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June 24 – Train to Singapore

In the morning, we left Kuala Lumpur by train for Singapore, passing through the old rubber and palm plantations of peninsular Malaysia.

Once in Singapore, we checked into the historic Raffles Hotel–a Life List item that exceeded all expectations.

Actually, Singapore exceeded all expectations. While we both think we like the grittiness of cities like New York, it turns out that we actually like our cities to be pristine–clean, safe, beautiful, and easy to get around in. Everything that secretly grates on our nerves at home and then some is illegal here–all of it punishable by a $1,000 fine–jaywalking, littering, spitting, chewing gum, smoking in public, eating on public transportation, touting cab rides and tours, idling in taxis, panhandling, playing musical instruments in public, urinating in public, nudity, failing to flush the (free!) public toilets, feeding monkeys, talking too loud, and unauthorized entry of non-public places–all of it posted along with signs reminding you that the street is under camera surveillance.

It adds up to a city that is pure pleasure to visit and, heck, we weren’t planning to criticize the government anyway.