'Get in ma belly, belly!'

Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Singapore  ,
Thursday, November 9, 2006

'Only after the last tree has been cut down...
Only after the last river has been poisoned...
Only after the last fish has been caught...
Only then will you find that money, cannot be eaten...'

- An old Cree Indian saying

By the time I'd dragged myself out of bed this morning I'd regained a bit of strength, so I headed out with Louis after breakfast for a last chance bout of sightseeing. I'd still got the shits but decided to chance it. We spent the day making full use of Singapore's MRT line, a highly efficient and fully automated underground railway network which had us to-ing and fro-ing around the city...

...where we wound up at Singapore Zoo, among the best in the world so we were told, and where we spent the afternoon leisurely whiling away the hours among the lush tropical vegetation, cooing over binturongs, mere cats, two-toed sloths and fruit bats. We even stopped to chomp on a dodgy looking chicken curry which I shovelled down, determined to force my system into conforming.

By late afternoon we'd made it back into the city and took a tram over to Ang Mo Kio, a modest little area of the suburbs which boasted 'the cheapest Japanese food in Singapore!' We entered. We sat down. We ate a whole load of raw sashimi and tempura, and washed it all down with green tea and miso. I'll never know if it was the cheapest or not but it was a feast. And I was eating again so was happier than a kid on Christmas day.

Louis isn't like a lot of people. He's one of a very rare breed: entirely selfless, thoroughly giving and a pleasure to be around. He's one of those people who are so nice it almost makes you cringe and shake your head. He's originally from Borneo and now lives and works quite happily in Kuala Lumpur. He's here in Singapore on holiday. Louis is humble. He has moments of silence where he likes to regard things thoughtfully. He starts most sentences with a great deal of thought before starting with the words 'I mean...' and on side profile he has a slightly protruding bottom lip. He's the Bubba to my Forrest Gump. He gets jokes a little longer after they're delivered, much like Joey Tribbiani. I like Louis. I had a great day with him today in Singapore and I'll remember it fondly.

By this evening I was feeling much better, which was just as well as I had an important rendezvous to make. After a couple of beers in the hostel with Louis and Shannon I took a taxi over to Holland Village to meet Kit. Before I left New Zealand I'd registered and setup a profile
on 'couchsurfing.com' and put out a few couchsurf requests. I didn't have much luck this time round as many hosts were out of town or otherwise engaged. A couple of them however, offered to show me round and see the sights. Kit was one of them.

Having just spent the evening watching a live local band, sharing stories and discovering different cultures, I can say without doubt that tonight has been the Singapore revival that I needed and a huge dollop of icing on the Asian cake.

We left the 'Walawala' not long after midnight and decided we needed a feed. After a quick butchers at one of the local eateries Kit decided for us. We drove for miles to a local Teo Kiew 'coffee shop' for dinner. Though she's Singaporean, Kit's ancestry is chinese - Teo Chew chinese - and she thought it would be a good idea for me to dine authentically. This excited me beyond measure and by 2am we were sat at a table by the side of the road somewhere in the dark suburbs, with a sizeable selection of Teo Kiew dishes splayed out in front of us next to our porridge bowl.

'Interesting' really isn't the word. After polishing off what I could, Kit proudly revealed to me what my body was now digesting - 'pig's stomach' being one of them. 'Interesting', still, is the only word that comes to mind. But the experience was amazing. I was so lucky to experience something truly authentic, which to me, is exactly what all this is about. Kit was a pleasure to spend time with, and very different to what I'd expected proving once again how unnecessary it is to have expectations. I'd assumed that there might be a bit of a language barrier, certainly a humour barrier, but I was very much mistaken. She was quick witted, alarmingly sarcastic and spoke perfect English, as well as Malay, Mandarin and another language I can't remember right now. And like other Asians I've met in my time, she was highly considerate with a huge giving spirit. I can only be thankful..
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