I'm living in an apartment right on the Singapore River, which is a pleasant view to see each morning. Ever since I got here, there's been a tent fairly close by, filled with workers, welders and paper animals. Pink dolphins, blue sharks, random dragon parts.
This week, it actually started getting put into place. On the bridges and on the path lining the river, it's all being set up. And it's pretty neat- they're all wire-framed, with a thin cloth covering, and they've got lights inside. When they're lit up, it's very colorful and interesting. I originally thought it had to do with the national holiday this Tuesday, but I learned late this week that they're actually for a Chinese Lantern Festival, which is something totally different.
The Lantern Festival apparently starts in mid-September, so it looks like I'll get to see more of these lanterns for the next few weeks.
The holiday on Tuesday is Eid, which is the end of Ramadan. It has a different name here, something like Hara Raya Puyasa, but I'm too lazy to go look it up. It's a public holiday and everyone is off work, but I'm getting the impression it's not a holiday with a lot of activity.
My guidebook has an interesting description of an Indian temple up in (shockingly) Little India, so today I tried to make my way there. This was to be after a stroll through Ft. Canning Park, which is right by my place.
First I was attacked by the narcosleepy. I woke up as usual around 8, had a nice breakfast of super happy fun time Lucky Charms, and then promptly fell back asleep. Until 2pm. I was out of it. Soooo tiiiiired. I couldn't begin to say why, since it's not like I'm super active or anything (although I did actually go to the gym a few times last week, huzzah).
Housekeeping comes by on Tuesdays, Thursdays....and Saturdays. Fortunately I was coherent enough this morning to put the Do Not Disturb sign out before falling asleep. UNfortunately, after waking up I got a healthy dose of guilt and 'oh man, I hope this is not what it seems like.' I woke up, got ready, and headed out the door. And on the steps outside my place is the cleaning lady. With a genuine smile on her face, "oh- are you done?". Say...what now? It's like 230, lady. "You're the last place I need to clean, then I can go home." As I said, oh man. Now, her English wasn't 100%. But I'm trying to ask if she's been waiting outside for me to wake up and take the Do Not Disturb sign down. And trying to ask if there's a time where she's allowed to just skip my place. I'm getting nowhere- she's just ready to clean. My only hope is that she wasn't sitting on my steps for the past few hours, waiting for this slacker to finally wake up and go about seeing more of this country on the other side of the world.
So off to Ft. Canning and Little India. Having been to Ft. Canning once already, I was excited to make it a 'regular' place to go. I knew I hadn't walked through the whole thing, so today I'd discover more. The problem was that apparently I HAD walked through the whole thing. It's not a big park, and there wasn't much new to see. The main difference was that today it was raining and very windy. I've brought my umbrella, but it's on the cheap side, and it's not friends with the wind.
Leaving the park, I headed north to Little India. I had looked at my map prior to leaving, and had a general idea of where I was going. I walked until my feet hurt, saw almost nothing of interest, got tired of the wind and rain, and decided to call it a day. In Atlanta, weather like this would have called for a day of movies and sitting around. When I reviewed my map after getting home, to see just where I'd gone, I made the discovery that I'd stopped my trip right at the border of Little India. I hadn't even made it there. That's ok, as it means something to do another time.
Now I'm home, had dinner at a nearby Thai place. I ordered the spicy fried rice, and received a plate of rice and seafood that had been soaked in kerosene. I used to seriously avoid spicy food, but now I really like it. When it's that spicy though, I run into a problem. I remembered this problem approximately two bites in: hiccups. Eating really spicy food (and getting drunk) is a surefire way for me to start hiccuping. Which I do. Because drinks are precious and have to be cherished, my only relief is one can of Pepsi Light (which, for the record, I ordered as a "yeah, Pepsi's fine" after ordering Coke, and apparently "Pepsi's Fine" was interpreted as "Pepsi Light", but whatever). I think my stomach and lungs turned inside out from these hiccups, and it's possible I started convulsing in my chair. But in the end, it was a good meal, and maybe I even built up the spice tolerance a bit.
(a final note: after dinner, I turned on HBOAsia and caught the end of Rocky III, because that's what passes for something that should be on HBO here. I'm happy to report that Rocky III might have the single most unrealistic boxing scene committed to film. Round 1 is Sylvester Stallone punching Mr. T about 50 times, Mr. T missing on EVERY SINGLE PUNCH, and yet he's totally fine. Round 2 is the reverse, with Mr. T absolutely destroying Rocky, and at one point actually grabbing Rocky and throwing him into the corner. The ref seems to think this is okay, and thus I now determine that Rocky 3 is the grandfather of MMA fights. Rocky 3 is ridiculous.)