By Don George
Singapore never ceases to surprise me. On my most recent trip, I found that the city had reinvented itself once again. And indeed, residents joked that if you go away for a year, you’ll be lost when you return, because the city will have changed so much. That restless energy — embodied in the downtown’s resident flock of building cranes — is infectious, and so is the visitor-friendliness of this bustling cosmopolis, where everything from tap water to public transportation seems to work so effortlessly well.
On that recent visit, I stopped — per personal tradition — in the courtyard of the Raffles Hotel to sip a Singapore Sling and read the notebook entry I’d penned in that very same courtyard on my first visit to Singapore three decades before: “I love the different neighborhoods here,” I’d written then. “There’s Little India, the Arab Quarter, and Chinatown — so many different, vibrant worlds in one. Every corner seems to yield a new, delightful surprise: street stalls serving delicious chicken rice, carrot cake, or laksa; incense-filled temples; a glorious, golden-domed mosque; used bookstores and antique shops full of treasures. Despite its compact size, the temptations of this city seem inexhaustible.”
Ah, I thought, savoring another sip of my Sling: The more things change, the more they stay the same.
Visit Singapore — and the marvels of Malaysia and Myanmar — on Voyage 5205: Round-trip Singapore – Mystical Malaysia & Myanmar.