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SINGAPORE | Thursday, 18 May 2017 | Views [180]



Singapore is a large city that is remarkably clean, modern, and with a very reliable transit system. I mainly rode the bus instead of the metro as it provides better views of the city. I started out visiting the Gardens by the Bay, I was less than impressed. The tourist attraction is located within a nice seaport park but the "gardens" weren't really gardens. The area included a few man-made domes that contained a living artificial tropical forest and a cloud forest. I suppose this is a nice attraction as an inner city nature getaway for people unable to experience the real forests. In addition, as another traveler put it, Singapore has a very sterile feel to it, and the nature park helps to add a living element. 

The Burgis Street market, as you will hear, is like most markets, a lot of repetitive tents selling basically the same curios. Occasionally I entered these shops that sell some sort of dried food (?) products. I know I saw dried anchovies but I was utterly confused by the other products. Most of the goods looked like what one might put in a witches brew or more as seasoning or Chinese medicine. I would love to know what this stuff was but talking to the sellers was difficult, the shop were exclusively for the locals. 

Obviously, I had to try the infamous Durian fruit. Must people state the fruit smells bad, so much so it is not allowed on public transit. Others don't mind the smell and enjoy the taste of the fruit, the former group may or may not indulge. My personal opinion is Durian really doesn't smell horrible but sort of has a stinky feet smell. The green, prickly football sized shell when opened contains pod like seeds which are the yellow fruit. The taste is described milky or creamy, and that I agree with. The texture is smooth, slimy, and difficult to pull off the seed similar to a mango. Some people find it a delicacy but I didn't not care for it and I think that was due to the milky flavor with a hint of foot funk. 

A guided tour at the Singapore National  Museum provided an abbreviated look at the the colonial settlements and the Japanese occupation during WWII. The tour concluded with a look at Singapore's current economic growth which is very obvious by the sophistication of the city compared to other regions of Indonesia and Malaysia as I will come to later understand. Lastly and most important, I went to Little India which completely exploded my taste buds and spoiled any state side view of Indian food. Of course I had to sample the staple Indian foods in order to compare, these included: vegetable Pakora, chicken Tikka Masala, and mango Lassi. I am not ashamed, I ate it all. I then walked the major market street and weaved through the crowds, I was definitely one of very few if any tourists. The local shop items varied and included: electronics, clothing, flashy jewelry shops (mostly fake gold and silver), ceremonial flowers (which you're apparently not allowed to smell, I tried), statues, traditional saris and bindis and bangles. 

Although the China towns and Little Indias seem repetitive in major cities, they are definitely a good source of authentic food and market shops should you miss the experience in another city.

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