Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Chicago Singapore: Same Same but Different

The past few days I've been away from India. I thought I was visiting Singapore for professional development, but shortly after immigration and baggage claim, I felt like we'd landed someplace else. I wondered if we somehow took a 5 hour flight and wound up in Chicago.  

Then I wondered, did Chicago have a secret twin? A twin city on the other side of the earth?

Singapore is nothing like Chicago. Really it's not. 

There are beautiful palm trees. Chicago doesn't have those outside anyway. 

There's loads of Chinese and British influence in the architecture. Again, not really Chicago. We've got tall buildings like the Sears Tower (I still can't call it Willis). We have beautiful gothic and art deco style instead. 

Signs throughout the city are in Chinese. There are some signs in Chicago in Chinese but not nearly as many and most are in Chinatown. 

For the past five days, I felt like went home. Let me try to make my case. 

Lovin' me some Sbucks on the street in  Singapore.
And look, benches to sit too!
Evidence #1. Starbucks
We landed early Friday morning and went to our hotel. Not being able to check in we went to a nearby mall to get our first Starbucks fix. Yes, that's right, Starbucks. Chicago has those too. 

Evidence #2. Garrett's Popcorn
The same mall that had a Starbucks also contained a Garrett's Popcorn. For Chicagoans, we all know our favorite blend. And yes it was listed on the menu and yes, I did buy a medium size mix. 

Evidence #3. Tap water
In Singapore you can drink water from the tap. You can do the same thing in Chicago. And that was the first thing I did after we checked into our hotel. From my hands. 


Evidence #4. Architecture (see above)
Both cities have great bridges, ferris wheels and are known for it.
Wrigley Building from river

Singapore skyline

Evidence #5. Reclaimed land 
Both cities claimed land from water. Chicago from Lake Michigan. Singapore from Straits of Singapore (I think, if I read the map correctly). 

Excited for some real meat. Yes, I wrote that.
Evidence #6. Dan Ryan Steakhouse
Chicago's known for its steakhouses. And this branch of the chain didn't let me down. Delic steak salad. Buffalo head on the wall and piece of evidence #7...

Evidence #7. Fountain drinks
Again, Chicago has those too. I heart fountain Diet Cokes.

Evidence #8. Riverwalk restaurants and bars
Both cities have beautiful riverwalks. These walks have wonderful restaurants and cafes along them. Granted in Chicago they're closed for almost half the year but they both have them.

Can you see why I was a bit confused?

My confusion could probably a combination of things. One part summeritis. Two parts homesickness. And three parts that I'm ready to take a break from my new home and the challenges it brings to daily life. Maybe the breakdown isn't quite right but whatever the case, it was nice to be home for a few days.

Okay, and finally a few photos that probably make Singapore truly different than Chicago... and mostly it's just that the people I met live in Mumbai. That's really all...
Singapore skyline from Marina Sands

Same skyline

Night out with ASB friends

Yummy margaritas - hey I forgot about the delicious Mexican food!

Last night in Singapore getting our Mexican fix.

1 comment:

  1. I'm still working on my post about my 48 hours in Singapore Christmas 2010. We were on Orchard Road RIGHT before Christmas. I must tell you I hated Singapore ... when you read about how they treat their beggars, thieves, and homeless you will know you are NOT in Chicago! Having said that ... I think it's a fascinating city. I felt like I was living the Jetson's life. Everything so modern! Albeit EXPENSIVE! And I would love to dig my hands into another Chile Crab or another Durian ice cream sandwich! Glad you had fun in pseudo Chicago! xxx