Singapore impressed me in many ways. It is ultramodern and could be the very definition of cosmopolitan. I knew it is a major financial center for Asia but I was still fairly blown away with the skyline, so many office towers with interesting and unique designs, seemingly no two are alike. Singapore is infamous for its strict rules and regulations regarding littering, graffiti, chewing gum etc but I must say it makes for a rather squeaky clean city.
With shiny big cities come expensive accommodations. I was staying for over a week and I struggled online to find anything decent looking for $100 SGD (about $75USD) or less per night. This was a shock to the system after India and especially after Thailand. I decided to think outside of the box and checked out craigslist classifieds and came across an amazing feng shui’d apartment right across Orchard Road from my yoga training and in my price range. Many frequent travelers to S’pore were envious of my find.
I journeyed to Singapore to attend a one week intensive Yoga workshop with a yoga guru whose teachings I have long admired, David Swenson. It was indeed intensive and I have to say it met, even exceeded expectations. There was a lot of information covered but with plenty of hands-on practice and enough laughs so it was not a bore. After a couple of days I would catch myself walking to and from class with a big, satisfied grin on my face. It was held at Pure Yoga, an immaculate facility solely dedicated to yoga. I met many wonderful, interesting people from all over the world taking this training and hope we can meet again over yoga in the future.
I was also impressed with the people of Singapore, some of who spoiled me rotten with great hospitality. It started upon arrival with my yoga friend Mei, who I had met training in India ’09. She picked me up from the airport, took me for a Heartlander (local) breakfast and later toured me around the city. I was a little zonked from my India travel odyssey to take this all in but what a wonderful welcome. Mandy, the cousin of my good friend Hamsha, was also a great host and a highlight of my trip was the South African braai (bbq) she hosted. Good company and some amazing poolside grilling action.
The food culture in Singapore really blew me away. There are four distinct cuisines proudly represented: Chinese, Indian, Western and of course native Malay (Nonya). I have never seem people eat with such great zeal as in the hawker food centers here. I watched many times as people would stroll through the tables, checking out everyone’s plates to see what looks great, as well as checking which food stalls have lineups for their specialty, then swooping in to make their order. I am happy to say I made several additions to my top 100 foods list here. One of my all-time happy food memories has to be when Mei and her husband took me to the humble Golden Mile hawker center which is well known for it’s sup tulang I won’t get into details but think sweet chili flavoured lamb shanks (see photo) with delicious marrow accessible if you are willing to work for it and quite likely to stain your clothes bright red in the process. Magnificent!!