Tormentingly and endlessly entrapped in a bubble of hot, humid, hazy stickiness, I quickly learned why so many people buzz around like worker ants in the gazillion shopping malls found throughout the city. Singapore is not just hot. Singapore is not just humid. The grey blanket of torture lays upon the streets like a sweat-soaked t-shirt. It never goes away. It penetrates through the clothing until a nice sheeny layer of sweat starts popping out through the pores to drench any and all clothing it comes into contact with. Energy and livelihood are sucked out until there is nothing left.
No, I am not describing a prison cell. Or a torture chamber. In fact, this is a place that about 5.5 million people call home. People come here by choice to visit! What is the lure of the place? Consumerism. Being a fan of history, or nature, or anything that makes a new country unique, I searched and searched to find things to enjoy about Singapore. I was trying to find a needle in a haystack. That needle is still sitting there waiting to be threaded because I am actually relieved that my six month planned visit was abbreviated quite substantially to a mere three weeks.
While I can appreciate the advanced, efficient and intelligently planned public transportation system, I despise the fact that almost every MRT station has its very own set of shopping malls. In search of something fun to do on the weekends, I found myself at the movie theater more times in those three weeks than in the past three months.
It wasn’t ALL bad. Surely, Singapore is a nightmare for budget travelers, with one exception: the hawker centers. This is probably the only thing I loved about the city, because you can always count on getting a delicious Asian or Indian meal for less than $3. Just don’t count on getting any useful utensils to help get that meat off the bone. And also expect to pay four times the cost of the meal if you want a decent alcoholic beverage to wash it down.
Goodbye, Singapore. You will not be especially missed.