Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Culture Shocked...or Acclimatized?

Two months into my trip I explained my "culture shock"--the things I love, the things I don't, about Singapore. Time here is flying like the wind; just two and a half months left in the city. While there are things I miss about home, here are a few I won't want to leave behind...

  • Fresh, sweet, tropical fruit: Whenever you want it, at every food court, as fresh fruit, cut fruit, juice or milkshakes. It really would be a great business idea; set up those food courts at home. Our food courts have one choice; grease. With the trend towards healthy eating in North America, I think it could work!
  • Authentic Thai food: The one food I will miss...we'll see how the restaurants back home compare to the amazingly spicy veggie food that the Thais cook.
  • Singapore's location: proximity to so many countries I wouldn't have thought of as typical holiday places before my trip (Cambodia,Thailand, Laos, Hong Kong). Beautiful Malaysian islands, Indonesia, and the Philippines add to the list.
  • Friends!: I've met so many people so far, locals and Europeans that I know it'll be hard to leave. It's great how many exchange students you can meet at one event. When I'm in Europe (hopefully really really soon!), I'll visit you all :-)

Things I miss...

Ok, so I've gotten used to paying double for my cappuccinos, swallowing a bit of greasy hawker veggies and getting hardly any customer service at all in most venues, but what do I miss most about the Western world?

  • Food (still on the list): No, I have not gotten used to the local Chinese and Malay food, likely because there are very few veggies. Yes, I still want to be able to find Italian food easily for a decent price, be able to have a veggie option on every menu. I have, however, eaten more Indian food here than in the whole of my life...quite funny actually!
  • People that walk at a semi-normal pace: Notice, I did not say 'normal'. Everyone that knows me, knows I like to walk fast. It's easier to get places that way! Here, they CRAWL. Not kidding. Soooooo slow. Painful, actually. What's a bit more annoying is that (even though they drive on the left), they don't walk on the left. Or, on the right. Just randomly, anywhere, right, left, middle, weaving...even in organized places, like the escalator in the train station. At first I thought it was my own, fast-walking self that was overreacting, but I've confirmed this with many other foreigners; they need to sort it out and speed it up!
  • Recycling!! Despite Singapore's anti-litter campaigns and horribly strict where to eat/drink/smoke rules, the country does NOT recycle. It is so difficult to find a recycle bin. I believe I've seen TWO since I've been here. In addition to this, they feel the need to give you two or three bags for everything you buy, or every take-away meal you get (even if it comes in a box!). I've got the most quizzical looks from vendors after asking they don't give me a bag. For a clean country, they need to waste less!
  • All of you back home... Miss ya tons...we're going for a real, Italian, decent-priced cappuccino at La Pasta at the UofA as soon as I get home (atm, may be early August)! Anyone that's there...tell them "Cappuccino Girl" misses them!

Ok, enough complaints...but really, quite reduced if you check my September entry. At any rate, Sean and I are heading to Hong Kong in 3 days, so I'm likely to be off Blogger for about a week. Will post pics before I go though, so sorry to anyone that's checking my flickr...I'll post more soon!

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