After a 13 hours flight from London we stumble out of the airport terminal into the manicured madness that is Singapore.
“Stumble” sums it up nicely. The terminal is air-conditioned to within an inch of its life, as cool as a winter igloo. But as we pass through the sliding doors Singapore slaps us round the face. The air is steaming hot, so thick with moisture you could cut it with a butter knife. Within seconds our glasses are coated with a thick layer of condensation, and we blunder around blindly for a minute or two, waiting for the fog to clear.
At last we catch a glimpse of the Singapore we know and love: colourful, efficient and welcoming. And we spot the cameras too, watching me, watching you, watching everyone and everything.
Singapore is the cleanest, safest city I’ve ever visited, and also one of the most characterful. I’m pleased to be back. But it’s also a bit of a basket case, where the most apparently innocent of activities – like eating certain tropical fruits in public places – can get you arrested.
- There are lots of other ways to get yourself in trouble with the law here. Read about them on Platypus Pandemonium, my 2016 blog.
However this place is an economic miracle, and I guess a ban on eating durian fruit in public is a small price to pay for Singapore’s prosperity. Fifty years ago it was all but invisible on the world stage, Asia’s mad woman locked in the attic.
But today Singapore is a financial and trading superstar, the poster boy for Asian capitalism. This place may have been a bit of a joke in the years immediately after World War 2, but nobody’s laughing now. And, on top of all its other successes, Singapore has transformed itself into a must-see stop-off point for visitors to south-east Asia and Australasia.
- Click here to read about the highlights of our 2016 visit to Singapore.
- And here are some reflections on the famous Raffles Hotel.
Our plan of campaign for this visit is to pick up some of the key sights that we missed out on last time. That will have to wait for another post, but for now it’s worth saying that Mrs P has taken 426 photos in her first 36 hours here!