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Any international air travel brings an element of lifestyle disruption. Things are bound to be different where you arrive, the flight may be tiring, and even the time different.

These things are common truths. I, however, defy anybody to come up with more of a disorientating journey than Mumbai Saturday into Singapore Sunday.

To Mumbai airport I travelled by TukTuk wearing a smog mask as primary pollution defence. The journey is uncomfortable, unpredictable, unsafe and still wildly enjoyable. The fare is negotiated by fending one’s way through various inevitable tourist rip-offs.
In Singapore, leaving the airport requires a trip on the immaculate and whisper quiet MRT (Mass Rapid Transport) train. The fare is set, and tickets available at a touchscreen map machine. Everybody stands in line in the marked queue sections, despite there only being four passengers.

Mumbai’s accomodating spirit is felt in it’s top class hotels. Sadly it’s budget offerings leave more to be desired. As a result, my 8bed dorm is empty on all but one night.
Singapore’s hostel has a ‘no shoes’ policy to keep things orderly. And with 28 guests, order is the name of the game here. Clearly the hot showers, free breakfast and widescreen nintendo wii have kept many a resident many a night.

Crossing Mumbai’s roads always puts life in danger. It is a walk of faith that vehicles will not run you over, but with little alternatives you have to try. Traffic lights, when evident, are optional guidelines.
Jaywalking is reportedly illegal in Singapore. You can get away with it, but only just. Signs encouraging safe road use hem every pavement.

Mumbai’s residents notice tourists. Whether they would like to sell you a chess set or have their photo taken with you, you can be sure someone is always watching your every move.
Singaporeans, by contrast, seem disinterested in foreigners. Perhaps that’s what comes from being a colony of expats. If you ask for help, it’s provided in bucketloads.

I’ve just about adjusted to the change, but am still bursting with enthusiasm at the prospect of some dirt in my next port of call; Melacca, Malaysia.

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