Greetings from Singapore! After many hours of travel, I safely made it to Singapore in the wee hours of the morning. Long flights are, well, long, but this trip was not particularly painful. No fussy babies, for which I believe the whole plane was thankful.
Once the sun began to rise, I hopped on the MRT (Singapore’s clean and highly efficient subway system) en route to Little India, where I am staying for the next couple days. Despite lack of sleep I spent today exploring with Lonely Planet’s Pocket Singapore as my guide. That book was one of my better investments. It led me to several ornate Hindu temples and even more bustling marketplaces. My favorite was the Thieve’s Market, which had all kinds of neat old junk and piles of clothes to paw through. There were probably some treasures to be had there, if only I knew what I was looking at. Bugis Street Market was a maze of little shops, reminiscent of Bangkok’s sprawling odes to consumption. The Wet Market in the morning was a heady swirl of exotic foods and spices. It was really quite pleasant, once you get past the fish mongers and butchers on the perimeter.
At the moment I am in the Muslim quarter of Little India, where I have been wandering this afternoon looking at fabrics and drinking Teh C, or tea with sugar and condensed milk. Now I am on the second floor of a shop, which has a small internet cafe in a family’s living quarters. There are three computers. I am on the middle one, sitting between two boys that are seven or eight years old. They are playing a multi-player lego-like game. A younger sister watches them and two other little ones are playing in the background. The voice of the muezzin at the Sultan’s Mosque drifted in the window not too long ago, and the whole family assembled for prayer. They must be used to having visitors as my presence is entirely unnoticed.
People in Singapore, these kids included, do speak English. However, it can be heavily accented and is often sprinkled with or entirely taken over by a mix of other languages. In attempting to communicate and navigate, I feel totally fresh off the boat. But all is going well, one smile at a time.
Now time to head next door and check out Blu Jaz Cafe, where hopefully they will have some live music and good wine. Cheers!