I love airplanes and long-distance flights. We spent about 30 hours with the award-winning Singapore Airlines. With eight magazines, six movies, four meals, and a sleeping pill, I’m ready to relax and explore. American airports are still not suitable for people. The modern Singapore airport invites you to enjoy a free internet terminal, cinema, rooftop pool, aromatherapy spa, oxygen bar, waterfalls with indoor nature, and koi pond.
I take my smallest group with 28 single men. More than 60 people asked me to reach these destinations, but many of those who feared bird flu got a bond at the last moment. Therefore, it is more like a vacation with this quality than cultural vultures.
We begin with an orientation tour at the top of Mount Lavinia. Faber with spectacular views. I think the team is impressed with this brilliant metropolis located between Malaysia and Indonesia. Here is the S.E. Asia is a bustling port, modernized by the British Empire. It is known as the “City of the Lion” and has 4 million inhabitants. 76% are Chinese, and the other minority is united. Singapore is a city, state, capital, and country with 8 million visitors a year. But only a handful of Americans have not yet found it.
We enter the eclectic hotel Regent de Four Seasons. Give me a set, and I swear, this is winning the prize for the friendliest crew in the world. With “excellent purchases”, we are at the right time. There is no retail treatment to relieve our time lag. Orchid Road, like Tree Fifth Avenue, is the center of all life. Shopping is a national fad, and negotiation can also be a game of blood.
There are 150 mega shopping centers. I am a slave to labels, and I will buy a genuine Rolex used with the documentation for a fraction of the cost. We only have 4 days here. There is so much to do 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it’s like Hong Kong with steroids. The Arts Festival is made up of many different places. After dark, it becomes a party town in the new Clark Quay area along the river.
We have an excellent and friendly guide called Farida, who shows us all the places of interest. We visited the lush orchid garden with 60,000 orchids, Chinatown with its markets and temples, and Little India in its aroma and vibrant colors. The land founded by Sir Stanford Raffles, the new colony and its unique fountain, Merlion Gardens, enters the most contemporary financial district.
We stopped drinking a portion of the famous Long Bar of Raffles Hotel, which starts at $ 700 per night. Other visits include Jurong Bird Park and the zoo’s night safari, considered one of the best in the world with free cages for 2,500 animals. In our free time, we take rickshaws around the city and take the cable car to the island of Sentosa.
Some of us decided to return to the zoo to have breakfast in the jungle with the orangutans. Terry and I eat giant chili crabs and rice cakes at night. This picturesque island state of Singapore is lined with purple bougainvillea bushes. All cars are equipped with alarms to keep the sound off if the speed limit is exceeded. There is no graffiti, no gangs, and in strict “controlled democracy,” it is the death penalty for drug traffickers. We all joke about canning to chew gum or Jaywalking.
It is a relaxing trip here. I usually feel like Jack Bauer in the 24th TV series with my travels endlessly. When I board a 3-hour flight to Vietnam, I feel relaxed.
We come to another world with rice, sampan, lotus, coconut milk, and noodle soup. It’s like traveling to the 15th century in this beautiful country full of history. It is weaker than I thought. However, the genuine smile of these people is attractive. I am a fan of the Third World. Singapore is dynamic and Hanoi is culturally stimulating. The city is full of lakes and shaded by tamarinds. It clashes with chi energy, but at the same time, it is a quiet bilingual.
During all the confusion, we headed to the Deluxe Sheraton Resort. Our excellent guide, named Hong, has been with us for six glorious days. His first lesson was to teach us to cross the street. 7-lane traffic with 2.4 million motorcycles is dangerous. “It’s called Chicken Game,” says Hong. “Don’t run, don’t stop, drivers can predict your address.” That afternoon, I was stranded for 20 minutes. This lesson is contrary to all instinct. The whole family is on the same scooter called “Vietnamese Sandwich.” Everything is transported in this moped, eight golds, a dozen upside-down chickens, a television, a tree, and much more. The pollution is terrible. The city center seems tired. Suddenly there is a monsoon. People draw ponchos and become a raincoat. It dissolves as soon as it begins, and life goes on.
