Today is the day we master bussery – the art of traveling by bus in a foreign city. One of the places we are going is not only off the map but as best we can make, not near an MRT station. Holland Village is our first stop. The reading said it is a place of smaller shops and eating establishments. First thing we notice is the higher frequency of expats. It is an upscale neighbourhood but the shops and restaurants are mostly closed. We arrive mid morning and the restaurants and bars will not be open until later in the day. The area is nice enough but I think the evening would be a better time to visit.
Dempsey Hill is another old army barracks, this time converted into a boutique shopping area mixed with several eating establishment. Again it is upscale but it is far more interesting and unlike yesterdays visit there are a few more people wandering about.
We wander about having fun talking to the folks in the shops and as we walk out the door of the exotic food market the skies open up and a torrential tropical downpour commences. We find a seat and watch as the roadway fills with water. The rain abates and we commence our journey.
The next shop we are again chatted up by the attendant and as we are about to leave his shop the rain starts anew. The fellow looks outside and he knows we only have one umbrella to share so he offers us a ring side seat to watch mother nature perform. He then disappears into the back and produces an umbrella that he hands to me and says ‘this should help, you do not have to return it’. I promise to pass it on to someone I meet in need. We leave, both under cover, and for the most part stay dry.
It is a well known fact, Singapore is clean to the point of being sterile. It is the city SE Asian travelers, from the western world, descend upon to regen when cultural burnout is an issue. I don’t really notice the lack of garbage on the street until I see a single solitary piece of paper blowing in the wind along the sidewalk. Really, it is the way the world should be and I think it is that way here because the rules are enforced. Spit your gum on the street and you can expect to pay a hefty fine if caught. Sure you can Jaywalk but don’t get caught or your wallet might be $500 lighter. There are always people that will not live in a civilized fashion and enforcing the laws that are in place seems to work. Maybe the western world should take note.
Orchard Road it a mega shopping street in Singapore. For the record it is also a mega street, 4 lanes of traffic each way with a boulevard running down the middle. There is signage on all the sidewalks proclaiming the street is non-smoking. As I walk along a remote edge of the 10M wide sidewalk I notice a wide yellow line on the concrete and within the barriers of the yellow lined area stand an elbow to elbow crowd of smokers and one stainless steel ashtray/butt can. A penalty box for smoker. It is as though the smoking area puts the smokers on display similar to the petty criminals of old that were confined in the ‘stocks’.
Much less embarrassing but still adhered to are the yellow lined bicycle parking areas. There are not too many bikes here but when they are parked they have special areas and people use them. Like that would work back home?? It minimizes the mayham that can be caused by bikes left willy nilly and I think again if you do not park your bike there it may not be there when you return.
Tonight we will venture further for supper so we can try Chili Crab. It is a specialty here and the hotel concierge recommended a certain hawker to us. He also explained to us how to order it so it is the right degree of spicy for our western palate. So we are going to put our scuba diving morals aside and go eat crab.