Loitering around cities

I like it most when I get to walk around cities. And I always walk a lot when I am visiting a new place. I could walk or jog all the way from Pitt Street to George Street, Martin Place to Sydney Opera House, before getting up Harbour Bridge. But I haven’t figured out how to walk from University of Sydney to University of New South Wales.

In Taipei I used to walk from NTNU to NTU and Da’an Forest Park. And I am planning to walk longer distance – perhaps from NTNU to Taipei 101 – when I revisit again.

In Hong Kong island, I could walk from Central Library all the way to North Point, have dinner and put my bag into my tiny homestay room, before I walk down King’s Road again. Along the way I’ll pass by Taikoo Place and Tai Koo Shing Road, before I arrived at Cityplaza. Walking from Hong Kong Coliseum in Hong Hum to Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui is good too.

But when I was visiting Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam last month, I did not find the pleasure in walking at all. The traffic was so terrible that vehicles came from every direction regardless of the traffic light. As my NTNU friend put it, you have to have ‘your own capability’ to cross the roads. So I stayed indoor a lot during the three-day trip.

And this week I visited Singapore, a city where I rediscovered the joy of walking. I took the MRT only once, and I walked all around. Orchard, The Istana, Plaza Singapura, Singapore Management University (SMU), Suntec City, not forgetting museums scattering around that area too. When I was entering the city state, I told the Customs officer that I have no Singapore address to fill in the immigration disembarkation card (white card). I told him where I would be loitering around, and he advised me to write ‘Marina’.

It was quite an accurate geographical term, given that all downtown landmarks spread throughout that whole area. On the MRT map they might seem quite far apart from each other, but in fact they are all within walking distance – which justifies the trouble to bring along a camera for my next trip.

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