Slept a few hours on the flight - maybe I'm actually getting used to it. We stopped in Kuala Lumpur but it was really to overcast to see much during landing and takeoff. Singapore is weird. Pretty, maybe even beautiful, but a little off - almost sinister. I keep feeling like I'm in some cheesy Brave New World utopian movie. There are signs all over the places saying not to smoke, don't speed (the taxis start beeping at anything faster than 80 km/h), don't litter, flush the toilet, etc. and everything is very clean. The road from the airport is lined with trees whose boughs make a natural tunnel of green. The trees are very exotic looking with the foliage all on one plane - they look like giant bonsai trees, and with the perfectly manicured grass and flowers the image is really hard to shake.
I checked into a cheaper hotel - still very nice, and nearly double what my splurge in 'Tana cost. Up in the room I was seriously considering a nap but I knew if I did that it would be all over and it would take me forever to adjust to the time changes. Right as I was getting ready to go out a massive electrical storm rolled in. I sat in front of my window and watched the down pour as lightning hits the tops of the tall buildings a few blocks away. When it started to slack off I went out. First stop was a Seattle Coffee Company for some caffeine. I saw a Starbucks down the road but I'll save that for another time - besides I think that Starbucks owns SCC anyway. It was still raining so I took my late and found a cyber cafe. Cheap and fast - a very pleasant change from Madagascar.
Walking around it's amazing. Everything is so clean and orderly. And people are so polite! Singapore seems to be a country dedicated to shopping. The only thing in the city seems to be hotels and malls - with the late way outnumbering the first. I walked through a couple not looking at anything seriously just wandering. First stop was a bookstore - a used bookstore, but the paperbacks are in such perfect condition that you couldn't tell they'd been read two or three times already - is that the sign of a healthy society?
I was heading for Funan The IT Mall a giant six story shopping complex mainly focusing on computers. I wanted to buy another battery for for my hand held. I started at the bottom and did a fairly good survey there were maybe twenty stores that carried what I was looking for - the extended battery pack and the prices varied from S$ 249 to S$ 269 (US$151 - 163), except for one store where it was S$ 99. Everything else in the odd store was in the normal price range, and even though I wasn't planning to buy anything today when I got done with the top floor I decided I wasn't going to do any better than that so I bought it.
Madagascar to Singapore in one step has got to be one of the biggest cultural changes one can do on this planet. I'm having a lot of trouble dealing with all the people and everything is just so... nice. Had diner at... Taco Bell! It was actually quite expensive, way more than at home, and somehow it's not as good when it's not cheap... Back at the hotel I took an hour plus long hot bath and basically melted away.