My wife and I visited her parents in Jakarta, Indonesia, and we took the short flight to Singapore for about four days.
Since it was my first time visiting Asia (other than movies and Google image searches), I noticed the differences between Jakarta and Singapore right away. Singapore was somewhat cooler, though still very warm, and less humid. There was MUCH less pollution. Everything about the city was neat, clean, and organized. Jakarta, by contrast was dirty, hot, and very humid. Maybe that’s why people like the malls so much (see my previous post).
For those of you who don’t know the history (I’m no expert myself), Jakarta was ruled by the Dutch for 300 years until World War II. Singapore was controlled by the British for 140 years ending in 1963. While the Singapore government seems to have built on the British model and become even more rigid and strict, the Indonesians seem to have gone the opposite direction in some respects. Indonesia is a very rich country in resources, but poorly developed. I could clearly see where the Dutch developed areas of Jakarta ended and the wild, urban tangle of narrow streets began. There seems to be no rhyme or reason, and no city planning at all, in the placement of buildings and streets.
But back to Singapore…
I’m going to include a few shots I took through the glass of our hotel room window. I did use a tripod to compensate for slow shutter speeds, but the window glass degrades the image quality somewhat. Also, I took these pictures before I understood the true value of shooting in RAW format, so there was only so much adjusting I could do with them.
One afternoon while my wife and her parents were napping, I decided to take a walk alone to explore a nearby park that I saw on the map.
I believe the place I explored was the Fort Canning Service Reservoir. I was just looking on Google Maps, trying to figure out where this was. Using the “street view” I can see the hotel where we stayed and the skywalk I used to cross the busy Hill St.
As I was walking near the reservoir itself I came across this sign. Just in case you don’t understand any of the seven or so languages on the sign, there is a picture to tell what will happen if you trespass!
I never saw the guys with guns because I stayed on the tourist walking path, and so I never became the guy with his hands in the air.
This is a snapshot I grabbed on Orchard Road. It felt really weird to me to see Christmas decorations all over the street when the temperature was in the high 80’s.
These aren’t real huts. It’s a stage they use for a really cool light show where they reflect lights on giant sprays of water.
I like this shot because it combines the traditional and the modern: huts and the cargo ships in the background.
I enjoyed our time in Singapore and I wouldn’t mind going back someday. I’ll leave you with this last photo. I took this from a tower on Sentosa Island. I was amazed how many ships were waiting to enter the harbor! Those approaching dark clouds made it that much more dramatic. It reminds me of that scene from the movie Troy when all the ships were showing up from the horizon.