Day 417 of Traveling the World, Republic of Singapore. March 25, 2019.

Spotless. Immaculate. Clean-clean. City pride. When we first visited Singapore three years ago, we read that Singapore didn’t strive to be a city with gardens; rather, it wanted to be a garden that happened to have a city within it. They are succeeding! There are trees and flowers everywhere, along with botanic gardens, a fabulous orchid garden, gardens by the bay, and 75, yes, 75 parks! It is small, but vibrant. The Economist magazine refers to Singapore as the world’s only functioning city-state. One out of every six Singaporeans is a millionaire. It is forbidden to bring into the country both chewing gum and cigarettes. Vehicles pay a toll for every mile driven here, so as to encourage use of public transportation. We have ridden the subway several times, and it shines. You can eat off of the floors. No graffiti, as you will be fined and/or jailed. Ditto for every infraction against society. It feels very safe and very welcoming.

Due to its small size, Singapore tries to limit vehicles so as to ease both congestion and pollution. You must first obtain a Certificate of Entitlement before purchasing a vehicle. The wait for approval to purchase can be up to 10 years, and the cost of the certificate ranges from $49,000 to $100,000. As you can see, it is good and necessary to be a millionaire in Singapore!

On to the photos! The first three were taken from our hotel room…Singapore at night is quite vivacious and pretty. The sparkles in the sky in the second photo are the sky pods of the sky ride, floating along on their cables, and going straight into a skyscraper, as you can see in the fourth photo. We had seen the ride going through a building last time we were here, and watched it again the other day from the ground. So we had to give it a whirl. It was very fun, and is quite the system, as your ticket covers two different rides in different directions. Buying tickets online is the way to go, as it was $10 cheaper ($16 vs $26). It took us to Sentosa Island, which also includes Siloso Beach, the pretty beach in the photos. And a Merlion statue is also over there, long the symbol of Singapore, but it is much smaller than the one in the harbor. Merlion means a sea lion…the body of a fish and the head of a lion, and the name Singapore means Lion City, so the Merlion symbolizes the importance of water and the harbor to Lion City. In many of the photos you will see a host of boats just sitting out in the harbor. Since Singapore is one of the busiest ports on the planet, they are waiting their turn to load and offload.

After that are some whimsical photos that we took at Suntec City mall and around the city. Cheese tea?? And us, believe it or not, our hotel, the Conrad Hilton, has an ice cream bar in the morning at breakfast…six flavors!! And a signature of the Conrad is that you are given a free rubber ducky to play with in the bath and a free stuffed bear to cuddle at night. Now, the last two photos had us laughing so hard we could hardly breathe. They are photos of the public toilet…and it’s command center….in the hotel. For sure, this was hilarity at its best. When you enter the single-user restroom and approach the toilet, the lid slowly rises. Startled, my first instinct was to look around to see who was in the room with me! And, the seat is heated…it felt like someone had just finished using it. Mike was getting ready to use it when the lid started to lower on him! A disaster was averted when he grabbed the lid and pushed it up again! THEN came the trauma of….how do I flush??? There is no flush handle. Do you see the blue buttons on the toilet? We both thought that one of them would flush the toilet, but after hitting each one multiple times, not really! So, then, how do we do it? On the wall next to us was the command center (for a toilet, no less), but we couldn’t read the commands without glasses! So we each whipped out our reading glasses (thank God they were in our pockets!), but even then, had a hard time figuring it all out. Along the side, it says…STOP, REAR/SOFT, FRONT/WIDE, PRESSURE ( – or + ), POSITION (🔺 🔻), USER ( 1 2). Wow! Really? What the heck is all that?? Our imaginations ran wild. Then, along the top, it says FLUSH (but pushing it did nothing), OSCILLATE, PULSATE, DRYER, and an unfamiliar, unrecognizable symbol (NOT the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, though). What is all that??? Thoroughly befuddled, I just started hitting every button. Nothing. Then I hit all over the command center, and something caused it to flush, and my relief was immense, but with the relief came another hysterical bout of laughter. When Mike and I told each other of our individual experiences with using and flushing the toilet, we had had the exact same experience, and then laughed until we cried. Who knew the bathroom could be so hysterically funny??!?