In 2002, during Operation Enduring Freedom while on deployment, our ship stopped off in Singapore for some R&R. After we moored the ship to the pier, my my Marine Corps buddies and I walked to the end of the pier to be greeted by a fleet of Mercedes taxis. This was the first time I had ever seen a Mercedes used as a taxi. Needless to say, we rode around in style, and it wasn’t much more than the prices you would find back in the States—but a lot cleaner!
As we were driving to the center of town to see all the electronic malls, I quickly discovered that most of Singapore’s economy revolves around Tiger Beer. Tiger Beer logos were on almost every billboard, on the side of almost every taxi, and Tiger Beer delivery trucks and motorbikes were all around me. So when we got to downtown, we went to a nice waterside bar located along the Singapore river to try this very popular, cheap beer. It wasn’t bad, and it kinda tasted like Yuengling.
We had a couple more pints, and then we head to Sim Lim Square to buy latest and greatest technology that hadn’t been released in the States yet—and for cheap! You’ll be overwhelmed by the size of this place and all the glimmering lights. After working up an appetite shopping, I decided to try some of the local cuisine. So I ordered cat, dog, steamed vegetables, and white rice. The meal was delicious. Dog tastes like a turkey drumstick, and cat tastes alot like duck.
After wrapping up lunch, I went back to the ship to shit, shower, and shave. After dressing up, the guys and I decided to go a place called Orchard Towers, which was four stories of nightclubs and pubs from all around the world for all types of tastes in music, and even more electronics to shop from.
The next day, I walked around to soak up some of Singapore’s culture and was completely overwhelmed by how clean the city is. You’re not allowed walk and chew gum because it usually ends up as part of the sidewalk. Needless to say, the sidewalks all throughout Singapore are perfectly clean. Your are only allowed to smoke cigarettes in certain designated areas, and you are not allowed to walk and smoke based on the same reasons that gum is not allowed—to keep the sidewalks clean. Not only are the sidewalks spotless, but there is not graffiti on any walls, and literally every tree is trimmed in some type of geometric shape. It was one of the strangest experiences I ever saw. It looked like the place that landscapers from EPCOT go to retire.
As a walked through the city, I saw historical shrines and quickly learned that it is not polite to stare too long or take numerous amounts of pictures. After a day of shopping for souvenirs, my buddies and I returned back to the pier where our ship was docked and were greeted with an entire semi-truck of Tiger beer and a beer garden filled with Tiger beer girls handing out free beers. It was our ship’s way of giving a “last night in port” party. Tiger beer is a good, affordable beer and very accessible, but it gave me one of the worst hangovers I’ve ever had. So when in Singapore, try the Tiger beer, but remember there’s a reason why they’re so cheap.