrow by train, it appears that the price suddenly almost double if you do not book in advance, so are the rules, she told me, it’s in the terms, just like the extra 10% service-costs … feels to me more like a scam, I think it actually is …
Singapore, everyone is really very friendly and it is a beautiful, bustling city / country and the “do not litter, fine …” signs do not disturb me, I never throw clutter outside of the garbage can, it’s just a little pity about the guesthouse …. Anyway, glad I’ve been to Singapore and now heading for Malacca!

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