01 April 2012


The title of this blog is Les Excited because yesterday was a pretty exciting day. But I am also les excited about the new Facebook page. If you are on Facebook, search for "And Then I Moved to Singapore" for blog posts and more photographs of my adventures. Like the page, get your friends to like the page and spread the blog further around the globe. Thank you so much for reading!

Back to the story...

Yesterday I celebrated one year in Singapore and I cannot think of a better way to honor my year. I started the day at Starbucks, my home away from home.

I don’t know what it is about Americans and their coffee but I have become addicted to the flavor, the aroma, the language with the special names of coffees, sizes and milk selections that surprisingly a lot of people have a super hard time pronouncing and placing in the right order and the atmosphere in every café across the globe. I love that coffee brings people together like a holiday meal. My friends and I will plan our day around coffee. I know which cafés to visit when I hit certain regions. I love that cafés provide an outlet for alone time, whether for reading, working, playing or people watching.

After coffee with a coworker, catching up on all that I have missed in the last week (surprisingly a lot), I took the MRT and a long walk toward Marina Bay Sands. The rains started early in the morning – before 7. I heard the thunder rumbling as I was waking in bed and then the rain came. The rain came in such a way that I was quite certain it could have rained all day, but by 11:30 the rain was fading like someone coming out of a really good cry.

I was amazed at the quietness of the Marina Bay area. Never have I been down there without hearing sounds of chatter and music, seeing crowds and smelling the food being cooked by the sidewalk restaurants. Today as I walked along the water I could only hear a few sounds – the distant construction clatter from somewhere in the business district, the wind rustling through the trees, three birds calmly chattering and the paced sounds of jogging sneakers hitting the wet concrete.

The area smelled wet as the rain fizzled and, as I approached the sidewalk cafés I was met with other smells of meats grilling and breads baking. I passed the cafés to my right and the floating Louis Vuitton store to my left and headed around to the giant white sculpture once stated to be the “welcoming hand of Singapore,” the world’s first ArtScience Museum.

There are currently two travelling exhibits showing, one on the Titanic and one featuring Andy Warhol and Asian artists’ adaptations. For the first hour, I sat in a small theater and watched a Disney documentary about a 2001 expedition to the sunken Titanic.

The documentary showed footage captured through deep sea videos and superimposed images from the 1997 blockbuster. It was amazing to see how the details pictured in the movie were just like the images seen in the documentary eerily peaceful at the bottom of the ocean. The gates and the stateroom furniture, the stained-glass windows and the entryways – they just seemed aged but some were still intact.

After the movie I explored the exhibits. I am not really into artifacts or staring at things in air-tight cases so I did not spend a lot of time looking that the items pulled from the wreckage. I did spend time reading about the history and learning more about the accident and the people aboard the ship.

The exhibit was put together well. Each of the rooms depicted were set up as if the rooms were on the ship. When I walked into the first corridor, I had an instant feeling that I was walking onto the ship and I briefly wondered if I was allowed to be standing where I was. It took me a few moments to realize that this was part of the experience.

I walked down the corridors, into a stateroom and a deck-level café; I walked onto an open-air deck where most of the higher class passengers spent their time. At one point I came into a room depicting the crash; a small iceberg came out of the floor and above my head on the left. It had several fingerprints and hand prints embedded in the structure.

The air was crisp and cool; stars were lit above. The iceberg sparkled in the lights. One small child leaned in to touch the iceberg and an alarm went off. A few people in the room looked around but no guards came rushing in. The alarms stopped after about 10 seconds and all was normal. Three kids again leaned in to touch the iceberg and this time there were no alarms sounding.

As I approached the structure, I saw a sign that actually states that viewers should touch the iceberg so I do not know what caused the alarm. The sign stated that most of those who escaped the ship died of hypothermia because of the water and air temperatures. Touching the iceberg, I realized that the formation was not some squishy material that would mold my fingerprints as I gently pushed them against the surface. To my surprise, the iceberg really was made of ice – my fingers slid across the wet yet solid, cold surface.

For me, the eeriest part of the exhibit was the end when I walked across a clear floor and saw pieces from the wreckage below my feet on the “ocean” floor. Personal items and china pieces were seen peaking through the sand and something inside of me stopped.

Following a serious look at a tragedy that happened nearly 100 years ago to the day, I headed to an exhibit with a more whimsical feel – paintings and portraits by and inspired by the one and only Andy Warhol. I found some of his sketches humorous and did enjoy the wild colors and repeated patterns.

I met a friend for dinner and then we headed a few blocks down the street to see a whole new side of Singapore. A few days ago, when I first decided to celebrate my year in Singapore and ring in another, I started Googling rooftop bars. I thought that there was no better way to celebrate Singapore than to see it all with a fancy drink in hand. Little did I know I picked what I now consider to be the best spot in the city.

1 Altitude was a cozy rooftop with three bars and 360 degrees of amazing Singapore city views. Though it rained all morning, the night was clear. I felt so close to the stars from more than 925 feet (280 meters) off the ground – the stars just appeared brighter up there. 1 Altitude is the highest open-air bar in the world. We were so high, I could not get cell reception. Don't worry, though, Indonesia sent me a text message regarding roaming services.

The views were spectacular, the drinks were good and it wasn’t at all crowded. I stared at the city lights most of the evening and, with my champagne drink in hand, I toasted to one year in Singapore.

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