Singapore

[ 3 ] June 28, 2012 |

Having spent the past four weeks with my nose in the books studying for the GMAT, our stopover in Singapore was primarily motivated by my test.  Singapore is one of a handful of places in South East Asia with a Pearson GMAT Testing Center.  Since our flight arrived late in the afternoon the day before my scheduled exam, after landing in Singapore we quickly grabbed our bags and made a b-line for our hotel.  Located in the heart of the central business district, the Orchid Hotel was thankfully a mere 5 min walk from the testing center.  We barely had time to check-in when no sooner were we on our way to the testing site to get a feel for what was going to be in store for me the next morning.  With the game plan set and a dry run checked off the list, we retired back to our hotel and I did my best to calm my nerves and get some rest.

Finger’s Crossed

The next morning, I woke early, got a quick breakfast, and made my way to the testing center.  I checked in, got the veins in my palm scanned for identification purposes – PalmSecure™ (iris scanners are so yesterdays technology apparently), and settled into my home for the next 4 hours.  The minutes flew by and next thing I knew I was starring at my automated score results.  Could this be?  Without revealing my specific score, lets just say I was pleasantly surprised and I won’t have to take the test again.  Hooray!

With that monster anxiety behind me – on to the fun stuff!  While we might have come to Singapore for the sole purpose of taking the GMAT, we certainly couldn’t let a sightseeing opportunity go to waste – but not until we do a little celebrating first!  Not really feeling like doing much post-test, I decided my treat would be to veg out a bit, go to a nice dinner, and catch up on some TV shows – pretty exciting I know.  Never the less, it was extremely satisfying turning my brain off for a while.

Party Time!

With an entire afternoon of doing nothing under our belts, we awoke the next morning refreshed and ready to take in the Singaporean sights.  Now I have to admit that I had a few preconceived notions about Singapore prior to arrival.  I’d heard about the extreme lengths they go to keep their country clean and pristine – i.e. no gum, extreme punishment for vandalism, etc.  That in mind, I thought the city would feel a bit austere and lack charisma.  Wow, was I (kinda) wrong.  Sure the city is the finance hub of South East Asia and with that comes an air of self-absorbed hustle bustle (like any large city perhaps).  However, all those seemingly draconian policies didn’t influence our tourist experience in the least.  “Controlled but Comforting” was the motto that seemed to emanate from the city surroundings.  I mean, who doesn’t like, or at least appreciate a clean city?

Now some site seeing – while brief, here are our three favorite highlights and our impressions:

Tourist Time

China Town

Unique to Singapore’s Chinatown is its architecture.  A city initially developed during the Victorian age, that British colonial architecture adds certain panache to this area of Singapore.   And while the area contains the typical hodgepodge of shops selling everything from monograms chopsticks to maneki-neko figurines, there was an unusual cleanliness and organization to the madness.  Absent were the “vibrant” smells wafting around every corner and I didn’t even see a single roasted duck (head included) hanging in a window ready for consumption.  And to be honest, I can’t say I minded the absence of these iconic china town experiences all that much.

Stepping off Metro into Chinatown

Streets of Chinatown

Chinatown Trinkets

Checking out Chinatown’s Rambutan

Chinatown Pagoda

Chinatown’s Victorian Influence

Little India

Color, and lots of it!  Singapore’s little India is most distinguished by its flamboyant use of color and ornamentation.  There is no missing this place.  While we didn’t spend all that much time here (lest I start going cross eyed), we did manage to find a great spot to taste some of this burrow’s local fair.

Color Color Everywhere

Streets of Little India

Marina Bay Waterfront

The area surrounding the Singapore’s Marina Bay is gorgeous.  Lined with a number of restaurants and bars it’s a great place to take in the architectural metropolis that is Singapore.  My favorite building of course is the triplicate towers of the Marina Bay Sands complex, topped by the iconic Sands Skypark.  It basically looks like a giant stainless steel vessel landed on top of the three towers – coolest best city park in the world!  Something straight out of the Jetsons.

Singapore Financial District

Marina Bay Waterfront

Waterfront Restaurants

Marina Bay Sands

Sands Skypark

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Category: Blog, Destinations, Featured Posts, Pat's Blog, Singapore

Comments (3)

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  1. Clint & Jeannie says:

    Congrats! We’re proud of and for you. Have missed your updates but knew you were fine (per Jan). Enjoy your travels, we think of your often,
    stay safe, and we’ll be awaiting your next news.

  2. Kate says:

    Aaron and I congratulate you on successfully completing your test! Not that there was ever any doubt. Whatever you decide to do in life, we think it should include a great deal of writing. You’re very good at it. Loving your blog!

  3. Stephanie Schiltz says:

    The rooftop park is really cool!

    Congratulations on your GMAT!! We miss you guys, and can only imagine what it would be like to celebrate the 4th of July in a communist country! I got behind on your blog, but I’m looking forward to reading through it and catching up! :)

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