An unusual city…An unusual experience…Surprising cost of owning a car in Singapore…Three days and counting.

The Chinatown Point mall contains more restaurants than apparel shops.

Singapore is unlike any city/country we visited in these past 44 months of world travel. For the enthusiastic shopper, food and wine aficionado, and avid tourist this location has it all.

Yesterday, we grabbed a taxi for the final trip to the Thailand Embassy to pick up our visa extensions. Two down, with one more to go in Hanoi. Arriving on time, we waited in a short queue on the sidewalk outside the official compound to all be let inside at 2:00 pm.

Most food items contain starches, sugar, and grains.

We didn’t wait long once inside. Singapore is known for short queues with little waiting time wherever one may go and we observed this as entirely true over these past few busy days.

Also, the traffic is light. The reason for fewer vehicles on the roads is due to  governmental regulations making car ownership beyond the financial realm of most residents.  

Of course, we stopped to eyeball the sweets. Tom didn’t order a thing. He’s always looking for donuts which few countries outside the US offer.

In order to limit vehicle ownership, the Singaporean government imposes fees and taxes in a successful attempt to keep their beautiful country clean, smog-free, and uncrowded on the roads. As a result, there’s little traffic even during peak hours.

Most residents and visitors use public transportation and reasonably priced taxis. Most of our trips to and from the embassies haven’t exceeded US $10, SGD $13.46. Tips aren’t expected and are refused when offered.

Taxi drivers have explained that only natural-born citizens of Singapore can acquire a license to drive a taxi and that the management of fares and services is strictly monitored by the government. 

Added to these realities is the uniform attention to detail, cleanliness, organization, and efficiency one can see in all areas of business. The citizens of Singapore are proud of their homeland and its evident in the smiles on their faces and their willingness to assist visitors in their pursuit of an extraordinary experience.

The displays with menu options are meant to whet the appetite.

Generally, we didn’t do much shopping but yesterday, we found ourselves at Chinatown Point, a relatively new indoor mall located in Chinatown. When we arrived, we expected there to be mostly tourists and visitors.

Instead, we found it filled with what appeared to be mostly local shoppers. Also, surprisingly, most of the shops in the huge mall were restaurants, bakeries, candy shops, and Asian health products shops with very few apparel shops as one would expect in a mall.

There are numerous malls packed with major brand and designer clothing, but Chinatown Point appears to be a mall specifically for the needs of the locals. We had a list of products we needed from a pharmacy and stopped to check out the grocery store to purchase some cheese and nuts for snacking.

There were a number of appealing sit down restaurants in Chinatown Point.

We were thrilled when we were able to find a shop similar to a traditional pharmacy (if there is such a thing) with over-the-counter products we needed, including such items as coconut oil, contact lens solutions, pro-biotics, Vitamin C, Vitamin b and such.

We found everything on our list, although the prices were twice as much as we’d paid in other countries. We walked out the door having spent US $200, SGD 269, not unlike we may have spent in the US, London or Paris.

Food, food, food, everywhere in Chinatown Point. Neither of us was hungry, so we decided to wait until dinner.

In the evening, we wandered the streets, enjoyed the scenery, and had dinner in a busy local Asian restaurant in Chinatown. Tom ordered sweet and sour pork with rice and I had steamed shrimp with veggies.  It was a good meal and reasonably priced.  We’ll continue to try different restaurants each day.

Many dishes are prepared with noodles.

This morning we had another fabulous breakfast at Tartufo Restaurant, next door to the hotel. As we write here now, we’re still stuffed and just may decide to just snack tonight on the nuts and cheese we purchased at the mall.

To our family and friends in the US, we pray you have a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July weekend. To everyone else, have a lovely few days off, if your schedule allows.

We’ll be flying to Hanoi in three days on to the next adventure!

Photo from one year ago today, July 3, 2015:

The flock of Cockatoos was busy foraging for food in Trinity Beach Australia. For more photos, please click here.