There's a sense here of the familiar and the unfamiliar. The signs are in the four official languages - English, Malay, Mandarin and Tamil. In addition to places like St. James Power Station and Clarke Quay, there's a subway stop named Dhoby Talao. The temple in Little India resembles the Asthika Samaj temple in Matunga and I eat better South Indian food in my weekend here than I did in three years in Seattle.
On the metro, there's a girl with Asian features. She's dressed in standard Malaysian headgear. Yet she has mehndi on her hands. Everywhere, there's people with distinctly South Asian features dressed in clothing I associate more with the Asians I see in visuals from Hong Kong or Japan. Add hair with highlights, and the incongruity is complete.
The strict government here is purportedly scary. But honestly, most of suburban US looks more organized and clean. Nothing here's dirty, but the city looks lived-in. Everything's spotless in a natural and organic manner, not as if anyone's taking a real effort. Which adds to its charm.
And yes, this is what a tropical metropolis looks like. Shorts, flip-flops and summer wear all year long. Umbrellas and jackets for the rain? Maybe. Mostly not.
On my taxi ride back to the airport as I head back to Seattle, I'm shaken out of my reverie as Seattle local favorites Death Cab for Cutie play on the radio. I will follow you into the dark. Fitting.
Also, I get sunburned over a cloudy Singapore weekend - something six US summers couldn't accomplish.
I jotted down quick thoughts on my flight out from Singapore two weeks back. Fleshing these even into this stream-of-consciousness post has taken a while.