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“Good grief,” I whispered to Manfriend. “I can’t even pronounce half these designers’ names.”

“I know, right? I feel like we’re about to be fined, just for staring at all this crap we could never afford.”


So went our walk through the Marina Bay Sands, one of the wealthiest complexes I had ever been in. Dressed in what I can only describe as “weary traveler chic,” I was shocked to have been allowed inside.

I mean, here was a collection of malls, hotels, and sights so high-end, you had to pay 100 Singapore Dollars to simply step foot in the casino. That’s 99 more than I’d even ever dream of gambling once I got in.

Nope, malls in Singapore were no joke.

At the airport alone, we were stunned by what must have been the largest water feature I’d ever seen. Pouring from the glass roof above, a circular waterfall gushed down to a pool below. All around the building’s dome were layers of trees and plants, an inter-airport train winding through the menagerie every few minutes.

From the ground floor, the whole thing was stunning, if a bit daunting. Was this really tucked inside an airport-adjacent shopping center? Oh yes, it was, alongside a dizzying hedge maze and sky nets and canopy walks far above the aforementioned pool.

And to think, most airports couldn’t even provide a few adjoining seats for a weary traveler to catch a few Z’s.

No, Singapore was a stylish one, where you’re never too far from an avid shopper’s paradise.

Yet there we were, two travelers that make a personal purchase once every few months, wandering from one glass-plated shopping center to another.

For us, though, it was all part of the trip. As we’ve been joking for years, Manfriend and I always seem to end up in a mall, no matter where we travel.

Odd, but true — we always end up in a shopping center at some point. Rarely to shop, of course — I want for very little other than books and new stationary. Perhaps, though, we need a quick bite, or an iced coffee. Perhaps it’s the free bathroom usage we require. Sometimes it’s simply for the reprieve from the Southeast Asian heat.

In Singapore, it was our only way to exit the damn subway.

Well, that and our best way to meet my friend who was passing through before returning to the U.S. With her staying at the most flashy of all, the aforementioned Marina Bay Sands, it was up to us to at least try to hide the sweat patches as we walked our woefully unfashionable bums down row after row of designer shops.

All part of the journey, I suppose, especially in a city like Singapore. And while it’s not exactly the edgy or adventurous part of any of our vacations, it’s sort of our comical tradition, now. Our odd twist during our otherwise rather adventurous travels.

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