Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Meeeeeees, Meeeeeees, Where You From????

I am now in Singapore and after my first day, my senses are in complete overdrive. Today, i experienced so many sights, sounds and smells that I do not know where to begin.

To briefly report, the flight was mediocre. I am choosing not to fly Qantas any longer (unless I have to). No more Flying Kangaroo for me, I am afraid. Their service was average (in fact, at times, it was non existent) and within two hours of the flight, the In Flight Entertainment System malfunctioned and we spent four out of the seven hours without movies. In the grand scheme of things, it wasnt a major disaster but when you are stuck sitting in the same position for seven hours, that In Flight Entertainment System becomes your best friend (as opposed to the stranger next to you!).

I woke up this morning after sleeping very well in the spare single bed my new flatmate Bart had found for me to sleep on. I was prepared to sleep on the cold, hard floor but was pleasantly surprised when i arrived. Excited about the new day, I got up early and showered and dressed quickly (in fact, I was up earlier than the two other flatmates!).

I headed on off to the local shopping mall - the monolithic Mustafa Centre, the 24 hour 7 level shopping mecca full of everything and anything you can think of. I managed to get the basics required for my apartment (clothes rack, washing basket, clothes hanger etc) but soon became overwhelmed by the small dark aisles packed full of goods and needed to get out (how am I ever going to be a true Singaporean shopper?!).

Suffering from cabin fever, I decided to go back to my apartment and spent some time folding and organising my clothes. I really love my apartment. It is located in bustling Little India (more on that below) and it is like an Oasis in the middle of chaos. There are water features, seated areas, manicured gardens, birds, flowers, pool lounges, and inconspicuous security guards that keep the public out.

After a short wander around, I decided that it was time to get my training back on track and went on down to the "Clubhouse", the apartment's gym facilities (along with a bowling alley, tennis court, putting green, 50m pool, billiard table and much more!). There will be no need to go to city gyms when all of this is at my doorstep!

Once finished at the gym, I decided that I would do a bit of tourist activity and look around Little India and the Arab Quarter. These two areas are the more authentic cultural centres of Singapore, with dirty alleys as opposed to manicured gardens of inner city Singapore.

Little India is photographic heaven and so sumptuously cultural, as it is the focal point of Singapore's Indian community. Silk Saris shops line the streets and you cannot escape the lingering spices that float through the air. As opposed to the straight laced inner city, people roam Little India without order, cars toot loudly and bicycles weave in and out onto paths. There is the "Asian Mayhem" that I certainly expected whenever I thought of Asia. I know that, no matter how many times I will walk through Little India over the next 12 months, there will always be something new to see. I spent the rest of the day in the Arab Quarter, looking at the Masjid Mosque and its surroundings. The amazing thing about Singapore is that so many cultures and so many religions live peacefully, side by side.

Lastly, I must say that it seems the male population of Singapore are a little overwhelmed by the sight of a tall, white skinned, well built red head. Everywhere I went today, I was stared at. It was quite awkward for me. I was not dressed provocatively, nor was I in any bright colours but on more than four occasions, I had random older men come up to me and ask me where i was from. They were not asking in a rude or sleazy way, but rather, they were more being friendly and curious. At first, I indicated that i was from Australia. On the second and third occasion, I indicated that I was from Singapore. It was only after a second of uncomfortable laughter from my audience that I would then admit I was from Australia.

1 comment:

  1. Oh chicken! I get stared at too and asked where I'm from - and they don't believe me when I say from Singapore either, which is slightly more embarassing for me seeing as I actually, er, do come from Singapore. Haha! They only believe me when I say I'm from Australia. You've taken such beautiful photos of things I never would have looked at in my own home country - you've got such a talent. Little India is one of my favorite bits of Singapore. Hope you have a good first week there, Clarisa xx