Singapore’s Arab Street

11 Feb
Directly under the turret of the main mosque

Directly under the turret of the main mosque

My new job won’t have me going to Singapore quite as much as the old one, but I still needed to take a trip there in January to meet the team and some of my key accounts.  It was a whirlwind of a trip (only 3 nights) – I had a long list of people I wanted to see and was also determined to fit in a couple of personal connections if at all possible.

One evening I managed a dinner with a friend and former colleague, going out to Sentosa and sharing a Greek dinner that reminded me of our time in Santorini, but it was the last day at lunch right before my trip to the airport that I managed to see my oldest friend in Singapore.

Ironically, my oldest friend in Singapore has only lived there a year – she used to live in Shanghai and has recently relocated there with her family, but no matter – I wanted to catch up.

Looking at the map, I realized that our office was within walking distance of Singapore’s Arab Street – an area that I had not yet explored during my many visits as it is not strictly located in the downtown area.  We confirmed a time and place to meet and I walked over to meet her.

The arches and domes make me think of Turkey or Mecca

The arches and domes make me think of Turkey or Mecca

Our meeting place was the mosque at the center of the district and so I followed the turret through the streets selling rugs and fabric and other knick knacks.  I was attracted by a display of brass lamps, but pressed on – knowing there was no space in my luggage.

A row of murals lining the streets

A row of murals lining the streets

Closer to the mosque there was a series of murals, delicate images of exploration, roses, and of course, oil – ubiquitous with that part of the world.

Delicate details in the fresco paintings

Delicate details in the fresco paintings

We met and walked a bit to find a place for an Arabic lunch and talked and talked and talked until I had to leave for a conference call and then my flight.

Before I left I snapped this photo of the history of the street.  I would go back – it’s a different take on Singapore and one I enjoyed.  It is interesting to think how the street, named after somewhere in Iraq, was the gathering place for many years for pilgrims from this part of the world to go on their journey to Mecca.

A little history of the area

A little history of the area

The combination of cultures and food in Singapore makes me happy each time I go.  Its balance of Eastern and Middle Eastern and Western make it easy to feel like each day is an adventure.  What part of Singapore attracts you?

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One Response to “Singapore’s Arab Street”

  1. expatlingo February 11, 2014 at 8:53 pm #

    The three things about Singapore that attract me are: (1) relatively clean air; (2) spoken Mandarin and English; and (3) good Indian food. I haven’t ever been to Arab Street though!

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