Pix and Grids 5 – Singapore

Link to Singapore crossword puzzle

My first impression of Singapore was shocking:  the immigration agent who stamped my passport was chewing gum!  It turns out that gum-chewing is not illegal but buying and selling gum is.  Singaporeans craving some Wrigley’s must travel to Malaysia to score a pack.

Marina Bay Towers seen from the Gardens by the Bay
Street art, Haji Lane
Street art, Haji Lane

This tidbit came courtesy of our excellent tour guide, who knew not just the law – she’s a retired corporate lawyer, which immediately endeared her to me – but where she could surreptitiously bring us for spectacular views of the city (the rooftop terrace of the Hyatt Andaz, which wasn’t exactly open at the time); which is the most spectacular bar in Singapore (Atlas, ranked as the best bar in Asia and 7th best in the world); and what is the hippest street (Haji Lane in the Arab Quarter). 

Artscience Museum and Louis Vuitton store

In eight action-packed hours, our guide showed us her version of Singapore’s greatest hits, with frequent references to Crazy Rich Asians (evidently her favorite film of all time).  We started in the spectacular Marina Bay area, home to exciting architecture and super-chic stores.  Then we took a serene tram ride through the gorgeous Gardens by the Bay.  We wandered through old and new Chinatown, visiting a historical Taoist temple and the mammoth, recently built Buddha Tooth Relic Temple (fittingly, filled with gold leaf inlays). 

Inside Buddha Tooth Relic Temple
Inside Telok Ayer Market

Having built up an appetite, we ate lunch in the Telok Ayer Market, a warren of stalls selling Chinese, Thai, Indian, and Malaysian fare ranging from vegetarian noodles and dumplings to decidedly non-vegetarian Pig’s Organ Soup.  We finished our tour in the Arab Quarter, where lanes lined with Turkish and Lebanese restaurants, coffee shops (including one advertising Selfie Coffee: “We Print Your Favorite Foto Direct on Top of Coffee”), craft stores, bakeries, perfumeries, and vibrant murals radiate from the magnificent Sultan Mosque.

Sultan Mosque and the Arab Quarter
Street scene, Arab Quarter

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