Friday, January 18, 2013

Penner's Spotlight - Shannon Young - Singapore

Pens on a World Map
Penner's Spotlight

Penner: Shannon Young of Hong Kong
(originally from Arizona)

Location: Marina Bay, Singapore
Singapore in Solitude

ArtScience Museum
Marina Bay spread before me, the DNA-shaped Helix Bridge to my left, the flat stretch of the Formula One racing track to my right. In front, I saw the Marina Bay Sands. The hotel had been complete for less than two years, but already the design, like a ship atop three skyscrapers, had become an icon of Singapore.

Nearby sat the lotus ArtScience Museum and two floating crystals reflecting the silver of the looming storm clouds. Across the Bay, the towers of Singapore’s business district rose behind a row of colonial era hotels.

I crossed the Helix Bridge and made my way along the waterfront, passing the entrance to the glamorous Marina Bay Sands. A pool filled with lily pads sat beneath the smooth white petals of the ArtScience Museum. As I walked, something tugged at the back of my mind. Why did this journey give me such an eerily peaceful feeling?

Helix Bridge

Marina Bay architecture
Then I realized: it was quiet. There were a few people around, eating lunch beneath the palm trees and walking slowly along the water’s edge. A young family took pictures with the cloud-topped city in the background. But I had spent the last few years living in Hong Kong, an energetic city where the taxi horns are never quiet and the streets are never still. By comparison, Singapore felt empty, serene.

I followed the path toward the distant city. On the far edge of the Bay, I meandered between the quiet high-rises and trailed my hand along the railing at the water’s edge. It was jarring when I reached the lionfish fountain, a sort of mascot that was a popular spot for tourist photos.

Here, I finally found large groups of people. But I quickly left them behind to complete my circuit of the Bay. For now, I wanted the city to myself.

Do you have a travel story to share about travel in Singapore? Has there been a tranquil place you have visited? We'd love to hear about it. Please join the travel discussion below in the comment section.

Shannon Young is an American writer currently living in Hong Kong. She is the author of a mini travel memoir called The Olympics Beat: A Spectator’s Memoir of Beijing. Shannon blogs about books and travel at A Kindle in Hong Kong.

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