Singapore: No Culture Shock.

I landed in Singapore before 8am on a Saturday. I had arranged for a car to pick me up and take me to my hotel in the city. Getting through immigration and customs proved to be the easiest of all of my travels - including Iceland.

"Is this a sign of how effortless this destination is going to be?" I asked myself.

Indeed, it was.

The first thing I noticed as my driver sped through the streets was that everything was written in English. Everything. Advertisements. Street signs. Street names even.

"I know English is fairly common here," I said to my driver. "But why is everything written in English over one of the Chinese dialects?"

"English is the main language," he said. "We are taught our mother tongues. But English is the one language that we all communicate in. There are a few languages other than that. English just makes it easier."

Well, I though, that's going to make getting around the city much easier.

After unpacking and ordering some breakfast in my room, I decided to venture out.

"You need to go to the Sands in Marina Bay," Frogger had told me before I left. "Best views of the city."

So I left the hotel and started my adventure. First thing I came across outside was this...

It's the Buddha riding a dragon! 

I walked 10 minutes to the subway, passing Starbucks. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf shops, Hermes, Dior, Louis Vuitton... 

"I must be in the ritzy part of town!" I said. "I feel like I am in NYC!"

I was fascinated by this apartment building's shape that I passed. 

"How clean and modern," I noted. "It must be exciting to live there."

Down into the subway, getting a ticket out of the machine and getting on the subway was easier than it is in Boston. Ten minutes later, I was at the stop near the Sands. I walked out of the subway and was surround by tall buildings...

And then I found myself at the bottom of The Sands building...

It towers!

My mission was to get to the top of it - the observation deck - to have lunch and take in the views.

The Super Tree Grove inside the Gardens by the Bay.

The domes of the Gardens by the Bay.

Downtown Singapore.

"I have to get to those giant fake trees in the garden," I told myself. I made a note to get that on my schedule.

I went down into the mall connected to The Sands. I was blown away by the brands located inside...

Balenciaga... Chanel... Philip Lim... Ferragamo... Louboutin... And so, so much more.

"It's JUST like NYC!" I said. But I was very good. I did not buy anything. But there were a pair of awesome gladiator-style sandals in the Balenciaga store that were calling to me.

I decided it was best to take my eyes away from the luxury designer feast, and head outside. It was humid and hot... Which for me is perfect.

I walked along the Helix bridge, which wound from one side of the bay to the other.

Though, I kept getting distracted by the geometric shapes made by the twisting metal. 

I found myself needing a rest from the heat. So it was time for my next adventure to materialize.