The sun shines on our daily excursions, including the Sahitya Devalaya, the Single Pillar Pagoda, the French Quarter, and the Ho Chi Minh Monument. Like Lennon in Moscow, we meet hundreds of people to enter the grave where his body is visibly buried. The communist armed soldiers order us to remain silent, and there are no cameras, umbrellas, sunglasses or weapons on our side. Then we visit Hoa Lo prison, or the oven. Thousands of political prisoners built by the French in 1896 were tortured until 1954. We see prisons with iron legs, torture equipment, and “head-cutting machines.” In the 1960s, Vietcong used him as a prisoner in the American detention center. During the Vietnam War, the pilots were shot dead. This place was named “Hanoi Hilton” by our slave pilots. We also do a walking tour of the old town. Each of its narrow streets is named after its ancient craftsmanship: Silk St., Coffin St., Grilled Fish St., Hong takes us to a food market with turtles, sea slugs, rugs, and other indescribable creatures. The tit bite is a dog stew that is considered a farm meal here. Rats in the country are traditionally served at all birthday parties.
Most of our meals include a buffet breakfast and ten cozy lunches. Each restaurant is affordable. One night, my dinner menu included sticky rice with jellyfish, fried beer, ginger cricket, and fried tender pigeons. It seems that the Vietnamese will eat anything that moves.
We participate in the Water Puppet Show, an ancient unique art form in Hanoi. This music and dancing in the water was a source of entertainment for the villagers a long time ago. Then we disintegrate to explore the city, the oldest capital of Asia. Some go for massages and pedicures at a price that can not resist. Some buy souvenirs, while others dress to match. My body has a silk dress for $ 45 in just 45 hours. We went to handicraft villages to negotiate art, pottery, and lacquers. Money is a big challenge for us since $ 10,500 is equivalent to 65 cents. It’s sad to know that even though we feel like millionaires, our annual per capita income is $ 320! We hint generously.
The pulse of Vietnam is in its cities, and its beautiful patronage is in its villages. We went out to the field for a full day trip to Halong Bay. The air is fresh when we pass the rice, duck and shrimp farms. It is the time of the rice harvest and hundreds of rice producers are leaning over their ponds. Scared children gathered while driving. We come to this natural UNESCO World Heritage site and board our private wooden trash can. In silence, we sail towards a dream. Three thousand islands with limestone cliffs emerge from the Emerald Seas. This show has a timeless and holistic quality. Natwest Geo. It is called the “magic of stones and water.” We enjoyed a seafood lunch with crabs and freshly caught shrimp. It is a perfect day for the sun to escape and calm.
The highlight of the trip for me was our group bike tour of Old Hanoi on the last day. We turn left towards the city center, where 28 bicycle rickshaws go alone for an hour and then cross the narrow scooter lanes. There are some nearby missiles in the red lights that are always overlooked. We all laugh while we watch the locals. Terry 6’4 “is considered huge even in the United States. This is how it looked like a 90-pound sitting on the throne of King Tut. The driver is working hard to accommodate our team. Then we go on separate routes for independent exploration. A few hours later, I got lost in a city without taxis, and I had to meet with others for dinner again, there is no other option than to get on a scooter, I fit the small seat with a skirt and a bag full of my hands. road, I wrapped my arms and legs like an octopus around my driver.” He smiles at the Sheraton.
Before our long flight through Tokyo to Los Angeles, we flew to Singapore to rest well in Le Meridien. I am contemplating another journey of a new understanding of history and cultures. It was like coming to two different planets on a holiday. The contrast of this trip is evident in our photos from the Contemporary Garden Paradise in Singapore to the new traditional revival of Vietnam. This is undoubtedly an Asian affair.