The Fullerton Hotel

I’m still marveling at yesterday’s outing from Lau Pa Sat to Marina Bay to the Esplanade to the Fullerton Hotel to Little India. In the span of eight hours the day was filled with one surprise after another, including the Fullerton Hotel (above). This place is exquisite. From the outside it looks established, colonial, presidential, maybe stuffy. But on the inside it’s like slicing open a papaya with juicy hues of orange and red and perfect accents of black throughout. I could have sat and sipped cocktails into the evening and never tired of drinking in the Fullerton’s grandeur and sumptuousness from our cozy little love seat in the lounge.

Sitting on the love seat I stopped and wondered, where have I been while a city like THIS has been developing? Why have I not been here before?  Why am I so surprised by Singapore’s remarkable development and cosmopolitan spirit? When did the party start and why am I so late? After some thought, I chalked it up to two things: myths and travel agents (and the combination of both).

Myths: Ask anyone in the US about Singapore and nearly all of them will say something about spitting or chewing gum. You can’t spit there. You can’t even chew gum there. It’s very strict. In other words, why would you want to go there? It seems like a lot of us, myself included, have been carrying around this misconception for years. You CAN chew gum here. (Only the importation of it is controlled.) Just don’t litter or yes, you could be fined. But would you really rather step in gum? And yes, you can be fined for spitting too. There is definitely censorship and harsh punishment here for serious offenses too, but generally speaking the laws here have resulted in a very safe, clean city that’s easy to enjoy if you’re a law-abiding person.

Travel Agents: In the past 10 years I’ve had three travel agents choose to bypass Singapore when routing me to Nepal and Bali. They sent me through Bangkok and Taipei instead. I would have loved to see this city 10 years ago. I would have loved to see this city 50 years ago when Lee Kuan Yew was just beginning to implement his incredible vision for the city which has resulted in what I’m marveling at today.

So forget what you know or think of Singapore if you haven’t been here yet. Just visit. There’s something for everyone, and a lot to like.

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