Farewell to Asia, Singapore
Tuesday, 28 June 2011 01:32
DSC_0022I will tell the truth, once I faced with a world map I used to ignore the right part of it. Those places were nothing more than "far" to me. My eyes immediately used to move to the left on the map, I used to look at the countries on the west, their capitals, rivers. I used to dream about the lives over there and wanted to be there. Because the televisions, newspapers and the movies always showed and told us about there. Thus we dressed like them, eat like them even acted as we are member of them. Whereas we never became one of them, and can´t be. On the other hand the left side of the map never liked us so far as we liked them. Once we tried to visit they casted a damp over each time. When they kicked out from the door we went for getting inside from the chimney. We lined up at the visa queues, with tens of weird documents in our hands. As we succeed to get the visa we felt like looking cute to the officers at the borders to prove ourselves and let us in. After all sometimes we witnessed their "you-can not get in" phrases. We forgot we are Asians even Middle Easterns or we didn´t want to remember. We didn´t realize from which lands we came from and from where the sun rises up. First time I met with Asia in this trip and I noticed that I am an Asian. I regretted that I knew so late that the center of the world is these lands. The vividness of the life, its cultural richness, the intimacy of its people whom I liken to be a timid cat, made me fond of in every kilometer. We simply spent our 10 months of our travel in this land. And Singapore became the last point in Asia. I will tell the truth, I feel sad...

Considering the people´s comments that we met on the road who has been in Singapore I did not expect much from this small country or big city. But the situtaion was different. After visiting the country which is settled around the Singapure river and has a population of 6 million, we agreed on "such a country for living" including Kurtulus. Why? Let me tell...

DSC_0050After leaving from Gili islands of Lombok where we met our round the world trip´s most stunning sea, we took a flight to small country of island Singapore which is at the most end of Malay peninsula. Chinese being the majority, Singapore is hosting variety of ethnic people including Indians and Arabs. Thus many traces can be found regarding these cultures. In order to breathe the Chinese weather, "China town", to experience the clean version of India "little India", for a hookah bliss along with the Middle Eastern melodies "Kampong Glam" or in other words "Arab street" should be visited. Even there are several Turkish restaurants in this street. All people can speak English in mother tongue level in addition to their ethnic languages. It is convincing how they rule over both languages when seeing two Chinese speaking in English among each other. As there are different cultures it brings different religions. There are religions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Christian, Islam and more including their temples and shrines. This variety had reflected to the kitchen of course. Including Europe it is possible to find restaurants for every kind of cuisine but we were interested with the open air food markets which is conventional for Asia. Comparing to other food markets in other parts of Asia these food markets are much more clean and expensive. City is full of big parks and many people walk, jog or roller skate but I haven´t seen people doing barbecue, at least there were no the one I have been which is East Cost. Singapore is the most clean country I have ever been so far that it is prohibited to chew a gum because there is possibility to drop this gum and it may create a pollution by sticking on the ground. Thats why chewing gum is not sold in the markets. In fact I never see a chewing gum in streets of Turkey as it is impossible to see them under the sunflower seed shells, thus there are no regulations about chewing gums in my country I guess.

DSC_1011Since the country is on the intersection of flight and shipping routes there is a big and organized airport as well as a port. All these turned the country into a trade center. Whereever you look you can see the plazas but the city is so organized that these high buildings never makes feel stifling. One of plaza area is Marina Bay. The most interesting structure in this bay is a luxurious hotel called Marina Bay Sands which is designed by Moshe Safdie. The deck at the top of this building had already made this structure a signature architecture for Singapore. The deck is 191 metres above the ground and it owns the highest pool in the world which gives the possibility to swim against the city view of Singapore if you dare to swim in that high place and if you have strong budget. Because you even need to pay quite much for having a close glance at this hotel so I can not imagine for the lodging expenses to get into this pool. The big shopping mall at the down floors, casino and art gallerias around certainly makes here the most favourite place in Singapore. The most interesting part is this hotel area used to be a vacant place and an investor came and had this idea. Kidding of course. The water and light shows at this region reminded me the daily "Symphony of the Lights" show in Hong Kong.

DSC_0981Plazas, skyscrapers, luxurious shops... Singapore wanted to get away from this reputation last years so the city is trying to attract more artists by many art organizations. Esplanade region of Marina Bay is surrounded with theaters, art galleries and museums. Even the tube passes here are designed as an art gallery. If you want to listen a live piano performance in the evening it is enough to use the tube passes around here or if you want to listen an alternative rock concert at weekend you should just have a seat at the open air theater in Esplanade. All these things make the city vivid. I also want write about Singapore night life which I can call as crazy. Many Singaporeans and expats come to Clark Quay area to have food and drink in the restaurants and bars by the river. These fancy places host people who are potential to hang out in the clubs of the city until morning. And many clubs around this region serve those people who worked stressfully all week in their offices. Since we don't have an office life we haven't been to any clubs particularly club Zouk (or we have been, that is the question). The famous Turkish Maraş ice cream sold at Clark Quay proved me again the Turkish investors' attention on investment. It was not as good as real one though. There are much more places in the city which can be considered as center. A high budget is required in order to survive here. Orchard Road where the most famous dressing brand shops stand one next to other seems like its proof (Anyway I didn't know whether they were famous or not just heard from Kurtuluş, as he likes shopping).

As Singapore University is one of the most famous schools in the world there are also several campuses of other famous universities such as Chicago University and INSEAD where I have been. Yes, from now we will be visiting all the schools in the countries we have been and will have some discussions to improve the education system in Turkey. It would be nice but the purpose of my visit was just companying Kurtuluş in the school. After years I entered from the school door, thanks to Kurtuluş (damn).

DSC_0996While we were struggling with these things the time kept on passing and finally we came to the last moments of our trip's Asia leg. *Australia and New Zealand was on our route but considering the time, budget and the season we skipped the Oceania part and left it to another round the world trip (* this part will not be read by mothers, it is a joke indeed). We saw off Kurtuluş to Luxembourg from Changi airport (Kurt please next time don't buy your ticket just before sun rise) and 2 days later we came back to the same airport to take 777 which would take us to South America. After a very kind good bye of Singaporean police we passed to the other part of the line and our adventurous Asia trip has finished. I put the title of the article farewell to Asia but this is a temporary good bye, I want to say welcome Asia indeed...