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If Laos and Cambodia is third world, Vietnam is second world, Thailand is developing world and Malaysia is first world; then Singapore is the future world. The future is spotlessly clean with incredibly low rates of crime, fast and efficient mass transit options and a highly educated population. If NYC is the great melting pot of the US, than Singapore is the melting pot of Asia. Indians, Malays, Chinese and even some white people live together, sharing cultures and just generally getting along.

$1000 Fine!

$1000 Fine!

I was happy to be going back to Singapore, a place that helped to save our honeymoon after a rough 10 days in Sri Lanka, not just because of those memories but also because I was meeting up with a couple of my favorite Singaporeans, or people for that matter: Ping and Peiyi.

We met the two Ps in NYC when they messaged us on couchsurfing.com looking for a couch to crash on while they toured around the USA. They stayed two nights with us in our tiny, tiny apt in the LES and we had a lot of fun together. When I had told Peiyi that I was coming for a couple days, she immeditatly arranged for a place where the three of us could stay and split the cost, which was incredibly helpful for this poor backpacker.

The one downside to Singapore is that the people work..a lot. Ping and Peiyi work 12 hours a day, 5-6 days a week. I wouldn’t get a chance to see them except at night and so I spent the first day hanging out around the beachfront resort (which would be like putting a place on Elliot Bay – It reminded me of home with a view of container ships) and then walking around the Pernanakan district, filled with old homes and shops and a true glance into the old world of Singapore where I ate at about 5 different places before heading into the city and started taking lots of pictures.

Food Models!

Food Models!

That night, the girls took me out to dinner and we ate satay, char kway teow, prawn noodles, popiah and had a few beers. The girls were both tired from such a long day but were good sports and stayed up late talking with me.

The girls were up and out the door by 7am but I slept for another couple hours. After spending so much time talking about the good and the bad of living in Singapore the night before, Peiyi thought it would be really interesting for me to see how the avg Singaporean lives and invited me to go visit her mother. I agreed and took a taxi over to the Tampines district and spent some time with her and saw a whole different side of Singapore.

The View from Peiyis Home


I’m sure most Americans would be a bit shocked to realize that in most places in Asia and South America, Children live at home until they marry and grandparents come back home when you have kids, or thereabouts. The culture is very family focused and probably hard for all of us independents to swallow. But it can be a nice arrangement. Everybody supports the rest of the family and you have built-in child care when the time comes. Not bad.

I spent the next 4 hours at the National Museum of Singapore. Maybe the nicest museum I’ve ever been to and I totally lost track of time learning about the history of Singapore. They even have a whole section on street food, though small, is pretty interesting. In America, we would probably put up displays of Oreo cookies, Captain Crunch and Dr Atkins but in Singapore there is a rich history of street food and displays are on Char Kway Teow, Laksa, etc.

The night, I met Peiyi at an MRT station near her work and walked all the way to the beach, about 45 minutes to an hour. I’m happy to report that even Singaporeans get hot from the heat and sweat. We met up with Ping ande had a big meal of cereal prawns and Sri Lankan Chili Crab.

Sri lankan Chili Crab

Sri lankan Chili Crab

Posed Picture #47

Posed Picture #47

One of the sadder parts of traveling is that you meet people that you connect with and won’t ever get to spend too much time with. K and I were lucky to meet the older German couple from Aachen a couple months back and maybe we’ll see them once more in Germany but who knows if ever again.

It’s the same with Ping and Peiyi. As much as we might connect, the chances are slim that we’ll ever see each other more than once or twice ever 5-10 years. We cannot have them over for dinner or meet for a drink. I know this happens to all of us as we all move about the country (my best friends from grade school live in Alabama, my best fried from high school lives in LA. my best friend from college, in Phoenix) and while they aren’t exactly close, they aren’t exactly far either. The separation  of continents takes on a whole other class of distance.

Bye Girls!

Bye Girls!

Having said that, we do have two friends who we have managed to see every year or two even though they live in Europe and hopefully that can be the case with the Ping and Peiyi..


One Response

  1. heys great post! =D im amazed by how you can remember all the names of the food & places, and getting all the spellings correct! yes i certainly hope to see you again:)

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