Singapore was my first city of the Asian leg of the trip. Having realised that this is my fourth continent in five weeks, I guess even Mr. Fogg would have been really impressed with my accomplishment. I don't think by this time he had made it that far and not even that it had been that diverse either!
Anyway, my body finally started to adjust to the time zone, but I had forgotten completely how humid this part of the world is. And to be fair, this is not even the worst and hottest time of the year!
I had heard so much about Singapore, that I was actually very curious to come here! This is a place that was always considered a very modern city and a reference for many around Asia but that I hadn't been before, well, I guess, until now. I have to confess, this was not my first time in Asia, as a matter of fact, I actually grew up around this side of the world, to be more precise, in Macao (but I'll come to that further on).
Singapore was everything that I had heard of, and still it managed to surprise and impress me. I guess I wasn't expecting it to be such a multi-cultural city and that so many different cultures, people and religions lived in such harmony.
Torrance, an architect at FARM I met from Singapore, had an explanation for this: it all came down to food. Singaporeans loved each others food and they learnt to respect each other because of that. Well, if this was a place where food and people were so connected I had to sink into the culture. As I had mention before, I'm really inspired by people, and I believe that food can tell us a lot about a culture. So, with such great guides here (I have to make a note here and thank the guides I had throughout the week: Torrance Goh, Tan MingYin, Hsiu Yen Ho, Laura Suff, Eirini Theodorou and Pontus Hammarback) and knowing that I was willing to try the local food I was taken to get some inspiration for my taste buds. Those few days it was a real feast! I don't remember having had such a meal with so many different countries dishes on the same table: Indian, Malay, Chinese, etc.
The great thing is that in search of different tastes you always end up exploring various parts of the city. Torrance and Laura, later on, took me to Little India. In here, not that I would know much about India, but you feel that you are in a different city. In addition, all the lights for the Deepavali, the Festival of Light were on, even though it is only on the 26th October. As a city where all religions seem to coexist, this Festival is appreciated by everyone and you can see that from all the people that were walking around this area, turning this into a really vibrant and hectic part of town. Not only that, it is a real sensorial experience: it is a mixture of scents with all the flowers for the Festival, the spices and food, the vibrancy and flamboyancy of colours and shapes and sounds. This was quite inspiring, I have to say, not only for the lights but more for the cultural experience and the contrasts in this city. This was quite special!