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20 March 2011

Things That I Don't Miss About Singapore (But Only a Little Bit)

I previously wrote about some of the things I've been missing about Singapore whilst I've been back in the UK.  It only seems fair that I now write about some of the things I've not been missing quite so much.

Weather

As much as I like the weather in Singapore it is also something that at times I dislike just the same.  I know that sounds mad but when everyday is more or less the same, very hot and very humid, it can get a bit exhausting.  I sometimes actually long for half an hour or so of snow, though if it happened the novelty would quickly wear off.  I don't think you ever get used to the intensity of the heat and humidity you just learn to live with it and adapt to it, or at least I think I have over time.  Prior to my return to the UK Singapore was experiencing (by their standards) a relatively cool spell, so much so that locals were complaining it was cold!  Please come to the UK in January and February, that's cold.  I gather now though that this has passed so now that my return is imminent I need to prepare myself for that hit again as soon as I step out of the airport. 

I never thought about it prior to moving to Singapore but I do miss the seasons.  Having returned to the UK at the end of January I really am appreciating the signs of Spring I'm now seeing and the milder weather.  I find a lack of seasons makes it difficult to appreciate yearly events, particularly those I associate with cold weather.  They just seem to come and go with me barely noticing them now.  Halloween in the heat seemed weird, Bonfire Night (admittedly that obviously isn't celebrated here but the 5 November should have been cold) and as for Christmas, well I got there but it took some work.  I'm sure it will be easier next time around though.

Food

Actually I don't have anything bad to say about the food.  The only nice thing about being in the UK is not having to be so bone aware!  By that I mean knowing I can enjoy a meal without having to remember to look out for the bones.  It took me a while to get into that mindset when I came to Singapore and even now I occasionally forget only remembering when the bones appear.  I suspect with my brief sojourn in the UK I'll be out of practice again.

Wildlife

I can only really list the mosquitoes and cockroaches here, I'm not even sure if you could really say that's wildlife.  It's nice not being bitten (though I admit my worst experiences have actually been in Thailand rather than Singapore) and nice not having to do battle with a massive cockroach that has decided to take up residence on our balcony.  Actually can I also add beetles to this list?  I know you get beetles in the UK (and for that matter cockroaches) but there are some big ones out in Singapore which again seem to be drawn to our balcony at the most inconvenient times.

Taxis

Taxis in Singapore are a god send for escaping from the heat as much as for taking you to places but can be a nightmare too.  There are plenty of taxi ranks and you can flag taxis down in most parts of the city, but that does not mean they'll stop (even when they are 'on call') or will be prepared to take you to your destination.  I've spoken to many expats and locals who feel exactly the same and have even read about their reputation in travel guides so I'm sure I'm not alone in this frustration.  Taxis will suddenly be 'on call' when you are trying to flag them down, if you are queueing in a rank will ask you where you want to go and then decline to take you.  Shift change is another issue, every taxi you see will be on a shift change going to the opposite end of the island and even those going in the direction you are will pick and choose if they want to take you.  You can telephone for taxis as well but are sometimes not much better off as you can be left hanging on for ages only to be told there are no taxis available in your area.  I would not even bother trying to get one when it's raining, but well that can be said of anywhere as suddenly everyone wants a taxi then.

I should say there are plenty of brilliant taxi drivers out there too who are only too keen to help you.  It is the few who make it very frustrating but I guess you find taxi drivers who behave like this all over the world.

MRT Etiquette

Unless I've missed it there does not seem to be any one agreed side of the escalator to stand on whilst on the MRT (or indeed anywhere where escalators are involved).  This is slightly frustrating especially if you are in a rush as you then have to navigate around the people in your way who are standing all over the escalators.  Travelling on the tube again has therefore been a pleasure in that the majority know you stand on the right and pass on the left.  Although I admit that on every return trip to the UK I have to refresh my memory as to which side I should stand after the free for all of Singapore!  As for when I'm using an escalator on the MRT I tend to stand on the same side as the person in front of me, be that to the left or the right - so perhaps I'm no better!

The other problem with the MRT, everyone bundles on without letting people off first.  My recent tube journeys have again generally been a pleasure, everyone knows this rule and anyone forgetting usually gets a blunt reminder from someone getting off.  Recently there was a courtesy campaign on the MRT reminding people to let others off before they got on, to move down into the carriages etc. etc. well it did not last long and in the main it did not seem to make any difference.  I actually find it highly entertaining how passengers manoeuvre themselves into position to be first on or first off even if they are at the back of a large crowd.  What amuses me even more is that no one ever seems to ask them to wait before rushing on to the train.  I sometimes wonder how they'd fair on a rush hour tube train and the answer, I think, is not too well, there are plenty of people in London who would happily point out to them the error of their ways.

Despite all this though, as I said in my previous post, I have missed Singapore and am looking forward to returning.  Let's face it there is plenty I can moan about and likewise sing the praises of about life in the UK!  You can read about some of the things I have missed about Singapore whilst I've been away here. 

4 comments:

  1. It's funny...before I saw your post, I wrote a post about the lack of weather here and how it's screwing with me!

    I wouldn't miss the giant ass flying roaches either!

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's a good way to describe it 'a lack of weather' that just about sums it up!

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  3. You've hit on the one thing that really drives my husband nuts. There is no SIDE when walking in the malls/stores or escalators. And I keep teaching my children, let the people on the elevator off and let the people trying to get out the door out. Thank you Singapore, for undoing my job. LOL

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