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I Return To The Best City In The World

I love this place but there is no way that I can stay.

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SINGAPORE- This would be the first time that Petra would decide when we get off the metro train. We were coming in from the airport towards the center of Singapore. I taught her how to read the map and what the green lights and the red lights meant. She was nervous. She was afraid that she could screw up and get us off at the wrong stop.

But I had confidence in her. I leaned back against the wall of the subway car and relaxed. My kid was at the helm. She’s good at this shit — she’s been traveling since she was six weeks old.

But then I noticed something: the station indicator lights on the map in the subway car were two stops behind where we really were. I knew that part of Singapore well from previous visits, but I could not believe that in a city that’s so advanced such a colossal screw up could be happening. This was the train from the airport after all. It was packed with tourists who had no idea where they were going.

But my disbelief was not warranted: the map really was screwed up. I had never seen this before in all my travels. I had to intervene and call the experiment to a halt.

“This is our stop,” I told Petra sadly.

“But it says we have two more to go.”

“You did everything right. It’s broken.”


My observations are of course cursory, but it seems that a lot of Singapore is kind of going downhill. I’m not sure why. When buying a ticket to go on the subway some of the machines were out of order, which meant that masses of tourists just getting off of flights had to wait in an excruciating long line, as well as other things that seemed to indicate that one of the most wired and advanced cities on the planet wasn’t really running as a finely tuned machine.

Coming to Singapore is like a slap in the face. I’ve been coming here for years; I’ve been trying to move here for years; I’ve been failing at moving here for years. Rent is just too expensive — especially for a foreigner who cannot get the public subsidized housing that most of the people on the island live in.

Oh well. There are 191 other countries in the world.

We’re going back to Greece. Why? I’m not sure. I woke up one morning in Thailand, sat down and drank a coffee, followed it up with a beer, and got the feeling to leave Asia.

I got the feeling to go to Greece.

I have no idea why. I just did.

We stayed in Greece for a while in 2016. Everybody liked it.

Really, that’s about all I need right now.


Filed under: Singapore, Travel Diary, Vlog

About the Author:

I am the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. I’ve been traveling the world since 1999, through 90 countries. I am the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China and have written for The Guardian, Forbes, Bloomberg, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3689 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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VBJ is currently in: Papa Bay, Hawaii

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