Vacationing at the equator

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Yesterday I posted some photos, but was too l lazy to write anything, so I will remedy that.  Some weeks ago, a friend of mine who is a professor at the UW invited me to visit him in Singapore, as he is teaching his last class here before teaching fulltime at UW.  And I haven’t taken a vacation in a long time, I decided to go.  I was a bit worried about the travel – 3 hrs to Chicago by bus, 16 hours to Hong Kong by plane, and another 4 to Singapore – but I slept all right and felt okay getting in.  The first thing I noticed was that the half moon was rotated 90 degrees – it was more like a Chershire cat smile than what I was used to.  I got here about 2:00 am local time.

On Monday, I slept in a bit and then sat down by the pool while S. went to teach his class.  Actually, I walked around campus first and wandered around.  It was fun to look at the different trees and listen to the different birds – and dodge the occasional lizard that would scurry across my path.  But then, I walked by a bunch of preschoolers from the daycare across the street and there they all were in their little uniforms, singing “The Wheels on the Bus” in english.  But since Singapore decided that english would be the main language, I guess that means they teach the kids english songs as well.

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After swimming, I took a languid nap and waited for my friend.  We went to Dempsey Hill, which used to British barracks that they have since converted into restaurants and shops.  I had to try Chili Crab, though S. said that he was much more a fan of Black Pepper Crab.  That was pretty interesting.  I’ve dismembered and eaten plenty of lobsters in my lifetime, and those summers in Maine came in as good practice.  The crab is served whole, cracked in certain places for you to start, but it’s also slathered in chili sauce.  It’s as messy as eating ribs, but you need some serious lobster cracking skills to get to the meat.  My friend was impressed that I methodically ate the entire thing.

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Afterwards, we walked around the Muslim quarter.   There were plenty of hookah restaurants and I watched a girl get live coals for a brazier.  We’d walk through the tiny alleys and walk past people smoking hookah, the coals glowing on the top.  Then we stopped by a small bar that specializes in cocktails.  Despite Singapore’s sophistication, S. is convinced that there are only a few places in the city that are good for cocktails.  This place, there was no menu, so they just ask what kind of things you like.  Pretty awesome – I had this lovely rose-lemon-berry with frothy egg-white thing with flower petals and rosemary on top.  I need to start making stuff like that at home.

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