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I don't stop...
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Mom made it all the way to Singapore! Thanks to Corey for picking her up at the airport and getting her to our current apartment. He is a champ!
Mom travels so well. She came in about 1:00am and she and Corey made it back to the apartment after 2:00am. Although I did wake up enough to give her a big hug, I had a crazy work day coming up so back to bed I went. When they got to the apartment, Corey took Mom to the roof so she could get a view of Singapore at night. Our rooftop pool area is an amazing place. As you can see from the pic to the left we can view the Singapore Flyer and much of the downtown financial district from our current building. Later the day Mom arrived, I made it home for lunch and Mom was already up and ready to start exploring Singapore! Corey flew back to Thailand and Mom hung out at the pool and walked around the general area.
Over the first weekend I showed Mom how to use an MRT pass. Singapore has an amazing public transport system that includes trains, buses and cabs. It is actually very easy to get around, and if you aren't afraid to walk a little you can see a lot of Singapore on foot (locally we call that using Bus 11). Saturday Mom and I took a walking tour in Little India. It was so much fun! Our tour guide was a local guy named Bernard. His laugh was contagious! He was full of information, from the history of Singapore to current day politics and more. We learned a lot about his home town/country of Singapore and especially the Indian community since that was the focus of the tour. The pictures below are mostly from our Little India Walking Tour.
This lovely building is Raffles Hotel, named after the British founder of the colony in 1819. Up until that time the area had been under the rule of India, Thailand, the Portuguese, Dutch, Malaysia, and more. Singapore gained it's independence in 1965. Much of the city was destroyed during WW2 bombing raids by the Japanese but some very wonderful little neighborhoods remain. I have been lucky enough to find a small apartment in what is called the "Arab Quarter." Mom will help me move this coming weekend. It is an area of mostly renovated shophouses that are clustered around the oldest Mosque in Singapore. Just down the street is a lovely old Catholic church and both Buddhist and Hindu Temples are just a few blocks further. Singapore is a wonderful melting pot of cultures. Mom and I took a Hop on- Hop Off Bus Tour around the city this past Saturday. It was a great way to get your bearings and see the city from an open topped bus! Here are some pics of our adventure.
We saw many of the main landmarks of Singapore and spent some time in Chinatown walking around as well.
Our last stop on Saturday night was down at Marina Bay. We had taken the train to watch the light show, which is well worth the effort, and happened upon the Singapore Jazz Festival. The main stage was right in front of the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. We were standing, elbows over the fence that was keeping the non-paying observers out, and a nice guy asked, "would you want some free tickets to the concert?" Well, anyone that knows me, knows how fast I said, "YES!" He handed us two passes and pointed us in the direction of the entrance. I asked, "Why us?" He answered with a smile and a twinkle in his eye, "Why not?"
What a treat! We relinquished our tickets for RFID bracelets, very Singapore, and were able to catch 3 acts. The first was an amazing singer named Allen Stone. He was from the US and his band was excellent. Mom and I both loved him, his music, and even more so... his vibe. We then were lucky enough to hear James Morrison and his band. He could play about any horn available as well as other instruments. The closing act was none other than than the amazing India Arie! Some of her songs literally brought tears to our eyes as she is one of the most soulful singers I have heard in a long time. What a night!
Well, I finally resigned from my current position after spending almost 10 years with Alaris products. I had hoped to be transferred in some manner to SE Asia but it just hasn't happened. I will remain in Aussie for 2 months fulfilling my contract obligations as to the resignation notice. While finishing up I will be lucky enough to visit Hobart, Tasmania and Queenstown, NZ as well as spend a week in Singapore. No moss grows on my tail!
We will see what happens from here but I do plan on being with Corey for the holidays. That will be awesome!
I had mentioned that Corey is currently in India and has been sending me snippets of his experience by email. Sorry I don't have any pictures but will add when Corey posts some. Here are bit of what he has shared. Enjoy!
Email 1) "I got to Delhi without drama. My host picked me up about an hour late, thank Buddha my Thai phone worked on roaming for incoming calls........ then we went to a food court for supper. All kinds of foods I have never seen...mostly bread and vegie pasty stuff and some salty minty flavored broth to drink like clear soup... surprisingly good.
I am staying at the family mansion..... in the guest room. there is a mum and dad, a couple of brothers and my host.
Tomorrow it is road trip to our destination.
