I have written about my trip to China before. I have talked about Chinese tea and being chased by monkeys. I haven’t mentioned that this two week trip also included a visit to Singapore. When they told me about a visit to Singapore, I didn’t have a good feel for where that was in relationship to Hong Kong or any of the places we were visiting in China. In my mind I had it lumped in with China. As the trip grew closer, began to study the geography of Southeast Asia more closely.
When you find Singapore on the map, looks like it should be a part of Malaysia. Singapore is both a city and a state on the tip of a peninsula that includes part of Malaysia and Thailand. Cambodia and Vietnam are also very close. It is about a 4 hour flight from Hong Kong.
Our trip started with our arrival in Hong Kong. We spent the night at the hotel in the airport. We woke up the next morning to catch our next flight to Singapore. I was able to get a reasonable amount of sleep at the hotel and on the flights but I was still suffering from a little bit of jet lag.
Before the trip, I talked to several people who had visited China. They had all given me advice on how to pack, Chinese business etiquette, and food. I wasn’t that concerned and didn’t really have any problems with food during any portion of the trip. For most of the meals, there was enough variety that I could find something to eat. The first meal in Singapore was a steak that wasn’t that much different from what I would have expected at a restaurant in the United States. No one warned me about anything that shouldn’t eat. They did warn me about drinking. I was told not to drink the water. They said that I shouldn’t even drink a soft drink with ice in it. I would be ok to drink a soft drink from a can but the water was so bad that you didn’t even want to go near the ice. During the trip I regularly used bottled water when I was brushing my teeth.
We had one day of business in Singapore. At lunch, they took us to the restaurant at the Singapore Yacht Club. This was the first meal I at that had a real Asian feel to it. I followed everyone else’s lead and ordered a bento box. I ordered a Coke with no ice so I had successfully avoided the local water. I know that Singapore is not China but I wasn’t making any distinctions on this trip. I wanted to avoid any problems with my digestive system at all costs. No water, no ice. When we were done with the meal, they asked if wanted dessert. I wasn’t really in the mood but it seemed like they really wanted us to try this local treat called kachang. If you do a search for this, you will see that it is commonly called ice kachang. They brought each of us this parfait glass filled primarily with ice. Yes, ice that I was trying to avoid. There were other things in the glass that didn’t help out. There was chocolate syrup and some sort of green jelly substance. There were also red beans and kernels of corn. There was something that looked like bean sprouts in the glass. I don’t remember what else it had in it. It came with a straw so I assumed that you were supposed to try and suck these beans and pieces of corn up the straw. The whole thing just looked unappealing. I did eat/drink some of this stuff but not all of it. I didn’t feel very good for a couple of days either. I never felt like I needed any medication. I could have just been the thought of what I had consumed.
I enjoyed the short time that I spent in Singapore. It’s one of those places that I think I would enjoy going on vacation. But I don’t think I would ever want to try ice kachang in Singapore or anywhere else.
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