Differences and Diversity in Singapore

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We arrived in Singapore on Monday around noon and left via “luxury” bus to Malaysia on Thursday at 11:00 a.m.

So, the two full days we spent in Singapore were mostly for me to take Maritza to a few of my favorite places.  On Wednesday, we started with walking a few blocks to the MRT (public underground train system). It is a sterile efficient system. We really are in this picture…if you look very closely.

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We started out in Singapore with coffee on Orchard Road.  Maritza and I talked about commerce as important in Singapore, so that’s what we were looking at.  Our coffee, green apple smoothie, and muffins were very expensive.  We did some people watching and saw all colors of hair, styles of dress, and heard many different languages. As we sat there in the café sweating, we also saw people wearing sweatshirts and jeans. How different from our tank tops!

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Our feet grew terribly sore from walking on the hot cement. It is so different from walking on the earth back at home, or even the snow.

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We did a little shopping in the ‘cheap’ mall. When we walked in, we stood in the middle a looked at the many floors of stores.  Maritza even attempted a barter! She didn’t win.

As we got back on the MRT, I noticed such a difference between my outgoing exuberant daughter and the still and stoic MRT passengers. She is certainly full of loving life.  I was happy when a boisterous family got on!

The second day we were in Singapore, I wanted to show Maritza Little India and Chinatown. However, since we didn’t need the entire day, we spent a little time doing some work by the pool. What a difference in motivation to do math when she can take breaks by the pool!

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In the afternoon, we went off to Little India and Chinatown.  Of course, we were looking at the differences in these two pieces of Singapore.

We even found some differences in Little India!  We started out by going to the Tekka center right next to the MRT station. I had forgotten that the main floor was full of food – apples, oranges, durian (oh, the terrible smell), meat of all sorts, animal heads, noise, and humid heat. It was far more smell than we were able to stomach. Normally, we chew gum while walking around smelly places, but gum is illegal to sell in Singapore, and I didn’t have any in my bag!

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Luckily across the street was a little colorful bazaar that smelled like incense.  It was shaded and cooler. We drank some cola while three giggly girls gave Maritza a beautiful henna design on her hand. They promised to look us up in Minnesota when they visited.  One girl said we’d remember each other’s faces and find each other. It was a bit difficult for Maritza to understand that it is acceptable to say “no, thank you” when accosted by aggressive salespeople and walk away. To her this seemed rude.

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She finds it hard to understand how dancing on an MRT is rude, yet saying ‘no, thank you’ and walking away from a friendly person is not rude.

We found the most perfect place to eat and rest our aching feet. We sat in the shade at a street restaurant and ordered mango lassi, butter chicken, rice, butter nann, and yogurt cucumber salad.  You can see that we both loved it.  Slurped up every last drop!

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So, as pungent as Little India was, Chinatown was colorful! We purposefully went at night. It was different from my own memory.  Our feet were so sore by this time, that we did pay for a foot reflexology.  Not quite the same as a massage, but we were able to continue walking for a while. We meandered through the noisy crowds, bought a little monkey for Chinese New Year’s Year of the Monkey.

That was our time in Singapore.  As expected, full of diversity and differences!

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