Photo Reflections: More Innerworkings of Singapore

Unfortunately for folks following this blog, the Singapore trip was a bit messy. And my photo collection even messier. But that being said, there’s no shortage of content to share. Below are some more images from visiting the streets of Singapore. And if you think there are a lot here, you haven’t seen anything yet. We start with an image of the Sentosa train:

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“Stress -> Bad for Health.”

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Skyline from Marina Bay Sands. Below: Daphne and Jason in awe.

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You will slip.

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The Pacific Ocean from the rooftop of the Marina Bay Sands, and the garden complex, below:

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“Bus Topping.”

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Alighting: the term used for getting off a bus or train. Below: Daphne engages in some public art.

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The art school.

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“Life of Liquor.” And: “F.M.L.”

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“Flashing Green Man.” Or: “Press for Green Man.” Below: Bean Curd in Bugis!

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“NO TIPPING ūüôā Please.” And in the distance: the National Library Board.

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Next: I visit the National Library Board with Daphne!

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Photo Reflections: Welcome to Sentosa

There are many things to do in Singapore and you can’t do them all in two days. It’s just not happening. You pick and choose your biggest interests and then you can find a reason to return. When we were in Singapore we saw a lot (as you’ll see, too) and didn’t see a lot. We didn’t see the Zoo, for example. We did see Sentosa, the “Island Resort” (man-made, kind of Disney-epic) the first full day of our trip. Jason’s a shark guy. He’s a shark fanatic, and it was his birthday. So it was of to the world’s largest aquarium, which has many, many sharks. Below you’ll find a lot of pictures from the Singapore Aquarium, but also a lot of pictures from walking around a fraction of Sentosa. If I go back to Singapore, I want to revisit Sentosa–not to pay to go to Universal Studios or any of the other expensive activities, but to walk around the “Free Area” and see what there is to be seen.

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Curious about this creature below? Look up “Merlion.”

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“Floor is Wet. Slippery Surface.”

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Below: withinthe “entrance” to the aquarium, which currently features a pretty extensive history of sea trade in Southeast Asia,.

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“I am Only a Display. Please be Gentle with Me.”

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“Interactive Point.”

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The introduction to the 4D theatre, which is one way to go from the aquarium’s entrance into the actual aquarium.

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The name of my next sci-fi thriller book: “Plant Room 1.”

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Jason touching a shark!

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“Fishermen of Sri Lanka.”

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“Great fish name: Banded Blenny.” And below: what nightmares are made of.

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“Strange Sea Urchin.”

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Singapore’s aquarium also has the largest aquarium viewing display in the world, apparently. There’s also a restaurant that allows you to sit right next to the tank, but the minimum table amount was something outrageous like $70 USD.

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The shark tank.

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Jason and the Lemon Shark:

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And last but not least, the aquarium gift store, which had candy bar characters!

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After the aquarium, we went for a bite. In Singapore, life can easily be structured around eating food, which is everywhere, and usually good. Of all the places we ate in Singapore, though, Sentosa’s was the most absurd. We had heard about McDonald’s in foreign countries having exotic versions of their standard US menu. We found that to be the case. From the durian McFlurries to the seasonal Rendang burger, McDonald’s was trying to cater to the locals. I should note that I rarely eat fast food and hadn’t had McDonald’s in probably three years (the last time was in Nevada when moving across the country, and having no other options for food in the small town).

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Don’t get your order by the time the hourglass empties? Free ice cream for you. (We got the free ice cream, by the way.)

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Next: our second day in Singapore reveals what it’s like to live large, walk a lot, and eat a lot!

Photo Reflections: Introduction to Singapore

In this sequence of images, I share some of the initial impressions of Singapore. We were staying at the Marina Bay Sands hotel, probably one of the craziest buildings I’ve ever seen, stayed in, been on the rooftop of, etc. etc. and that may have skewed our experience in Singapore but it certainly, at least, was comfortable enough to allow us the comforts needed for early travel.

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Our first foray into Asian public transit! Surprisingly . . . clean, smooth, comfortable.

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From inside the Marina Bay Sands. What you can’t really see is this genetic model sculpture hanging above the main lobby.

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In the huge mall attached to the hotel. One of the many impressive sculptures we’d continue to see during our time in Singapore:

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The view of the Singapore skyline from outside mall:

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What do the following buildings look like?

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I think it was three or four years since I’d seen Daphne last, which was when she visited Philadelphia with a couple of her friends. Daphne, who would be the official tour guide and helper and temporary BFF for our time in Singapore, originally studied abroad at UCONN and met my sister. That’s how I met her. I’d been wanting to visit Singapore ever since learning about it initially from Daphne, and there was no better guide than her!

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No, that isn’t a Morrowind-themed park in the distance. It’s a huge garden complex. But I’ll be showing some more up-close-and-personal shots of that space in the future!

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“Spore Flyer.”

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“Green Funpack Distribution Point.” This strange sign was for the Singapore National Holiday celebration. Each distribution point for the color-coordinated festivities was guarded by a couple of young military dudes, showing more boredom than I’ve ever seen.

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“Activate Art.” And below: Jason tries Milo for the first time.

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Daphne shows us the magic of soft-boiled eggs:

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Okay, so small pieces of toast with large slabs of butter do taste good, but not in that “I have to have this regularly in my diet” kind of way. In fact, they are good in that “I can’t believe I ate that but at least it tastes good” kind of way.

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The following pictures are from the library @esplanade, which is one of Singapore’s famous “mall libraries.” The library specializes in media (music, art, video), and was impressive overall. But very, very quiet.

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I call this “Bummer.” Below: the view from the Esplanade to the Marina Bay Sands.

