Travelogue: Singapore & Bintan, March 2002

21 Mar 2002

I am definitely enjoying Asia and its contradictions which reflect into mines.

Singapore has welcomed me with its mix of authentic underneath cultures and fake exterior appearance. With its sudden intense rains and the also sudden bursts of hot equatorial sun. You can get completely wet in two minutes and completely dry again after a little while.
The poorness and the richness side by side. European style facades (with pastel coloured walls and windows' shades like italian "Veneziana") sporting bright coloured chinese signs. Tall skyscrapers dwarfing cute little strange temples at their base. Paying 8 euros for a couple of bad coffees in these euroamerican omnipresent cafe chains and the same price for two full meals in the wonderful multiethnic foodcourts.

Foodcourt: everywhere in Singapore, near to where people work or live, there is a constellation of eating places. They are usually hidden in the inner gardens of big condos, or under the bulkyness of a commercial centre or a finance skyscraper. They host little stands offering (for next to nothing) dishes of different cuisines (Malay, Indonesian, Chinese, Indian.....) and marvellous freshly squeezed fruit juices.

And of course some local people queue to pay hundreds of singaporean dollars (1S$=0.62 Euro) for eating at american food places or english pubs....

Relaxing in the pool at night, so hot the weather here, and freezing to death in superconductive airconditioned taxies. Continual thermal shocks going in and outs of houses, shops, taxies, buses, metro, anything.


I also went to "Bintan", an Indonesian island very close to Singapore. Basically Singapore's "Lido", with touristic resorts. 44 S$ for complete return trip to lay down on the beach in a touristic village (I thought I would never go in my life but it happened: Manamana-beach-dot-com-something) of this strange island that seems to have been created only for tourists and populated only by them and by waiters, scubadiving teachers, hired drivers and the like.

Joseph A.L. Insana

Last modified: Thu Apr 25 14:58:37 BST 2002 First appearance: Thu Apr 25 14:58:36 BST 2002