Let me begin by apologizing for the large break in posts. This last three weeks has been a whirlwind, spinning us through 7 countries, on 12 flights, and 5 time zones. There’s so much to share about all the fantastic places we’ve traveled to and I know I won’t be able to even scratch the surface with one post so I’m going to try and do these countries justice and give them their own posts.
I left off in Thailand, so this next post will begin with Singapore.
Our first introduction to Singapore was on the airplane, when the pilot came over the intercom and warned all passengers that being caught carrying cannabis into Singapore came with the punishment of death. In Thailand cannabis is legal, so it was a real risk for some travelers, but it wasn’t just cannabis that you’d need to be concerned about. Singapore considers prescription medicines for issues such as ADHD and sleep also narcotics.
On a side note, while we were visiting, a taxi driver told us about a recent hanging of a man who was just passing through the airport on his way to a different (non-Singapore) destination. He was caught carrying heroin and was put to death. He never even stepped foot out of the airport. Click here if you want to read more about that incident. If you visit Singapore, you should definitely talk with every taxi driver you travel with. They are a wealth of knowledge and gossip about their city.
Singapore is beautiful. There is no questioning they have mastered the engineering and design around nature, gardens and public spaces. After having the fear of God put into us on the plane, the next introduction we got to Singapore was an enormous waterfall flowing from the ceiling into a glistening crater in the middle of a Disney themed airport exhibition. I think the Disney part was temporary, but it was clearly a huge attraction for the locals.
Kress and I stayed in a hotel called the Jen and it was love at first sight. You’re met at reception with a sign that if you want a surprise treat delivered to your room a robot called Jeni was happy to come and give it to you. Um, yes please Jeni!
She brought us delicious little chocolates, and even wiggled with a happy little beep when you told her she had done a good job.
Being the former skateboarder that I am I was also excited to find that our room over-looked out a skatepark where we could watch ant-sized groms kick-flip and half pipe all day and night.
Then, of course, there was the infinity pool that overlooked the City skyline and where you could continue to be served by robotic waitstaff while soaking up the tropical sun.
The City itself was pretty magical. We were there just before Chinese New Year so everything was elaborately decorated in bright colors and dancing bunnies for the Year of the Rabbit celebration.
In China Town, we ate our way through a food market and wandered the walking streets through vendors selling everything from dried meats to soap.
A huge draw here is the durian, a delicacy fruit which smells like dirty socks but supposedly tastes amazing.
We weren’t in Singapore for too long. Just four nights, but we made it a priority to go to the three world class zoos. I want to acknowledge that there is a lot of debate around zoos and whether they help or hurt animals. I’ve always been a supporter of quality zoos as what typically hurts animals (in my opinion) are humans poaching, stealing and destroying habitat.
The zoos in Singapore are the best I’ve ever seen and are focused on conservation, education and reproduction of species that have been pushed to the edge of extinction. If you’re not a fan of zoos, you may want to skip to the bottom of this post.
The first zoo is nocturnal, so we got there in the evening. The paths were illuminated by dim golden lights that we could follow as we walked silently along the trails. The only sounds were those of animals, which made it feel like we were wandering through the wilderness. The huge variety of animals were actively working, eating, playing, and enjoying life in a way you never get to see during the day. We even got to stand about 2 feet away a Rhino while it was being fed dinner.
The second zoo was all fresh-water focused, but don’t be mistaken thinking it’s as an aquarium. There were all kinds of water loving animals in addition to actual fish, such as the capybara, turtles and alligators. Also, being that it was all fresh-water focused they really concentrated on inland rivers and streams. Unexpectedly, this was also where the pandas lived, and because it was the off season we got to watch baby and mama panda play for a half an hour with nearly no one around.
The third zoo was their main zoo, which was large and well curated. The animals had a lot of room and their habitats were very considerate of their specific needs.
After visiting the zoos, which took a couple days, we headed to the waterfront to the Gardens By The Bay.
There were two large glass domes, one housing flowers and the other guiding you through a mountain ecosystem. You’d take an elevator to the top and wander down, seeing how plants adapt to each level of moisture, temperature and light.
All in all, Singapore was incredible. The people we met where all very nice, the food was outstanding, the technology was mind-blowing and the gardens and nature were world class. Kress and I both agree that this is a place we want to return to someday.
Now, we leave behind these luxurious and high-tech comforts and head further west to Varanasi India. I’m trying hard to catch up on my posts so hopefully you wont be waiting too long for the next one!!