After landing from a 20-hour flight I was tired and grumpy. Jet lag was weighing down everyone in my family as we crossed customs and collected our luggage. As we drove through the modern city of Singapore to our hotel, I took a glance out the window and saw the Singapore flyer, soaring over our car, slowly turning as people boarded. Through the opposite window, I saw the gorgeous Marina Bay Hotel. The hotel was astonishing, as it was three adjacent towers connected by a pool at the top. We passed by the 37-meter tall Merlion statue, an impressive structure with the head of a lion and a body of a mermaid. The sights and sounds of the city made me feel like I was in a new world.
Early the next morning, my family and I went to the concierge and booked a day tour of the city. Our first stop was Sentosa Island, a relaxation destination made by the government for the Singaporean people. We took cable cars over Keppel Harbor to reach our destination. It was so humid that the windows on the cable car had fogged up. We immediately went to the Sentosa Luge and Skyride. My family and I jumped on the Skyride, much like a ski lift, up to the top of the mountain. While ascending, I saw people’s cameras, shoes, and purses that had fallen out of the lift hanging in the trees. Even though I am not a risk taker, initially I was excited to go down the mountain alone in the luge, a part go-cart, part toboggan vehicle. Taking this risk was one of the best decisions I ever made. Speeding down the 650 meter Jungle Trail allowed me to see a panoramic view of Singapore and the coastline. After that, we went to the Sentosa aquarium. At the front of the aquarium was a large enclosure for stingrays that my father and I were eager to pet. The stingrays openly welcomed my touch, but those near my father got angry and splashed water all over him. Their strong rubbery bodies felt like velvet gliding under my hand.
We left Sentosa Island and headed to the lush Orchid Gardens. Singapore is very clean and its citizens take pride in their environment. The Botanical Orchid Garden is a prime example of this. There are over 50 types of orchids in the gardens ranging from magenta to orange in color. Being a visitor from Arizona where it is very dry, the intense green of the trees and vibrant colors of the flowers and animals were breathtaking. By this time my siblings and I were famished. When my mother announced, “Next stop: lunch!” we were relieved.
When we got to Little India we ate traditional Indian cuisine. The spices and chili in the food were intense, awakening my senses. My favorite was a paper thin Dosa filled with potatoes and vegetables. Throughout the trip, I grew to love the oyster omelet. The lightly charred oysters with sweet and salty sauces created a unique dish that I have not experienced since.
My trip to Singapore was one of a lifetime. I witnessed a new culture and lifestyle that I had not yet experienced. Although the luxuries were the same and the clothing stores and services were similar to those in the United States, law enforcement was stricter and its citizens appear to enjoy a higher standard of living. The country is also relatively young, so the architecture is more modern and their economic model encourages entrepreneurship. Given the chance, I would gladly return.
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