After four months on the Indian subcontinent, coming to Singapore is like falling off a 40-story building and landing in a pile of goose down. This place is the most modern and orderly country/island/city I have ever been to and is EXACTLY what I need right now. The metropolis is planned and built for ease of use and pleasant feng shui feelings. Public transport is abound and they practically carry you on the subway. There are shiny high rises, crowded temples, green gardens, pristine streams, plentiful shopping malls and outdoor eating stalls everywhere. Watermelon juice is cheap and the weather is perfect all year round. Horn honking, hassling, gum chewing, littering, spitting, nose-picking and peeing in public are all banned and if you dare try and scribe some graffiti on a wall or window they will flog your little arse 20 times. As a result, Singapore is squeaky clean and shines. (See, some good planning and a little bit of well directed fascism can go a looooong way.) Even Little India, which locals say is the dirtiest part of town, is cleaner than most parts of San Francisco. My hostel is located in the heart of Little India and as I stroll home at night, I wander through streets of— you guessed it; only men. But the rest of the time in the country, I am greeted by friendly Chinese and Malay people whom seem to be happy and living good lives. I visit a well illuminated museum filled with Asian treasures and wander through a sublime orchid garden that brings me Alice in Wonderland. I can live here.
Unfortunately, my fever has worsened and this hacking cough is beginning to scare the locals. After all, it wasn’t too long ago that SARS took its tool on the economy. I pop some Tylenol and pray.