It’s tough to be a tourist when you can’t see across the street. And as you can tell by these photos, “can’t see across the street” is not just a figure of speech.
Singapore is covered with smoke. Thick, eye-burning, lung-scorching smoke caused by large-scale burning on the Indonesia islands of Sumatra and Borneo. Our friend Tom told us that they’re burning down jungles and bogs in order to plant palm oil trees and the prevailing winds blow the smoke across the strait into Singapore.
It looks like the city is covered with a thick layer of gauze. We literally can’t see across the street. We’re supposed to stay indoors. Many of the residents who do venture outside are wearing surgical masks.
A PSI (Pollutant Standard Index) reading over 100 indicates unhealthy air. Today’s measurement in Singapore was over 400. No one was supposed to go outside unless it was absolutely necessary. So, of course, we went out and tried to do everything. And failed. Our major accomplishment of the day was walking to the mall across the street from our hotel to have lunch with Singapore friends Tom and Kelly.
The top photo is Singapore’s most iconic building, the Marina Bay Sands, hidden in the thick smoke. The bottom photo is what it is supposed to look like.
The view out our hotel window. There’s a huge, beautiful city out there, but you’d never know it.