Heading into my fifth day here in Singapore I figured I'd let you in on the top five culture shock surprises I've experienced in this short and very jet lagged time I have been here.
5. I don't think the people of Singapore eat breakfast or know what it is. Being a HUGE breakfast enthusiast, this has been troubling. Del and I spent close to an hour walking around the shopping areas by the hotel in the 95% humidity trying to find some semblance of breakfast food with no luck. We ended up getting a box of granola bars at a drug store. Each day I think we will find somewhere for breakfast and we never do. Our hotel offers an "American Breakfast" which is a buffet for S$19.00 that includes Lo Mein noodles, seasoned potato wedges, salad, baked beans, and your choice of organge or apple juice. Yes, obviously they have a complete handle on what an American breakfast is.
4. The subway system here ROCKS. It is so unbelieveably clean, you could literally eat off of the floor. And I lived in New York, so trust me when I say I'd be completely mortified for the people of Singapore to see THAT kind of subway. The platforms are enclosed so you don't feel like some pyscho is gonna push you into the tracks. There is not a bum or random "artist" begging for money to be found. It's very easy to find the train and direction you are looking for and the escalators are lightning speed fast. It's very cool.
3. The prices of alcohol would make your jaw drop. Thank goodness we got a bottle of Belvedere and a bottle of Jim Beam at duty free! It's the only thing we'll be drinking for a year. A bottle of Jack Daniels here? Sure! That'll be $108. Absolut? Why not! That'll be $135. Yikes! And when you go out it's no better. Try $50 for a bucket of 5 beers. And that was a "special." Looks like I'll be having a very sober year.
2. Restaraunt service is bizarre. A server won't come up to you until you go and get one and then they are less then enthused. Then they bring each drink and entree randomly at different times. Plus, the other day, we were brought our check and asked to pay before we had received our food. Also, the gratuity is always included but it's usually like 7% so the waiters and waitresses won't come back with your change unless you track them down, hoping you'll forget or just get annoyed and leave.
1. The term, "No butts, no cuts, no coconuts," has definitely not been spread around the schoolyard here. I wondered on the first day why there are signs everywhere that say "Please wait in Que." I was thinking that was obvious when you are purchasing groceries, or waiting for your subway pass. I quickly learned waiting in line is not a concept that's widely respected in Singapore. It's normal to have someone completely walk in front of you while you are waiting patiently in a line and get service before you. They aren't being rude, it's just their culture. It's actually fascinating and surprises me everytime I see it.
I'm so sleepy so I will leave you with that for now :)