Sunday, August 31, 2008

All the world's airports

Shortly after a jarring japanese vacation we were off to Singapore. I had been there once before during a layover between flights, but never really got a feel for it. I sort of imagined it like a very neat, orderly society where occasionally an unruly member of Sigma-Phi gets caned senseless for doing something stupid. Oh, and it would also seem that they don't like drugs either. Good to know.

We were picked up at the airport and whisked off to Little India (Singapore is mostly Malaysian, Indonesian and Indian) by the show's promoters. We cozied up on the hardwood floor and gorged ourselves on some amazing food. 

The center of town seemed to be defined by this ever-expanding tent city of seemingly random goods. There was an entire 7-story building of mainly knock-off electronics. It was like being in a jungle in the sense that it was ungodly hot and everything looked the same after about ten minutes, thus making it entirely plausible to get lost and never come out. I think I was kept alive only by the local sugar cane juice stands at every turn.

The city wasn't as spotless as I thought it would be, which was somewhat comforting.

For breakfast (and often lunch and early dinner) I had a pretty traditional Singaporean dish that involved rot-gut coffee with condensed milk, Kaya (coconut) butter on toast, and hard-boiled eggs with soy sauce. That with a side of lime juice was pretty much all that I had ever dreamed of in a meal. It was an easy excuse to duck out of the frequent afternoon rain showers and into a cafe to wallow around in coconut butter for an hour or so.

The show was at the local opera house, which was designed, I think, to look exactly like a Durian fruit. The Durian is a local (Malaysian) delicacy of sorts, although when a ripe fruit is first sliced into I have heard the smell described as anywhere from 'disagreeable' to 'a rotting corpse.' Pleasant.

The day went smoothly even though everyone was extremely uptight about a rock band playing in their opera house.

Tickets to the show were stupid expensive and the crowd turned up well dressed, some in suits and ball gowns, and the band was asked to sit for an autograph-signing session afterwards. That weirdness aside it all went pretty well, though the show and the work seemed pretty incidental to being in such a fascinating place for a change.

Afterwards a few of us walked over to The Raffles hotel where the Singapore Sling was created (I see nothing at all objectionable about alcohol-related tourism). I had a few and watched a pretty shocking cover band rip through Hotel California to a mostly stunned audience.

And it was up early the next day for a flight to Seoul. Be still my aching liver.