In the summer of 2003 I made a two-month trip to Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, with a stopover of a few days in Singapore. Below is the first part of this blog.
A first sign of life from Singapore. I am now sitting in my own apartment just outside the center with a beautiful view of a nature reserve. Cup of tea, the latest Harry Potter book, music and delicious Dim Sum snacks: I’ll make it through the evening!
The day before I left I joined Servas, an organization that wants to bring travelers and local people in contact with each other to promote understanding between cultures. When you travel, you get a list per country of people who would like to host foreigners in their home. Normally you have to let them know 7 – 14 days in advance that you are coming, but of course I didn’t have enough time. Still, the morning of my departure I sent an email to a few people in Singapore. To my surprise I already had two responses half an hour later!
A woman offered me this apartment from a friend who is traveling. The first evening she told me about life in Singapore and took me to dinner with Indian friends. Dear people and terribly good food. It’s just a pity that those Indians are so hard to understand when they speak English…. Their mumbling reminds me a bit of that Swedish cook from the Muppet show…. With my tired jet-lag head, I was seated next to a man I really couldn’t understand. The entire evening I nodded politely during his story and said at random “aha”, “yes” and “no”. Apparently he was explaining what life is like in Singapore – or India-, because every now and then he asked “… Holland…?” The only thing I could think of to say was: “ehhhh….the same?”… The poor man must have a very strange image of our little country now…
Singapore is exactly what they say about it: super clean, safe and well organized. A melting pot of cultures. Luckily everyone speaks English. The only thing people seem to do here is eat and shop… Behind the scenes, however, they work hard.