Singapore, Part I: A world of sensations

After more than 32HS. flight, with stops in Sao Paulo and Istanbul we discovered the pleasure of enjoying the service of Turkish Airlines: Extremely friendly staff, excellent food where you get to choose between two main dishes (before the main meal you get a damp cloth to clean your hands). All crowned with a travel kit that includes slippers, among other amenities.
There are many Singapore: the ethnic and cultural: in the city-state where 5.5 million people live, one in four people is foreign. The ethnic groups have their neighborhoods: Chinatown; the Arab neighborhood and Little Indian.
Another Singapore is the lamest, the Shopaholic where buying is national sport. Any excuse is good: if it rains to protect themselves from the rain; if it’s hot and wet (as usual) to take advantage of the air conditioning, to get together after work, with friends, etc. There are dozens of shopping malls scattered around the city. From the first built in the 60s to modern shopping malls that look like small cities. Those where credit cards are trembling.
With nearly 7500 square meters has an amazing religious diversity, at least for us who are not used to feel it so closely. On the morning of April 3, Good Friday, we got up early to try to overcome jet lag and so seize the day. We stayed at Betel Box, a simple hostel located in Geylang, the red area of the city and at a great price for Singaporeans rates (it is the most expensive country in the world).
As we said, very early before preparing un instant coffee, Dani (sometimes nicknames are put as their real names are unpronounceable), the manager of the hostel, came to tell us to stay calm, to three blocks there was a Catholic church to go to pray. The guy had deduced that because South Americans were Catholics and that for us the date was special. We looked conspiratorially without giving information on our religious elections and appreciated the gesture.
Then we walked around the neighborhood and we realized the importance of religion and daily practice. There are temples, mosques and churches everywhere. At all times there are people praying. Inside and outside the premises of food and clothing there are mini altars with offerings to gods. There are ways of dressing, of greeting, to look and even different odors according to ethnicity. The Indians, almost 100 thousand with work permits, have a strong odor that comes out through the pores. As told, they eat very spicy and that is transpired. On the other hand, are the Chinese, who came to this land in Southeast Asia, from the fourteenth century and still maintain offices as calligraphy, Swedish manufacturing and metalwork. Thousands of Chinese and not a supermarket where the owner is Lee, is rare.
After the walk around the area of the hostel we went to enjoy the walk along the Singapore River on the amphibious bus thanks to Duck Tours, which revolves around town and then gets into the water. There we saw the stunning Marina Bay, a hotel with three towers leaving more than one speechless, then the Merlion, imaginary creature, half lion half fish, which represents the origins of the city.

Eager to roll we got the tourist bus Hop on Hop off, where we did the red route, which prioritizes the ethnic neighborhoods and civic center of the city. The yellow route, along Orchard Avenue, the shopping area for excellence.
An special mention for the green spaces. They say that those who designed the Singapore, had the idea to make a city within a garden. Whenever a building is constructed must necessarily have trees around. The prize is for the botanical garden where orchids walk takes the awards. IMPORTANT: This large garden is artificial. Cement modernity is balanced with nature, sometimes natural and other tailor-made.


Singapore is also known as the city of the rules. Who doesn´t comply will have to break the bank: throwing a role in a street could be very expensive. It would be hasty to say that because of fines the city doesn´t have a role on the floor. Maybe it is installed as a society, it is cultural, we don´t know. All we did was to be alert not to drop anything out of our pocket.
Our whirlwind a day and a half visit to the city of the Merlion blew our minds away: friendly local people, its cultural richness, its buildings, its green spaces, the show of lights and sounds in Gardens by the bay, metallic flowers covered with vegetation can be seen from afar, its neighborhoods, its gastronomy: rice with chicken at Chinatown to recommend.
I almost forgot, the Singaporean who cooked us chicken rice mocked about Diego´s paternity. Is Maradona a good father? he said.


We are facing a long way to go. We will have another three days rematch on April 23 when we come back to one of Asia pearls before returning to Buenos Aires. And so we can tell you a little more of this beautiful city.