Thursday, March 29, 2007

Singapore Trip

One of the benefits of moving to this region is the close proximity to other points of interests in the world. Recently, I took a business trip to Singapore, my first time there. It was a short 3.5 hour flight from Hanoi, made comfortable by Singapore Air (good food, good service - man, Stateside airlines kinda suck).

Besides the heat and humidity, it felt like NYC, only cleaner and more verdant. And everyone spoke Singlish. And Mandarin.

(Toyota Crown, the Ford Crown (Victoria) of SG)

Singapore is ranked first in quality of life in Asia; upon stepping out of the airport, you can really feel it. The air quality difference between there and Hanoi was marked. It it is a relatively small city-state, so traversing it by taxi was quite reasonable. The average taxi tab was $5 SG, or $3.5 USD.

(Read and Heed)

However, if one takes taxis in Singapore, one must be aware of two local conditions: (1) good luck trying to find a taxi when it's raining - the drivers just take a siesta, 'cause they don't like driving in the rain; (2) when it's busy, forget trying to hail a cab and book one instead. That $4 SG booking fee is worth it.

You can book a cab by calling the companies, which all have great IT systems for booking. During prime time, pretty much all the cabbies refuse to pick up passengers and wait around to get a booking call before letting you in. They are smart enough to skirt the periphery of a taxi stand, waiting for a call and the extra loot that comes with it. The country should really increase the base taxi rates to discourage this behavior.

For a well developed country, Singaporeans are surprisingly not fat. Seemingly everyone was tall, lean, fashionable and in 3" heels. Apparently I only noticed the women in town.

Overall, I could easily live here. Prices are reasonable, except for real estate. The food is really good - I enjoyed the Pepper Crab more than the national dish of Chili Crab. And who can complain about Chicken Rice?

I can live here, save for the Singlish. It may be cute on women, but I don't want my kids to speak like that. It's all about American (East Coast) English; everyone else, including the Brits, have weird accents.


Aditya Bhushan said...

Nice blog. I also happened to visit Singapore/Malaysia recently. You may find my blog interesting

D. said...

Thanks for stopping by; I'll be sure to check out your blog.