India is a severe and unforgiving place; the disintegrating roads and buildings, the chaos of traffic, the dirt and pollution, the extreme poverty. Even the sacred cows, who could be very happy about not being eaten, stand on piles of litter eating the rotting refuse. Whole families have made their homes on the pavements and send their kids into the traffic to beg for a few Rupees.
Sure there are beautiful temples and colourful saris, a vibrancy and buzz of people, not to mention Bollywood movies; but the reality cannot be hidden, and we had seen enough (and had enough curry). So we cut our time short and headed to Bali, via Singapore.
I did not realise how extreme the contrast would be. I was shocked. The immigration hall at Singapore Airport was so immaculately clean you could have licked its shiny marble floors. In fact I was so excited by the change in our circumstances, I was nearly tempted to do just this! And this was just the start.
The taxis are air-conditioned, the roads are lined with manicured gardens, and the high-rises are painted. There is no litter. Anywhere. The public toilets function, the buses are efficient and easy to use. The architecture…well the architecture is spectacular! And you can eat, without fear!
Crime is low, laughable by South African standards. A police sign was placed outside a high-rise complex. A bicycle had been stolen here on a particular day and the police were looking for information from the public. That’s right folks; one bicycle stolen…and the police looking for information. I’m in awe.