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Getting to and from subway stations (MRT in Singapore) are often adventures. Like being in a video game, you have to pass through parking garages, strange hallways, and endless mall complexes.

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Next: Sentosa and the Singapore Aquarium

Exploring the Po Nagar Towers in Nha Trang

At around a dollar for entry, there is no reason to skip over this Cham-built temple complex. Though it was so hot outside I could barely think, I was still able to snap a few pictures of Po Nagar after eating an ice cream. I had had the displeasure too of seeing a couple of Eastern Europeans (guy and girl) making suggestive serial gestures on some of the goddess statues, but that negative image was counteracted by an adorable Asian girl curiously following some grey-robed individuals around (see below). Here are the pics I took from my phone:

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Photo Reflections: Singapore Airport

When we arrived to Singapore, it was late. We had the option of risking trying to find a hotel/hostel still open, and we had the option of hanging out in the Singapore airport for 6 or 7 hours until the trains started running again the next day. Here’s what happened: Jason and I were way too tired to try and exert ourselves too much. On the other hand, we were also at the Singapore Airport, recognized by some as the best airport in the world. I haven’t been to every airport in the world, but I can say that being in Singapore’s Changi for 12 hours was nothing short of¬†an experience. There’s an entire area in one of the terminals where you can sleep . . . in reclined bed/chair things, in darkness, etc. There are gardens everywhere. There’s a butterfly garden. There’s a movie theater. There’s street food stalls. There’s fancy food. There are chocolate stores everywhere. All the luxury designer brands. Everywhere. Everything. Here are some pictures.

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“Caution! Buggy Movement.”¬†And what follows are pictures from just one of the many extreme gardens littered across a “garden walk.” For those of you who have hours to kill, this was the most enjoyable way we found to spend our free time.

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Singapore is¬†definitely¬†eco-friendly. Here’s just one example of conservation signage we saw. One picture I forgot to take was of the screens outside each bathroom. It tells you the bathroom¬†attendant¬†on duty and lets you rate the¬†cleanliness¬†of the bathroom 1-5 stars. Talk about crowd-sourcing employee performance reviews!

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Notice the coy fish in the ponds. Yes, they are real. And every major garden had them.

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Even in the most mall-like sections of the airport (Singapore and Malaysia have extensive mall cultures), the design was invigorating enough to keep my anti-capitalist notions from growing out of control:

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It was easy to find food (and many different types of it) in Singapore at all hours of the night. From Indian to Chinese, you could pretty much satisfy your palate 24 hours a day:

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“No buggies.”

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“M&M w/ Durian.” And what follows are pictures from the butterfly garden. Being open-air with a mesh wall to keep the butterflies from escaping, going into the garden (even at night, which was when we visited) was hot and tropical. We were actually impressed that they let people go inside in the middle of the night. Though it probably would have been a lot more majestic during the day, seeing the creatures sleeping and the ambience of the night-lighting and the waterfall was quite lovely.

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Sleep time:

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“Mind the Gap.” The Entertainment Deck (below) is an entire floor dedicated to movies, video games, and music. There were apparently recording studio/booths, but we couldn’t find them.

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“Last Plane to Jakarta.” (Mountain Goats, anyone?)

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“Popular. Famous.” This picture would be the first of several taken throughout the trip featuring Jason in front of positive adjectives.

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“Southern Indian.”

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Here’s a pic of Jason being sad in front of the impressive ¬†three-story slide (yes, in the airport), which was closed for repairs during the time we were visiting.

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“The Soaring Egret, Leads You to a Wider World.”

Next reflections: Singapore Day 1

Photo Reflections: Narita Airport

I finally got my computer and so I finally got access to all of the pictures (all 50 gigabytes of them) on my camera. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll slowly start to post some of the more lively pictures, which I know you’ll enjoy. First up is the Engrish-centric vortex that is Japan. Narita Airport was our first stop on our way to Singapore. If you have the fortune of a layover in Narita, you can expect small shops of all the major designers, but some fairly unique Japanese stores thrown into the mix. It’s a low-key place.

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One of the many smoking lounges in Tokyo airport. Smoking, as we’d come to know, is everywhere in Asia, and while there are many people who do not smoke, and there are certain places you cannot smoke (fancy restaurants, on planes and in hired cars), the normalcy for the cheap habit (in Cambodia cigarettes are 75 cents USD a pack) is one of many cultural shifts we had to deal with.

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From the Tarmac.

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“How to Use Air Towel.”

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The following were pics of our first Asian/Abroad/International meal. In this case, ramen noodles. It was cheap and though it was not the best food we’d have, it was better than most cheap airport food.

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“Weak Coffee.”

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“Hot Dogs and Coffee.”

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“An Eyeball to Write.”

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“Training Chopsticks.”

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A rather disturbing, sexualized display for some boxed éclair.

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Horse/deer curry.

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“Crepy or creepy or crepe-y?”

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“Very Much Easy to servce ‘EEL BOWL.'”

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“Rice Cracker of Doll.” (Yes, these were dolls made out of cracker.)

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“Receiving a Prize Product.”

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“More Delicious if Cool It.” And here are some lovely pictures from Japanese customs:

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Sorry, you can’t take the sweet turtle shell guitars out of Japan.

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A lot of great art existed in the hallways of the airport, though most of the time it felt like we were in NYC.

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The following are from an amazingly comprehensive and impressive origami “museum” showcasing small scenes and items of all themes:

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Below, “visual poetry.”

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As I continue to have more free time I’ll be adding these huge picture galleries with short descriptions. These will be spliced with the regular assortment of real-time adventuring posts. Once I’m in Cambodia there will be more reflection.