Nine months ago, today, we left San Francisco on this worldwide adventure. Twenty one countries later we find ourselves in Singapore. Tomorrow we fly to country number twenty-two (Indonesia) and begin the three-month home-stretch to the one-year mark.
Today I’ll keep my thoughts to Singapore though. We were going to stay in Singapore until tomorrow, but decided to spend our last day in Malaysia before flying down to Jakarta. Besides really liking Malaysia as a whole, we just ran out interesting things to do in Singapore. We saw some sights in our three and a half days there. We spent time just hanging out and walking around too. The food was good, the city comfortable and convenient, and we could both envision it being a nice place to live. But as a traveler, it was kind of bland. I could live in Singapore no problem, but its not very interesting. There’s not too many sights to see, it’s not unique in the sense that it’s very western and like home, and its very expensive. The city lacks character, as its not only sanitized but sterilized. For instance, Chinatown is tourist gimmick erected after the real Chinatown was demolished. And the Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) was totally calm and almost deserted even midday on a weekday. The Arab Quarter was basically Malaysia, and Little India barely had any character. Again, Singapore is nice. I’d live there: good food, relatively diverse, and first-world in every sense of the word (actually, I think its more like the future). But we both felt like it just lacked character, it wasn’t interesting, it wasn’t unique enough…But perhaps I should heed the advice “be careful what you wish for” because our next stop is Indonesia
Pasteurized and homogenized cultures are not what take us abroad.
-Pico Iyer, Video Night in Kathmandu