I have been away from home for almost 9 months.
Thanks to a recent business trip to Indonesia last week, I am able to transit in Singapore for a short while to see my family and friends back home. Goodness, Singapore has changed so much in the last 9 months! And it is good enough for me to fall in love with her once more.
The first difference I noticed is the large casino billboard on the wall at the airport arrival immigration hall. This is so different from the usual clean, good-city image that Singapore has been portraying for decades. I can feel the city is transforming.
Out at the taxi stand, there are so many types of taxi. Taxi now comes in all shapes and colours. They all look new, sparkling clean, sporty, spacious and comfortable. My cab driver was chatty throughout the trip. He actually mistook me as a Taiwanese as he said my Mandarin accent doesn’t sound local. (Haaa…wait till some one hears my son speaking Mandarin – Elkan struggled his Mandarin like an Ang Moh.)
On the way to my hotel, it was such an eye-opening journey. At the top of Singapore’s longest bridge “Benjamin Sheares Bridge”, it offers one a spectacular panoramic view of our city. You see some of our world record breakers here – the World’s largest outdoor swimming pool at the new Marina Sands Sky Park, the World’s largest Ferris Wheel – Singapore Flyer, and the World’s first double-helix bridge. I also saw the YOG Flame at the new Marina Reservoir Water Stadium (where Singapore is now hosting the 1st Youth Olympic Games). Not to mention the preparation works for our 3rd Night F1 Racing that will take place in September.
Kalinda and Meijie were my tour guide for the weekend. Without them, I will be lost for sure. Orchard has changed so much since my last visit. I feel it is finally back on the chart to re-reign its status of one of Asia Pacific’s best shopping districts! Other than the 2 infamous floods and sandbags, the quality of shopping, dining, entertainment are world class! Certainly, the pretty girls of Orchard are back too! (And there are so many Apple shops now!)
Despite the short weekend stay, I managed to revisit some of my favorite haunts – Parkway Parade, Tampines Mall and Katong. Thanks to Karen and Charlie, they brought me to Jalan Kayu (the famous roti-prata street) on my last night!
Well, it is an exciting home trip. I felt like a tourist! Maybe I should skip my Dubai or Cairo visit this year and bring the family home to Singapore for our Christmas holidays! We certainly need at least 5 good days to orientate ourselves back home!