We spend the day taking trains and visiting our old haunts at Holland Village. When we were fresh expats here we were instructed to go to Holland Village to get our necessary electronics gadgets etc. at a place called Paris Silk. I was not only amazed to see it still there after all these years, but instantly recognized the guy behind the counter from all those years ago…. still flogging cameras, cables and (now in a different store|) appliances. In fact he was selling this crazy contraption…
It hadn’t changed all that much. The ram shackle little wooden moasque was still in the parking lot
Singapore back in the day was a place where the grocery store was largely where you would find westerners. Locals either did no cooking at home and ate at the plethora of hawker stalls and restaurants peppered about the place, or shopped at the “wet market” These wet markets were truly amazing places for the new comer to these Asian climes. Much like a farmers market at home they sold all manner of fresh veg. fruits, meat and fish. The variety of comestibles at these places was mind boggling. For example, you could buy black chickens. Literally black as the ace of spades. At the Holland village wet market there was often a guy selling beef lung. he had a big butcher block, and on it would be the lung from a cow, all wet and glistening. He would blow it up every now and then to keep it fresh and in view, and you could would just chop off some into a bag if you were hell bent on a feed of lung for dinner.
Sadly, the wet market, while not entirely gone in Holland Village, is now a antiseptic and truncated version of it’s former self. It now sells mostly fish, is a quarter of the size and smells like bleach. The most astounding thing about the wet market, st least for me, was the smell…. especially late in the day. You can imagine having all that meat and fish out in the 90+ degree heat all day…. by late afternoon the air was ripe… Anyway, now its a fish market with stainless steel stalls, and a food court.
We got down there by taking the very superb Singapore mas transit trains. Largely underground, this system is clean, cheap and extremely efficient. These guys know how to move people around. They run the best airline in the world, and as far as my limited experience with such things extends…. a pretty darn good subway.
They sure do like the buildings in this town. Given half a chance they will erect the sort of buildings you might read about, but rarely see…. for example this one – executed in stainless to resemble a giant tree:
Getting around in Singapore is an easy bit of business. You can take the subway as I have described above, or take a bus, taxi (cheap and plentiful) or buy a car. If you buy a car get ready for serious sticker shock. The government of Singapore decides each year how many cars will be allowed on the road. It is a brilliant scheme designed to control traffic congestion. They control this by limiting the number of vehicle registrations that can be purchased, and by auctioning off those that are. Thus the price can be frightening. See the photo form today’s paper for the prices for a Certificate Of Entitlement that will let you then go buy a car. This price is for 10 years of registration for the car. after ten years the car MUST come off the road. They mostly go to Malaysia for Indonesia, but they cannot go back on the road in Singapore. Add this to the price of a car (take the price in Canada and multiply by three if you are lucky) and driving gets expensive in a hurry.
Shirley has come down with plague, so our travels today may be restricted until she feels up to the task.