This morning, I arrived in Singapore, and I am now on the first day of my one year voyage through Asia. That is still quite difficult for me to comprehend, but right now I am adjusting to the heat (it was 29 degrees when I arrived at 6 am), feeling quite exhausted after the 12,5 hr flight, and a little dazed.
This is the richest and youngest country that I will visit during my one year travels through Asia. This tiny island gained independence in 1965, and the name means lion city (a snafu, it was probably a tiger that the namegiver sighted). Singapore has a delightful mixture of people from Chinese (majority), Malaysian and Indian descent, which became apparent when I took the ultra-modern Metro system into town. I have located a nice hotel in the picturesque Chinatown district, but as I had several hours to kill before check-in time, I have just spend some time in a nice park, listening to music on my iPod mini and reading my Lonely Planet South-East Asia guidebook.
British influences are quite apparent here, as this used to be a British colony until 1959. English is the official language, Mandarin the second one. People are driving on the wrong side of the road and of course lashes of apologies find your way when you bump into someone. But many lovely exotic things as well, for instance the perfume of fresh fruits, flowers and incense that you can smell almost everywhere, signs above shops in both English and Chinese characters, and little ghost houses with offerings for the ancestors.
Right now, I’m in the People’s Park Complex, a huge shopping mall in Chinatown. I’m going to one of the many foodcourts (could that be an Australian influence?), and get me some luvly Chinese food
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