Intrepid Girl Reporter


Friday, 1/25: Singapore fling
January 25, 2008, 1:39 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

My pen-and-paper journal is in the hotel down the street, which makes recalling everything we did a little difficult, simply because we happened to do so much.

TUESDAY

Saw the Merlion, Singapore’s own mythical creature (half lion, half fish, invented in the 1960s), in person; Merlion appeared to be spitting. Got Hallim lost trying to find Lau Pa Sat hawker stand, but am/was not repentant, because I had the best char kway teow and fried carrot cake. (Neither carrot nor cake. Discuss?) Then her friend took us over to Little India, where they happened to be celebrating Thaipusam, a southern Hindu festival that involves piercing of the skin with hooks and rods. Like, lots of them. The men who did this supposedly were doing it to obtain the fulfillment of some sort of wish or desire, and they had to parade down the street with these three-foot-tall headdresses bedecked with feathers and, in at least one case, flashing lights. We got mehndi on our hands (8 SGD) and ate papri chaat and pani puri and gulab jamun and Slurpees and got shoved into this crowd of people so dense it seemed that we should all introduce ourselves, since we were sharing sweat, etc. After we made it back we got locked out of her friend’s apartment, so we ended up sitting in the living room of his neighbors, who were adorable and young and who want to visit Jeju. Then he came back and we bought bottles of Tiger and drank them on the playground outside the building.

WEDNESDAY

Lunch at the Queenstown MRT station: prata (Indian fried bread), duck rice, rojak (fruit salad with some sort of peanut-chili-fish sauce dressing and fried crullers – it tasted much better than it sounds). Then we went to Haw Par Villa, which compares favorably with the weirdest things I’ve seen in Jeju – I can hear Soccer now saying, “That’s not possible,” but oh, friends, it is. The backstory behind Haw Par, for those of you who didn’t grow up reading your family’s travel magazines, is that the Burmese brothers who made Tiger Balm decided to use their wealth to create a theme park that would educate the public about Chinese mythology. To that end, there are sections like “The Ten Stages of Hell,” which details in vivid diorama form the various punishments for specific crimes, and various outdoor sculptures showing things like marauding monkeys and a man being rescued by a giant turtle. Total price: free, except for the Hell exhibit, which cost 1 SGD, maybe 80 cents American. Then we went to Chinatown for the night market and ate dim sum, came back, went out to some swank hotel bar with Hallim’s friend and some of his friends, came back, and drunk ate more roti prata.

THURSDAY

Phuket is phenomenal. Enough to merit such alliteration, anyway. Thanks to the good graces of Hallim’s momma, who had accrued a number of Marriott points, we managed to stay in a hotel that was probably the nicest on the island, and, judging from the rest of the clientele, one I won’t be able to afford until I somehow become half of a middle-aged Australian couple. We swam in the warm, clear water. We slept on the sand. We ate Italian food – and yes, I know we are in Thailand, but I plan on eating nothing but Thai for the next week, and anyway we can’t get good Italian in Jeju. This morning we went out to the beach early and then ate banana pancakes.

FRIDAY

So here we are in Bangkok – we met our Intrepid tour guide, who goes by Yo (?), a couple of hours ago, and she took us to a Thai restaurant that was the best Thai food I have ever had, so I guess that bodes well. We spent most of the day in transit. AirAsia is cheap, but it is not efficient. Where we are now is a slightly dingy hotel in what Hallim describes as the Itaewon of Bangkok – but we leave for Sukhothai tomorrow, which should be a good deal nicer.

So that, loyal chingu, is all for now. More from the road.

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2 Comments so far
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Ten points for the entry title.

Comment by Brendan

roti paratha is the separated at birth twin of Guyanese roti. Which, I hope you remember, is my favorite food. Jealousy.

Comment by Vibh




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