Monday, February 15, 2010

Quick Differences and Surprises

Hey all,

Usually today we have a guest blogger, but my scheduled author didn't send me anything. I wasn't able to get into my mail to remind her, so hopefully we'll be able to reschedule her for another date.

Instead I thought I'd share with you some of the surprises I've found here during my stay.

I know I've offered up my opinions on quite of few things I've discovered. Food and shopping just some of them, but there are subtle differences that I find myself smiling and shaking my head over.

So, not in any special order... Here are some of those things that make me smile.

1. Drink refills aren't free here. You have to pay for them.
2. You know how on the 4th of July, business and government offices shut down for the day? Well here, on the Chinese New Year, they take it up another notch. Everything is shut down. Even most of the transportation systems, medical offices, groceries and essential services. And it's not just a day--here it can be for a week.
3. Alcohol here is EXPENSIVE!!!!! A bottle of beer that would be $4.00 at Disney in the states starts at around 9 dollars here. And a bottle of wine, in the states, 15 dollars goes for 29 here. And don't even ask about hard spirits. A bottle of JD here is 45 dollars for the smallest size.
4. They don't have diet anything here. It's all called lite. (yeah...I feel so much better)
5. You knows those silly translations you can find online from Asian to English? They are everywhere here. In the simplest of signs or communications. My favorite so far is seeing mannequins at a store wearing shirts that say I "heart" sale, instead of I "heart" sales. A small grammatical error, but it's just one of many.
6. Beef here is hugely expensive and hard to find. A good hamburger can be the same price as a good steak.
7. Some McDonalds, Burger Kings and Senior Tacos are like fancy restaurants here. Can you imagine paying 12 dollars for a taco or a hot dog?
8. If you drink and drive, and are convicted a third time, not only do you pay a fine and go to jail, you get a caning too. That's right, a beating with a cane.
9. A box of cornflakes cost a couple of bucks in the states, right? Well, here, a box can cost upwards from 10 dollars. Insane, right?
10. The Singaporean people are as a whole, very friendly and polite, except when it comes to getting on or off an MRT. They start out being polite and letting you through, then it's like they can't take it any more and bam! They all push you out of the way and make for the street. It's amusing and scary all at the same time.

Anyway, there you have it. A few of the things I've seen that make me take a double take. There are more and that number is growing every day, and as I see them, I'll try and remember what they are and share them.

Have a great day!

CJ England
Follow Your Dreams


susan said...

I think after reading this I will look at things a bit different here. susan L.

Phylis said...

Looking forward to reading more of those CJ! Sounds like you are having a good time.

Unknown said...

Wow! You have to be rich to eat there. ugh!

Keep a list of the signs, maybe pics with your phone?

Take care!

Sultry Summers said...

Hey CJ - I rarely 'follow' what's up on a blog but find I'm following yours while you are away. Its been a very interesting trip and I'm glad you are having such a great time - again I really wish I could have 'packed' myself in your luggage. LOL - can you see getting me through air port security he he he. Hope your trip continues to be great. Do - do some good 'research' that way you can take this trip off your 2010 taxes. I would.

Anonymous said...

Hey CJ, One of the newsletters I get had an article today that I thot you’d get a kick out of. It’s called “Grumpy in Singapore”! The author, Leveson, has a sense of humor and says “Singapore is a garden city where the sounds of the jungle are still discernible at night time.” You haven’t mentioned ‘jungle noises’ [excluding you & Jonathon of course (I didn’t just say that!)] in your travelogue. Here’s the URL for you to check out:
Mea culpa, Sara J. : - ]

Anonymous said...

Sorry, here's the link again - they left out the "Grumpy" last time.
Grumpy-in-Singapore.html [no spaces]
Sara J.

Anonymous said...

Back again... In that same newsletter is another (!!!) article on Singapore and this one is about food! And it sounds delicious! [
I'll end w/the Chinese New Year's greeting "nian nian yo yu" I just learned from the article. [BTW, does this comment entitle me to an entry in your Singapore contest???Hmmmm?]
Hungry-for-fish-now, Sara J.

CJ England said...


It really is amazing how different cultures are. I think it's good for us to look outside the box sometimes.

Even when that box is a 12 dollar box of bloody cornflakes!!!


CJ England said...


Today I'm really tired. It's that time and I think after a week of non stop sightseeing, I'm exhausted.

I'm staying at the hotel today and just catching up on emails and writing a bit. Feels good.


CJ England said...


It's funny. If I go out to say Chinatown or Little India, I can eat for literally pennies.

But if I want to buy something to cook at home, it is very expensive. Once I have my bearings a bit more, I plan to try and buy meat and produce from the street markets, but I'm not there yet. LOL

And I always have my camera. I'll start doing that and one day do a blog just about those weird translations.


CJ England said...

Hey Sultry,

I would have loved to had my author friends with me for this trip. It's always amazing seeing stuff through other people's eyes.

Someday we'll all be rich and do a trip together. Wow! Look out world! LOL

And of course, it's all tax deductible. I'm already talking to an editor about a quickie story I'm working on. Mama didn't raise no fool! LOL


CJ England said...

Thanks Sara for all the info. I'll say the food here is one of the reasons I wouldn't mind staying longer. I love trying new dishes. But ya gotta watch the tai food. HOT HOT HOT!!! Whew!