Saturday, April 02, 2005

City Of The Lion

So here I am in Singapore, and I must say it is a refreshing change from the indolence of the Outback where life crawls at a snail's pace compared to the bustle of this little island state. The view when flying in was enough to convince me of that: hundreds of container boats aligned neatly around the island, which itself is covered in a mat of highrise apartments. Singapore is a retail mecca that surpasses any place I have visited so far, with dodgy fallen-off-the-back-of-a-truck markets all the way to ultra-chic designer boutiques. It is also a good place to start my Asian exploits as it eases you into the region gently. First and foremost because there is no language barrier, English is de rigeur everywhere except perhaps at food stalls where all you need to do is just point anyway; and that's not the only place the British have left their mark, as slap-bang in the centre of town, amidst all the skyscrapers is the Padang, a lush oasis amongst the hubbub that happens to house the grounds of the Singapore cricket club. Ah yes, you know the English have been there when you can find cricket, double-decker buses and civilised 3-pronged electric sockets. Ah, bliss.

Another joy of Singapore is the food. Not only is it affordable (finally I have allowed myself to depart from my Australian diet of peanut butter and honey sandwiches (which, amazingly, I was still enjoying to the last when I left Darwin)) but also of very good quality. I could spend hours just wandering around the hawker stalls looking at the weird and wonderful food on display, having a nibble here and a taste there. Unfortunately one of the first things I tried here was a soup that was made from fish stock (for those of you who don't know, I happen to be allergic to fish, though luckily the condition is far from fatal). Somehow I think that such an occurrence is not going to be a one off.

I also experienced something today that I had not seen since Sydney: rain. Quite a lot of it in fact. It caught me rather unawares after 6 weeks of drought, and I had to rummage all the way to the bottom of my rucksack to get at my boots and get the mothballs out of them. Again, I think the dry days are over for quite some time too.

P.S. I haven't been adding to my photo album as regularly as I'd like (being dependant on people I meet for digital photos), but I've just added a few pictures from Oz (thanks to Doug and Pika) and even a few from Mexico (finally!). My favourite is the one with me and the spider. It's very big. The web completely covered the path. We were scared.

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