Tuesday, June 22
"Made in Singapore." Throughout your whole life, you've seen those three words stamped on many a product. I'm finally here! But I haven't seen any smokey factories belching out all of that stuff. Maybe they're hidden underneath the neatly swept and polished surface. Singapore is a small and tidy island / city / nation that measures only roughly 12 x 24 miles. It's highly Westernized, ultra-modern, and as far as diners and shoppers are concerned, it can easily compete with any city on the globe.
The airport looked very fence post modern and dope. The authorities are so paranoid and safety-conscious, they x-rayed my backpack on the way out of the airport. I'm not making that up! I rode the smooth and efficient (like everything else here) train over to the Little India district, where I rented a bunk bed in a dorm room at the Inn Crowd, a trendy hostel that caters to backpackers. It has a chill out area with bean bags, couches, a TV, DVD player, Wii console, kitchen, laundry free internet and a free small breakfast. At $15 per night, it's two or three times more expensive than a private room in Indonesia, but it's worth it for all of the extras.
After a short nap up in the oven-hot dorm rooms (where air conditioning is only on after 7:00 p.m.) I took a stroll down the street to Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple (Try to say that slow even one time!), which is dedicated to the Indian goddess Kali. The place was filled with the calming smell of incense, intricate shrines and people assembling offerings of fruit and prayer.
A bit further down the road, I encountered Sakaya Muni Buddha Gaya Temple, also known as the Temple of 1000 Lights. This place is also home to highly detailed statues and carvings of Buddha enshrined behind glass. After I shot a few photos, I sat on the front steps to rest when a Buddhist monk began beating a drum. By the time I thought to shoot a photo or video clip, he stopped, which was a shame, because when I looked, I discovered he had to climb up on a ladder to beat the big, ornate drum with a mallet. That would have made a really nice photo!