Singapore gets two thumbs up!
A really funny thing happened to me this morning...

After waking up at 8am local time from a normal night's sleep (yay!), I decided to venture out on my own and find a neighborhood pharmacy.  I was in need of some sunburn cream (not to worry... just a minor burn) as well as some additional mosquito repellent for my upcoming trip to Bali (I do NOT want to catch Dengue Fever!!!)  

First a note about this neighborhood:  the Jordan family (who I'm staying with) lives in a very affluent part of Singapore, a sort of equivalent to 5th Avenue in NYC.  There is a shopping mall on nearly every other city block.  Designer stores, food courts, groceries, movie theaters... you name it.  This place has it all.  And the malls can extend up to 4 floors both beneath and above the ground.  The thing that boggles my mind is that these areas are constantly bustling with people.  There is no shortage of consumers whatsoever.  It's a wonder that so many of these establishments can stay open, especially when you might find multiple Rolex stores all nestled within a few city blocks of each other.

One aspect of the underground shopping complex system that really works well is that they are often linked to the local subway lines.  I would guess that the majority of the crowds you see walking about the shopping centers are actually just commuting to and from work or just traveling to other destinations throughout the city.  (Let me just emphasize again how AMAZING the subway system is here.... more on that later.)

Another function of these underground passages is to serve as crosswalks for crossing certain city streets.  With 4.6 million people packed onto this tiny island, Singapore has found an ingenious method for diverting massive crowds of foot traffic away from the streets and into the underground.  This also helps to keep motor vehicle traffic running smoothly, as the traffic here moves at a very quick pace.  Of course, there are still several above-ground cross walks, which you must be vigilant of since the authorities will fine you S$20 for jay walking.

One nice thing about these underground spaces is that they are typically air conditioned.  Singapore is about 60 mi. north of the equator, keeping the temperature at a balmy 86-90 degrees F and the humidity close 100%... even in the evening.  So the air conditioned spaces are a nice retreat from the heat.  In fact, most indoor establishments have an AC blasting 24/7.  What really blows my mind is that a lot of these air conditioned stores and restaurants keep their front doors open much of the time.  You can often walk past a department store and feel an unnaturally cool breeze blowing across your body, EVEN from up to 150 ft. away.  

ANYWAYS... I digress.   Back to my story.  I managed to locate the pharmacy but was reminded that most stores in Singapore don't open until 10am. This gave me some time to wander around the ritzy sidewalks and explore some of the underground spaces.  I started noticing these large groups of teenagers who were all wearing these neon green t-shirts with writing that indicated they were competing in a scavenger hunt.

"Looks like fun," I thought.

I eventually purchased my goods and was traveling back to the apartment when I encountered another one of these scavenger mobs.  They had noticed me from afar, and approached me to see if I would be willing to take a photo with them.  I asked for them to take one with my camera, too.

But as I was about to part from the group, they stopped me to ask me for one more favor.  

A girl asks, "Could you please do 5 push-ups for us?"

Needless to say, I got down on the street and went to work.  The group counted in unison and applauded once I finished the last one.   

I must admit, it had been a while since I had done any push-ups, so I'm glad I was able to make it all the way through.  ;)
7/15/2010 09:28:53 am

Now which one are you in this photo??? lol! Goodly to see you're having such a wonderful journey and adventure in this far away land...How magical...
Will look forward seeing lots more photos and maybe when you return...(you are coming back aren't you???) you could have a 'show and tell' and potluck event at FAVA! That would be really cool! Stay safe and suck in as much of Singapore & Bali as you can!!! susan

Leah Frank
7/17/2010 09:45:30 am

Scavenger Hunt Item 38:
Find an American and make him show off his mighty strength.


12/26/2010 11:33:08 am

Merci Denis pour ces compliments, n'en jetez plus...


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