Uncle Ho's Rest-oran

Trip Start Sep 09, 2004
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Singapore  ,
Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Kit met me at the MRT station. Her hair growth and my weight gain almost had us walking past each other - a good indicator of what eighteen months can do. For the last week or so I've been staying with her folks out west. Whilst the ever-so-slight language barrier has generated some great entertainment I cannot express just how generous and beautiful these people are. Then again I can't say I've ever hung out with a couple of 71 year olds before, but seriously, it's been a real joy and an absolute hoot. We've spent hours talking randomly, making dinner, eating dinner, sharing our subtle differences and concocting great money-making schemes for the future.

Kit's been a proper star too. I was impressed the last time by her razor sharp one-liners but she's been dishing out as much sarcastic banter as a real McCoy ducker and diver. What's more is she's thoroughly selfless, and has made the whole experience what it is - along with those delightful parentals of hers. And they haven't given me the slightest bit of slack or afforded me so much as an inch of getting off the Singaporean hook. I've been immersed in day-to-day retired Chinese life, objection or not. One night I got back and they had me break open a durian on the living room floor and eat it all up. If you've ever eaten durian you'll know exactly what contortions my face went through before I swallowed that first mouthful. Some people compare the smell to that of dead festering rats, others to that of last month's kitchen waste. Chewing through that stale 'old-cheese' creaminess and swallowing it down with a hearty smile of gratitude is quite a task, I can tell you.

Have to say it's been a refreshing change not seeing many westerners around. This surprised me initially, and I figured it was just the luck of the draw - but having spent a good bit of time flitting from here to there on the MRT line and local bus routes it seems that Singapore isn't exactly overrun with Ang Mo. Not that it would be really. Singapore after all is basically a busy-arse hub to the rest of the Asian continent. Most visitors give themselves a couple of days or so, or at best - a good three or four, which is more than the guidebooks reckon you need. Shame really as Singapore isn't THAT bad, and while there isn't a whole lot to see and do here you can still while away a few days on the beach down at Sentosa, haggle over cutting edge electronics, pore over the temples or sample the local culinary delights of the many hawker centres that abound the island. That or shopping. It's all about shopping here. Singaporeans by nature are shameless marketing victims and masters in the art of decisionless (brainwashed) purchasing of absurdly unnecessary goods and services.

The island of Singapore is a big big bubble - a mecca - of consumerism. Ride the bus or train for just a few minutes and you'll soon discover that you're the only one (at least in my case) who isn't singularly devoted to their highly futuristic hand-held device, of which anything but the very latest technology is utterly unacceptable. It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if they actually eat their kuay teow with Louis Vuitton chopsticks, I just haven't looked closely enough. If only they knew that there is actually a world out there.

That said, the food's been a big eye-opener and a great introduction to what's in store for the next leg of the journey. I've been chowing down all sorts of weird and wonderful stuff, including carrot cake (nothing to do with carrots), bak kut teh (pork rib tea), sambal prawn, nasi lemak, grass jelly, siew mai, bitter gourds stuffed with tangy fish, eggplant smothered in chilli oil, nasi brani, yam cake, chee cheong fun, delectable buttery pratas, pig's liver, pig's kidney and pig's tongue, potato leaves, frog soup, shit loads of murtabak, sugar cane juice, spicy sardine puffs, lontong, deep fried squids heads and a very interesting Penang style laksa that almost took my head off. Welcome to Asiaaaaa baby!

As I write this I'm sprawled out nicely on the beach down here at Sentosa. The sun's stinging and I'm sweating like an agitated pig. You'd think that having the sea just a few feet away would be a godsend, but really it isn't. The water here is as close and constricting as the humid air that clings to your every pore. It's insane.

I've just took a call from the folks in Spain. All is good, so I'm dropping an ice cold Asahi down my neck and having a bit of a smile. In a couple of days I'll be having another batch of vaccines that will see me through the more remote parts of Indonesia and Malaysia. Never thought I'd see the day where I'd be keen to get a few generous doses of rabies.

Anyway, this heat is mental. I'm going back in. Catch yers..
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Where I stayed
Uncle Ho's place
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wakingdream on

I swear
Uncle Ho has got a million + places throughout Asia! :)
Happy to read the moving on and see the brightly captured paintings of reality on the other side. Onward and upward North now huh? Indonesia, Malaysia, such favorites of mine! Then upward farther into the southeast Asian abyss of good times, more beautiful people and places and food that will definitely NOT keep you on any kind of diet that includes LESS food!!

I keep telling Bean all about the magical places and can't wait for the day to share them with him too. He better grow fast and strong because he's got some miles to put put behind him yet! He's moving about like the dickens now, prodding and kicking, and I know he can hardly wait to get out and experience this lovely world he keeps hearing about.

Glad to know you're well. There's still that bright sparkle in your eyes and that's all I need to see to know that you are doing much more than just fine :)

Love to You From Us xo

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