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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Allie is in Singapore ... then heading home (fifth ... and final ... in a series)

Read part 4 ...

Read part 3 ...

Read part 2 ...

Read part 1 ...

After a visit that was definitely too short in Hong Kong, I once again found myself back at the airport and on my way to Singapore, the last stop of my two-week trip around Asia. I honestly wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I arrived in Singapore, all that I really knew was that I wouldn’t be chewing any gum on this particular visit.

Singapore definitely surprised me with how incredibly cosmopolitan and Western it is. Having been a former British colony, English is one of Singapore's four officially recognized languages, which made getting around and conversing a breeze.

The biggest shocker to me was the weather. Little did I realize that it is always summer time in Singapore--hot, hot, hot, and incredibly humid. Being only 85 miles north of the equator, you can imagine the climate Think Atlanta in late July or early August--and all I packed were fall sweaters! Thank goodness for ice cream bread sandwiches to help beat the heat.

With more than 42% of the population in Singapore being made up of foreigners, the diverse mix of cultures provides for a wide variety of culinary options at meal time. One of my most favorite experiences on the trip was sampling food at a local market one evening.

My culinary tour guide was the parent of a current Emory student and he wanted me to experience the real Singapore. Andrew Zimmern I am not, but tasting the local cuisine is one of my most favorite parts of traveling, so I was up for the challenge.

My dinner that night paid homage to three of the largest populations in Singapore--Chinese noodle soup, Indian naan bread with a spicy dipping sauce, Arabic soup made with goat tongue and a local Singapore dessert of gelatinous cubes made from seaweed and sweetened with yams and coconut milk. All that was missing was the Durian fruit, for which I am thankful!

While in Singapore, I also got the chance to meet up with Emory alumna Jamie Koh 07B, the winner of Singapore’s recent “The Ultimate Start-Up Space” challenge. Jamie and her business partner are co-owners of The Chupitso bar and dreamed up the winning idea for the challenge while on a backpacking adventure together.

Their entry beat out 200 others to win six months free rent in the trendy area of Clarke Quay and a nest egg to start their business. The Chupitso Bar recently made its debut and seems to be s a hit with locals and tourists visiting in Singapore. Congrats, Jamie!

After an exciting two-week journey filled with new friends in Asia, great food and many memories, my final destination is Atlanta. It has been a great trip and I hope that you’ve enjoyed following along! Where will my travels take me next? Be sure to check back here on EAAvesdropping for the latest scoop.

-- Allie Hill, director, international alumni relations, EAA

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