Email 2) "I just had lassi made from fresh milk they bring a cow to the door every other day they boil the milk make butter make oil and drinking milk lassi is made from the curd add water and sugar-- very tasty!"
Email 3) "It is now daytime and the world of India has changed from congested world city to countryside farms. Colorful brick and cinder block structures all mounted with rollup metal garage doors.
Animals everywhere…. Cows delivering fresh milk… yes … warm and fresh.. some offer diy option. Camels instead of donkeys pulling carts loaded with colorful textiles and metal building materials. Goats on the tether waiting to be purchased for Sunday dinner…. Pigs over 200 lbs snorting as they scour the discarded garbage for a bite to eat.
None seem undernourished….
A Hindu tradition is to offer a small bit of food to stray animals before eating a meal. In the city the devout will put a bite on an altar for birds or a small plate outside for the larger creatures. Even a drop of scotch is splashed before enjoying a drink.
Drove through Jaipur--the pink city… buildings made from local stone are all natural pink. Then suddenly the landscape is wide and open… white and maroon temples are perched on the peaks of low barren mountains which ring the valley… a lake with reeds, not a tree over 5 meters, rocky boulder hillsides remind me of Simi Valley California.
Handmade fences or walls separate the horizon into irregular plots showing the human need for boundaries…
I see in-progress construction/destruction everywhere…. The two lane highway winds over the hills, now only a hundred miles south of Pakistan.
9 am—uniformed children marching in groups, some crowded onto tuk-tuks… some waiting expectantly for the Monday ride to school…..
Getting gasoline again…. The first gas stop involved a complex merging into lanes for cars for filling, then an exit queue back to the road that included air filling for the tires payment and payment for the petrol.. during the wait we noticed the debit card was not to be found… this minor problem was solved when a brother brought a spare card from the home.. just as we reached the front of the line…
Next stop did not accept any credit or debit cards… the atm machine was closed ( roll up garage door) onwards to another village…needle on E.
How many blind curves is one allotted in life??? Passing every vehicle the driver swerves along the highway…. he owns the on-coming lane and relies on the quality of Toyota engineered suspension systems... Speed increases….the kilometers start to click away……
Suddenly, traffic stops.. brakes squeal… steering wheels spin… a young camel looks left moves right…. IMPACT… metal bends…. The unfortunate humpback flips away. The old man in white robe and turban, his face aghast with surprise. The driver hesitates, then drives on. The old mans face changes to rage….his walking cane aiming for glass finds a rear view mirror. The driver is relieved to not have a view of the fading carnage.
We drive on awhile…. I am in shock at the hit and run. I say nothing. It is time to wear Buddha Luang Poo and my closing pin for better luck .
Finally, at the destination… Deesa….. try Google maps… not far from the southern border of Pakistan.
This town and my assigned room is exactly what I expected from India…. 1 star…….loud ( I brought earplugs and meds)…. Good thing I brought my own TP. Now to buy some water before brushing teeth…. More later…. It has been a long day and I need forgiveness for a young camel……"
Email 4) "Today I will begin to open my mind to new things..... When I asked where to buy some TP... I was told that people in India do not use TP.
And there is no bidet hose......... No shit !!!!! Only can hold out so long....... I am not shaking anyone by the hand again..."
Email 5) "Everything you have heard about India's lack of sanitary facilities is under reported. Even the very weathly (like millioniare old money rich) used the bushes today.... enough said
It has been a good experience, and interesting nightlife as this a dry state and a vegetarian only state. What would you expect from Ghandi's home area.... I am still a strange sight to most people, it is my 15 min to be a rock star.. I will take what I get... but not someplace I want to live much longer.
I have had garbonzo beans and tomatoes every way you can imagine. Tasty but still garbonzo beans ... and the side dishes are made from potatos and lentils. Everything is served with a think bread like a tortilla with grease..... I have learned to like buttermilk and milk curd yogurt... very cooling. Today I had a treat-- bananas!!!!!! I got two.... yeah! the first fresh fruit since I got here.
The people are really nice and my hosts are generous ..... I have been to some Hindu temples, a couple of festival dances and tomorrow is a major holiday (breaking a 9 day fasting for the whole country and particularly this region) so you see I am finding the spectacular things in the fog ..."
Stay tuned for more from Skybaduba and Sailgirl... aka Corey and Peggy
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