Singapore Slinging It

Trip Start Oct 01, 2007
Trip End Apr 21, 2008

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Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I'm Back!!! Sorry for the absence but I arrived in Singapore on Tuesday morning at 6 am and went right to work. Being on the road finally caught up to me and I was exhausted my first weekend here. I only managed to get to the Raffles Hotel for a Singapore Sling than back to work. I AM on a business trip after all. I know, I have to keep reminding myself of that as well. But it looks like I got my second wind and finally have started to have some fun in this fine city.

Singapore is like New York City but on valium and with a contingent of Merry Maids. Things are very modern and very attractive. My first weekend I only managed to get around the corner to the Raffles Hotel and have the famous Singapore Sling in its birthplace. I could almost feel Charlie Chaplin sitting next to me...though he looked a lot like Robert Downey Jr., which is just fine by me. After that it was lounging around the hotel pool diligently trying to get through the 957 page Memoirs of Cleopatra. After a week at work, I decided to grab a few beers Thursday at the Boat Quay right near the office and right on the Singapore River. As I headed back to the hotel, I realized what a long week I had and felt every beer I just drank, so instead of hoofing back to the hotel as planned I jumped in a bicycle cab. Oh my. I couldn't quite understand the driver's name, so we decided it was okay if I called him "Tango"....with a rubber ducky attached to the handle bars acting as the horn and Laura Branigan resonating from speakers below my seat we headed back to the Oriental. Nothing like cruising the streets of Singapore with the tune, "How am I supposed to Live Without You" blaring to make you feel cool. But I haven't laughed that hard since in a long time and it alleviated my fears when he pulled right into oncoming traffic.

Saturday morning I headed out on a harbor cruise on some large Chinese Junk boat. A little touristy for my taste but a nice way to get on the water and see some sites. There are tons of huge cargo ships in the harbor and than the very Disneyesque Sentosa Island. After that we pulled up to Kuso Island. Apparently the legend states that two shipwrecked sailors were rescued by a turtle who turned into an island. I think it was just two guys out for a night on the town that smoked too much opium and had to come up with a "plausible" story to tell their wives. It was pretty little place with a tortoise sanctuary...well a pit that had a bunch of turtles/tortoises in it. But they were cute. After that I headed to Katong, a Peranakan neighborhood that was supposed to let me experience some local culture off the beaten track. After being in India for over 3 weeks, my idea of off the beaten track has definitely changed. All I saw was food, food and more food. Unfortunately, it was very hot and I had no appetite. So, I will have to go back to stall 49 for what looked like amazing Laksa later. I did however stumble on a Sri Lankan Hindu temple dedicated to Ganesh, the elephant-headed god. They invited me in to look around. It is an active temple and not a tourist spot, so it was really cool to just walk around and see the "monks" (I'm sorry I don't know the correct name) doing what they do and making offerings and seeing people worship.

After that it was off to the Malaysian village for some entertainment. I have to admit, this is something I was looking forward to since I got to Singapore. Apparently every Saturday night they host a traditional Malay dance called Kuda Kepang. It was about a two hour show and in the midst of it the guy dancers go into some kind of trance (heavily induced I am sure by whatever was in that incense they were inhaling) and ate glass, butted their heads on metal poles and shards of glass, they than walked on. They also got whipped throughout the whole thing. It kinda reminded me of college...frat parties, sorority socials and football Saturdays at Laine, Leslie and my apartment....just kidding=)! Actually it was very cool. The whole audience besides myself was Malay or local Singaporeans, so it was a total local experience. I apologize but it was not cool to take pictures so I can only tell you about it.

I have a few more plans before I head back to the States for Thanksgiving on Wednesday and will do my best to update before I leave. 
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