Singapore’s Top Places To Visit

I confess. I thought Singapore was mainly finance, clean pavements and skyscrapers. But what we saw in three days of strenously walking up and down was more than that. The city turned out to be an intricate plot of little, charismatic villages with their own, yet interchanging, vibes.

Yes, you can tell it’s always the same city, but it’s like if every corner can add something new and exciting.

So, without any further ado, this are the highlights of every place I saw (in the limited time I had):

  • LITTLE INDIA

– Wonderful Hindu temples: the colours, the statues, the dresses worn, everything is intensified by celebration and the rhythmic of prayers. Lovely.

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–  The nicest people in Singapore too! Just walk around the street, mingle, dance to the Bollywood music boasting from everywhere, stop at a fruit and vegetables shop for a fresh coconut, look at jewellery and shall we even talk about the dress shops? Little India is a splash of colour and chaos with a contagious joie de vivre effect.

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– Affordable shopping malls! Thumbs up for Mustafa Shopping Centre, the most interesting mall, a bazaar with the most random assortment and affordable prices. We (Cuz and I) bought the same Casio watch and I am simply in love with it.

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  • CHINATOWN

– Incredible food. You can’t go wrong, especially with the places with not a single English word on the menu. I still crave for everything I had (a bit ashamed to say it was a lot of stuff).

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– The majestic Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. A temple to visit without any doubt, rich in history, meaning, and decoration. In front of it, in the square you can stop for a while and check men playing Fangqi. I am still trying to understand how the game works, but people looked really into it.

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– The streets around the temple and their street market, selling everything you don’t need. Full of tourists, but also perfect spot for photos.

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  • KAMPONG GLAM (ARAB STREET)

– Hipster vibes! There are some delightful little streets full of cute shops, restaurants and bars where you can sip a beer and watch footie.

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– There are also nice graffiti and a general openness to creativity: it’s clearly an international artsy hub.

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  • THE COLONIAL DISTRICT

– The striking contrast between Neoclassical building and skyscrapers in the background… past and present all in one sight.

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– The beauty of walking around when it’s dark, and wonderful lights are everywhere. Perfect spot to have dinner too (yes touristy, but worth it once).

– Sipping a delicious Singapore Sling at famous Raffles Hotel’s Long Bar. What an experience.

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MORE PICTURES AVAILABLE SOON ON: https://500px.com/valanzo

Singapore, Futurama in the Garden

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There is nothing more extraordinary when in Singapore than exploring Gardens by the Bay and get exited by what the next generations could see. The anticipation is there, and it’s tangible.

It is basically like seeing a glimpse of the future in your own backyard.

Visually, it’s an adventure. It’s pitch dark around, but the trees pop colours: green, followed by blue, followed by purple, followed by pink. A loop of colours and emotions. Everything is curated, everything deserve to get a picture. If you go away from the main square and the crowd, the silence is second only to the light. The usual clouds of Singapore, contributes too, moving along the trees, artificial and real ones, and changing colours.

Inputs run all over your mind and body. Yet, it’s not a chaotic feedback, what stays with you. It’s the wonder, mixed with positivity that the future can be a balanced mix of nature, respect and technology. Maybe, we can be optimist after all.

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Want To See More, Much More You Want to Overdose?? You’re just one click away. Even from your room. Or garden. Head to my brand new 500px account: 

https://500px.com/photo/128169977/gardens-by-the-bay-in-singapore-by-val-anzo

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Singapore, the Heat and the Haze

So here I am, waiting in line to get a stamp from immigration, hoping the employee uses a brand new page of my pretty-big-yet-pretty-empty passport. I am quite fussy about it. I hate in equal measure controllers who:

  1. open a random page in the middle and stamp it there;
  2. cramp page 1 because there is still 3mm left;
  3. think the stamp MUST go close to the nearest country.

I would like to talk to them, and not only staring at the camera or leaving my fingerprints, and tell them that I do care about my passport, moreover that the legacy of a passport lies in the space-time continuum, and grows within the ten years of validity, not within the wimp of a human decision. Let my passport be the timeline of my travel diary, not just bureaucracy. But it doesn’t go like that, and I’m left to reluctantly thank for the stamp. Time to collect the luggage, and get out of the airport, we’ve arrived to Singapore.

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We watch getting dark so early, so quickly that we decide to hit town. Little India, our home base for the stay, straight down to the Marina. From a colourful noisy neighbourhood to a colourful triumph of metal, glass and style. Hidden by the skyscrapers, colonial houses, or what remains of it.

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As time passed by, I try to win over my new camera, and I can’t tell if it’s inexperience, heat exhaustion, or simply jet-lag. Everything I capture looks blurry. I blame myself and carry on walking around some of the most magnificent constructions the man has ever made. Then there is a weird sculpture/fountain half a lion half a fish? “Half a mermaid” tells my cousin. I get a bit weirded out by that and its spitting water into the lagoon. Maybe it’s the heat, it must be the heat and tomorrow it will look magnificent (it didn’t, to be honest).

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As we walk through architecture and artificial lights, the show starts. I decide to jump on board of “I love time-lapses” club and make a ridiculous shaky video. It’s hot now, and we have no water. Eyes are burning too. It definitely must be the heat, I’m not used to it.

