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Asia Tour 2009 We are no where near Kansas!

Sunday Morning 5/31 – Definitely Not Kansas

USA | Thursday, 4 June 2009 | Views [268]

Eat – Don’t Wear – Prada Out the door lickety split – we went searching for breakfast. I wanted coffee – Pat wanted eggs. We found a delightful compromise, the CMK ( I have no idea what that stands for) juice bar and Northern Indian food café. We have never had egg prada (a fluffy hand made flour tortilla with a egg mixed into the dough before slapping it on a hot flat grill) and watermelon juice with curried vegetables at 9:00 a.m., but it was so delicious and cheap that we went back the next day! Pat had a mango shake – basically pureed mango, that’s it. I found a new addiction: watermelon juice. Just fill a large tumbler with ice and add sweet blended watermelon. A shot of vodka and you are home free – no, I did not actually bring vodka; I just dreamed about it. The heavy air traps scents and reminds you to breathe, but it is not uncomfortable. It helps you to remember that you are really alive and experiencing something very different from home. Somerset Maugham meets Harlo We turned Carol’s routine grocery shopping day into a lesson in architectural variation. Her favorite grocery store is in the Raffles Plaza; named after the English founder of modern Singapore and namesake of the Raffles Hotel. Ever heard of a Singapore Sling? It was first introduced in the Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel. Yep, that’s us eating the traditional tiny roasted Spanish peanuts and tossing the shells on the floor. It’s the custom. I had the infamous beverage – a sweet tropical pink thing with rum and some mysterious additives. The bird’s eye views of the city were shot from the Swiss Hotel at Stanford – the tallest building in the city. In a small island city-state like Singapore, up is the way to go to create more commercial space. Check out our shots of the Parkview Building. It looks like a throw back from the Art Deco period, but the whole place is a façade. Sort of like Disneyland, it looks real but it is all made from cleverly painted prefabricated materials. Even the “bronze” statues are hollow painted fiberglass-like replicas. Standing guard in the courtyard outside the lobby are famous men from very different periods of history. There’s Chairman Mao standing next to Churchill, Abraham Lincoln, Plato, Newton, Dali, Dante and Chopin. The big gilded crane in the middle would make a lovely tattoo! Who’s Sari Now? We had to see the big Sultan Mosque before grocery shopping so we strolled down in an area called Kampung Glam with mostly fabric and carpet shops. You can have an Indian or Indonesian style Sari custom made for a very reasonable price. We picked up a sarong (batik printed cloth for wrapping round your waist) along the shopping street leading to the Mosque. Just on the corner a small perfume oil shop beckons with exotic scents from around the world. I picked a melon blend – so sweet and fresh smelling. We arrived at the Mosque with bare shoulders like so many other tourists, but the mosque boys had plenty of robes to lend. Pat and I look like we have joined a Muslim choir. They won’t let women enter the interior of the mosque but we could circle around the edges and take pictures. It is lovely. I can see how such a wide open and elaborately decorated space can inspire spiritual meditation. E Z Living Heading home to clean up we purchased our EZ-Link transit cards. The trains are easy to follow here, clear signage and lots of arrows help make it simple to navigate. These EZ-Link cards are like a bank card. Instead of sliding them through a machine to read, you simply tap them on a pad at the gates and the doors open. Voila! Right Place Wrong Time We planned to have dinner at Carol’s boss’s house his birthday party. We arrived a day late! Oops. Anyway, he and his roommate Sasha are both German born expatriates. Joerg is a 39-year-old former East German soldier from before Gorby tore down that wall. I saw a picture of him in his service uniform – he would have scared the be-jesus out of me. We had a lively discussion about what the news agencies were saying about the Tienanmen Square pro-democracy movement. Carol joined me in Beijing that summer for a short holiday. It was a odd time to take a vacation, but it’s one neither of us will forget. I was there on assignment with NBC so we hung out a lot with well seasoned journalist and sexy cameramen from all parts of the world. Carol put together a nice slide show of that time. We were hungry since we missed out on Joerg’s party food and headed off to the famous Orchard Road district to eat. Oh yah, we found a condom specialty shop on the main drag. We just managed get a shot of the neon condom in the display before they closed. Pat and Carol ate something at a Chinese/Thai/Western food place. Pat had a pizza, the sauce was strangely sweet (BBQ sauce??).

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