(Almost) 4 years later, watching a video of my “first impressions” of Singapore

I was reviewing some of my first blog posts when I stumbled upon this gem of a video.

Text of the video is italicized, my reactions to watching this 4 years later are in bold.

So I’m at, like, one of the 8 million shopping malls on Orchard Road called ION Orchard. I-O-N Ion Orchard.

ION Orchard is a cheesy name.  I thought it then, and I still think so.  I didn’t know, though, that it was the newest mall on Orchard Road at the time, predating us by only a few short months.  Because it was there when we arrived, it seems like something that has always been there (even though there is next to nothing in Singapore that has “always” been anywhere).  Orchard Road is a ridiculous wall to wall road of malls. 

I think at the time I expected to spend a lot of time on Orchard Road.  The guidebook touted it as a major thoroughfare and shopping mecca.  It is, although it’s more like 5th avenue than a bunch of suburban malls strung together.  I suppose in our early days, I did spend a lot of time there, too, because I was too new to Singapore to know anywhere else to go.  Four years later I almost never go to Orchard Road–once every few months, and usually for some very specific reason. 

I’m just showing you guys some of the cool stuff there are.  Um, there are these little jumping fountains which are a hit with little kids, or were a few minutes ago, now people seem to be packing up. 

Those are super lame.  No one wastes time with those.  For fountains I can name 5-10 better mall related options without thinking.

These are the underpasses because this is the road and there is no crossing here.  But I’m following signs that say there’s an accessible street crossing in 110 meters, so fingers crossed.

I was actually really nervous about that.  I didn’t have any experience with taking my stroller on escalators (something you’ll need to get over really fast in Singapore or you’ll never get anywhere).  I know well that crosswalk now, but I’d never bother to use it anymore.

So far Singapore is very, very, very pretty.

Yes, it is.

It’s very clean, but I guess that’s what happens when there are major fees if you, uh, litter. 

And when you pay an army of people to sweep sidewalks, water plants if there hasn’t been enough rain, and other assorted tasks.  I don’t really credit the fines with that, though.  I’ve also been in Singapore long enough to have seen plenty of litter.  But the difference between Singapore and Boston/New York in terms of cleanliness is so dramatic that you don’t see the litter at first.

What really amazes me (you’re probably not going to be able to see it because of the glare) we can see it just fine is just how green the city is.  You have all these skyscrapers, y’know, all these stereotypical urban elements.  Then there’s just greenery everywhere.  There’s flowers everywhere on all the sides of the road driving here.  There are all these trees.  There’s just all this green space. 

Credit where it’s due.  Singapore is a gorgeously green city.  This is something that always strikes me when we leave it.  I’m sort of taken aback at how spartan and colorless other cities seem.  This was before I’d even see any of the true green spaces in Singapore.

And then there’s also all this public art.  One of the examples I was filming at the beginning was half a pear where you can see the pitt, but there’s a lot of that type of art.  And you saw it at the airport, and you see it in the subways.

I’m sadly mostly oblivious to this now.  Although when I was listening to myself talk, I did realize that we do have so much, and I take it completely for granted.

It’s just kind of interesting because I don’t know that I can compare that to anywhere I’ve been in the world where it’s this green, this much art, and quite frankly this orderly. It’s almost kind of creepy.  The subways are really, really quiet.  Which, having lived in Boston and New York, I definitely find more than a little creepy.  But um, y’know, we’ll see.

Again, this isn’t so much that Singapore is quiet or orderly…it just seems like that having just come from New York the day before by comparison.  However, Singapore doesn’t have the subway platform entertainers, or the people who harass you on the subway about going to hell, or that guy blasting music so loud that everyone in the car can hear it. 

I think the other reason I found Singapore so quiet and orderly was that the typical urban background noise–sirens, honking horns, etc are all largely missing here. 

Elanor is with me.  She is fast asleep.  Totally jetlagged.  No idea what time it is for her.

Jet lagged toddlers suck.  It was true then and it’s true now.  It would suck for me far more in about 10 hours time when Ellie woke up and wanted to party and I was deliriously desperate to go back to sleep.  Ravi and I opened my laptop, fired up iTunes and put on episodes of Sesame Street.  She would be quiet for the duration of one and then start crying.  One of us (we took turns) would get up and put on the next. 

And this is our loaner stroller from the hotel because our stroller decided it wanted to stay at JFK and not come with us.  But hopefully Singapore Air will find it, and we will have our stroller back in a day or so.

We did the next day or so. NBD.
So these are just some first impressions of Singapore.  Bye guys.

Several things strike me as I watch this.  Firstly that I, myself, am so jetlagged that I created the most boring video ever, standing at the corner of Orchard and Patterson Rd and just sort of looking around there.  Secondly, exactly how lost and new it all was that day-my first visit to Orchard Road, and how much all of what I’m looking at is stuff I’m oblivious to, as I drive past ION every day.  Finally I’m struck by how little I know about what I’m looking at (understandably, but kind of shocking to me now).

I think I may do some more of these looking back/how I’ve changed posts here and there.  Hope you enjoyed this blast from the past almost as much as I did.

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