About Me

My photo
Now I take the floor
Outside hardens the core
As I start to grow
I see the long way to go

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Irish July & Singaporean August

I had a chance to trot from the west to the east or rather north to south of the northern hemisphere in a quick span of time which left me completely tickled as well as throttled. It was a rare opportunity to spend July in Ireland and August in Singapore, the only common factor in both these trips was that I was neck deep with work. However the variegated experiences in both these countries, the good ones and the not so good ones, were enriching and elevating. It helped me evolve as a person with more maturity and poise.

Dublin matches a lot with India especially in terms of the freedom struggle that it had to endure. The Irish flag resembles with Indian one, horizontal stripes are replaced by vertical stripes minus Ashok Chakra. The city is well maintained and well connected by Luas tram services and buses, people quite warm and friendly, the only turnoff being the cost factor. Cathedrals, museums, parks are the major tourist attractions like any other European counterparts.

City is famous for its literary heavyweights – James Joyce, Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, W B Yeats… can find books at very cheap prices. Another must to do is to taste Guinness and Baileys! Luckily, I visited Dublin at the right time of the year, around July – August when the sun never sets before 10pm.

I thoroughly enjoyed the short stint during July in Ireland but was extremely let down with my long stay during August in Singapore. May be it’s because Dublin and Singapore are on the extremes as far as the climate and citizens are concerned. Heading straight from Dublin to Singapore was not a good idea at all - from severe chills to humidity that kills! It took nearly a week to adjust to the tropical climate and the stinking odor of the oil used to prepare food. While in Dublin, one get to see most of the fellow travelers quite engrossed in books, in Singapore, they were quite engaged with the high end phones, laptops and other gadgets. As for working environment, I prefer Dublin to Singapore, for Dubliners know exactly how to separate out play and pleasure!

Singapore has mixed population – Chinese, Malays and Indians, settled in well defined regions. Since each section represents the different cultures of its inhabitants, it’s good to travel to places like Chinatown, Little India, Paya Lebar and experience the diversity! The various parts of the country are well connected by MRT as well as buses. It just takes a week to cover the entire country!

Singapore Zoo, Night Safari, Jurong Bird Park is worth one time visit. River cruise at night is quite invigorating – cool chilly breeze, illuminated elevated buildings, magnificent marvelous Merlion statue! The man made island Sentaso is a huge tourist attraction.

Now as I enjoy the Indian September, I recollect these beautiful lines brilliantly penned by Robert Frost

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

How true! The cities abroad are good in their own way but home is where my heart is and it is known by the name India!