We’ve been hanging out in Singapore for the past few days. EB finds the humidity energizing. Moi? I’m suffering from serious France-lag.
Even my mobile kept French time for two days. Perhaps that’s why they call it a smart phone.
As always, we hit the streets on day one – stepping out into 33-degree heat, complete with 90 percent humidity. Joy.
One local just laughs at us and shakes his head. “Nobody walk in Singapore. Everyone take bus or taxi,” he says.
I wish. I already feel like I’ve run a marathon. Unfortunately, I look like it too. Wringing wet and half dead.
Which makes it hard to blend in along Orchard Road, Singapore’s posh shop-til-you-drop strip. The only person about to drop is me – and I haven’t even started shopping.
But what do the locals think of their city? “Singapore is fine city,” one lady says.
This isn’t a quirk of language. She’s not the first – or the last – to tell us about how highly regulated life is in Singapore.
There are fines for littering, fines for not emptying the overflow from pot-plant trays, fines and loss of taxi-licenses for drivers ripping people off, fines and jail terms for handbag snatching and other petty crime, a complicated car-ownership permit system, and more. You can even get the cane here, and not just at school.
The pot-plant thing? That’s about making sure mosquitoes can’t breed. It’s part of a vigilant program to stop dengue fever (check out the NEA ad).
All these strict laws may be annoying to live with, but they’re designed to create a litter and crime-free tropical city that’s healthy and safe for tourists and residents, with maximum green spaces and minimum pollution – especially car emissions.
And it works. It’s the safest, cleanest, most relaxing Asian city we’ve been in so far.
It’s also one the most environmentally-responsible and innovative cities in the world.
For us, it’s been a pleasant surprise and we’ve had a great time exploring the city.
Not always on foot. EB relented and we did eventually take taxis and buses – sometimes.
Coming soon! Some of our favourite places in Singapore. Until then, here’s a trip down memory lane – by bike.
This reminds me of how I felt on the last downhill run into Tournus. Nice.