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I am spinning into lights and colours. I even take few blurry pics, because art. “It’s so beautiful in here”, I keep thinking, “it’s so freaking beautiful”. In that moment I decide to start writing down every aphorism I can come up during the trip, at least one for every city. The one about Marina came watching around and getting blinded by Christmas lights everywhere “Men are really the most intelligent yet most stupid creatures in this world”.

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Only at home I realise about the haze alarm, the main cause of the blurriness. Thanks Zeus my new camera is not broken (or worse me…).

HAZE =

it is traditionally an atmospheric phenomenon where dust, smoke and other dry particles obscure the clarity of the sky. (wiki)

My utter dislike goes for days to Indonesia and their constant burning toxins. People, what’s wrong with you? Get a grip! I keep thinking that in Europe this could not happen, and then it hits me that this beautiful, squared, clean city lies – despite some of its appearance – in Asia.

So we call it a night, time to sleep, that tomorrow we are going to explore what’s Asian in Singapore. Good night S’pore, and remember to switch off the lights.

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Cuz On Tour: Prequel

I consider myself lucky to get along with my cousin so much that I can call him friend, moreover fellow companion for my quirkiest travel ideas.

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Few months ago, around my birthday to be more specific, I started wanting badly to change my life. Or something of it. Or everything of it. I spent last birthday completely on my own, and even the most stubborn or individualistic ones might understand how painful that feels. Especially after I also spent NYE alone, not on purpose. Avoiding Facebook and thoughts painted in black, I booked myself on a day adventure, to a tropical island in a German hangar, in the middle of Brandenburg forest. In that crazy place ( https://www.tropical-islands.de/en/ if you want to check it out)…That’s where and when leaving the city and my situation for a holiday looked like a bloody good idea. Traveling defines me, and I’m good at it. I no longer wanted to be stuck in my miserable state of…being the worst version of me.

I started fantasizing about Seoul, because since Hong Kong 2013, the city was at the top of my list. I spoke with my cousin about. Is it doable? We’re not really swimming in gold, lately. Even if we might have the attitude when we are together, a fashionable bunch of colonialists at heart with a serious mixology addiction. To understand, I once told him “rooftops make me look thinner”…. Anyway, once I explained the idea, we roughly calculate the fare. Too much. Darn.

What to do? Change destination!
Go to SEA, feel the warm weather, explore urban jungles and ancient cities! Who says no to that, right? From there, it was quite easy to draft the itinerary, spanned in a three week time. And money-wise, affordable.
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First things firsts: the flight tickets. It’s fair to say that few months in advance (4 for us) we got the best deal for a multi-city ticket with Qatar. Spoiler: I flew to Asia with Emirates before, and it was way, way better, so that’s my first advice.
Secondarily, the internal flights with low cost Asian companies also was quite easy step, a 3 months in advance booking also helped us sparing essential money. I used skyscanner.com, as per usual, to find the cheapest airlines (Airasia, anyway, is the easiest one, with infinite destinations).
I spent the last 2 months focusing on accommodation, clothing and camera gears.
Oh, and working three jobs to afford it, while Berlin was having the best summer ever. Best decision ever, the good weather helped me heaps.

On the Accommodation front, we wanted to experience everything, from living with a family to hostel, to basic hotel until luxury ones, where affordable. I spent lots of weekend finding the perfect spots, and I think we got it, quite proudly I might state. Not a single place was the same from the other, and that kept the tour fascinating too.
Talking about clothing, I went classic: white to win, cotton and viscose the only way. That didn’t stop my sweating and sunburning, but hey, I’m a whitey with freckles…

Now, talking about cameras and camera gear. I extra worked in order to afford my new baby, a Panasonic LX100. Small, light mirrorless with the soul of a Tiger. Winning choice for the adventure. I paired it up with some necessary gears, like a wristband strap and Solar filters.

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After the preparation and few skype call with cuz, it was time to go. Next stop: Singapore. More about that in the next chapter, as I hear from the radio podcasts “The story continues. Stay with us”

P.S. I’m writing this prequel from a rooftop, river view bar in Bangkok. This is what I see. Ace. (If you read typos, I’m sorry, I’m writing on a smallish screen!)

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Brackets 2015

I sometimes struggle with refocusing some of the purposes of my life. I’m not entirely sure if that’s a matter of my inner nature, fuelled by melancholy, or just because of the shitty times. Maybe a mix of both made me loose interest in publishing what I write about.

I’m about to leave for a long trip, and maybe it’s time to face also this thing: my blog. I stopped not for lack of content but for 60% lack of time and 40% abundance of sadness that my words won’t reach a destination.

So I made the childish decision ever, and stop writing. Actually, stop posting. I kept writing, mostly on paper. I lost focus, but I am gradually give it a try again, in mind the idea that a new purpose will resurface and the feeling of satisfaction will warm my heart again.

I had a guest staying with me in August, and I brought him to one of my special place in Berlin. We were blessed with warm days, that specific Sunday was however stormy and windy. I captured families enjoying the wind, and I felt a special connection with the surroundings. Here some shots of that day, enjoy.

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København. Snippets.

During the last cold weekend of winter I spent 48h in Copenhagen. It was delightful. And freezing.

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I had a great time testing a Fuji X100. I wasn’t enough experienced to always calibrate the right light, but in the end I preferred not to modify the pictures in post production, to keep the genuine state (or mistake) of art.

Here some snippets of the trip, enjoy.

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