Friday, February 17, 2017

This Singapore

This visit I am doing different things - I am saving the usual sightseeing things I want to do again from previous visits until Julia arrives and we can do them together. So for now I am taking the route less travelled.
Today I went to the Mustafa Centre - - Mr Mustafa must be like Mr Selfridge on steroids. A cross between a labyrinth and a department store , open 24 hours a day, in two buildings on opposite sides of the road, on four floors! It sells anything and everything from fresh fruit to shampoo to gold jewelry to fabric softener to souvenirs. Without Nadine I would still be wandering around lost! The aisles are so narrow that there is hardly room to walk and there must be 300 people in there at any given time. Shopping chaos!
The Mustafa Centre is in the middle of 'Little India' - there is nothing small about Little India.  In the centre of wide roads, constant traffic, high-rise apartments are narrow alleys and the traditional old shop houses and the most beautiful temples. We visited one - it was a colourful, calm and shady oasis! It was a blessing to take my shoes off to walk around it.

Yesterday was a quiet day for my - I chose to chill a little and catch up on some work and reading while Katherine went to her playgroup in the morning and her ComandoKids in the afternoon. I just joined in for a quick visit to the 2$ store and bought a load of stuff  I didnt know I needed and saw a heap more that I didnt know anyone needed - chair socks included!
Wednesday morning we explored the Arab Quarter and took the scenic route past some really interesting buildings - I love the contrast between modern and ancient!

Then after lunch we took Adam and Katherine to a fabulous play area called Pollywogs - A fabulous padded cell for children equippd with everything a child wants to climb, slide, twiddle, throw and slide on ,,,,,,which they can do without hurting themselves. The photos I too aren't great because they were on the go and never still long enough for me to catch them - exactly as it should be in such an exciting place! I crawled around for 2 hours trying to keep up with them - #Fail!

So all in all a brilliant and busy week - my first one over and I know time will fly by. When I saw this sign I was tempted - I really was....... then I saw that I had missed the boat! Next time maybe I will Meet, Mingle and Meditate in Little India :-)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Singapore - I have arrived!

I have arrived and Sean and Nadine's new apartment is lovely - right on the river its like a painting that changes with the drifting clouds. Water traffic includes amphibian boats that emerge from the water on wheels and a whole range of man powered vessels from Dragon Boats, double skulls to 'eights' with a cox giving enthusiastic encouragement. In the evening the skyline comes alive and is a wonderful backdrop - like your own living wallpaper twinkling away in the lounge.
Saturday evening we went to the Chingay Parade - an annual event but I like to think it was held in my honour this year! What a spectacle! A procession of vehicles lit in rainbow colours interspersed with dancers, singers, acrobats, ballerina's, Chinese dragons, high kicking karate, stilt walkers, ten foot rotating princesses and and and - all led by the current president of Singapore and concluded by a firework display. Everything a parade should be and delivered in the precision expected of Singapore. Incidentally - its a parade to build unity amongst citizens and is totally staffed and performed by volunteers. The mantra is "We are one." which we were encouraged to chant at intervals while waving our golden pompoms and blue star light sticks. Its almost like a communist May Day Parade with a Bollywood twist!
Day 2 and a trip on the Marina Bay Shopping Mall where Dolce & Gabana are neighbours to Chanel and Gucci. The store windows full of glittering purchases shouting 'buy me" Alas the prices are not for the faint hearted and their calls fell on deaf ears and my empty pocket.
What was free and fabulous was the view of the inverted water fountain or Rain Occulus designed by Ned Khan - I was lucky to see it in action as it doesn't always have water in it but this was a rainy day. You can ride on a Gondola around the lower floor of the shopping mall and a few passengers got wet as the Occulus rained down on them - all intentional and much enjoyed.

Our reason for being at the Marina Bay Mall was lunch! Sean had reserved a table at Gordon Ramsay's Bread Street Kitchen - check it out here. The family wanted Sunday roast with Yorkshire pud and that is what they a price. I had cod which was delicious .....and also not the cheapest or even value for money. All the time I was eating I half expected the master chef himself to come out of the kitchen and "F%&* us up." We didn't complain ,,,,,LOL.
Singapore is a city of contrast and today we went to Everton Street in one of the older suburbs. we went to look at some street art, which I was busy admiring when I bumped into Mavis who shared with us that the best mural was a little further in and around the corner before she went on her way.

We made our way there after taking photos of the first two murals and who do we literally trip over - Mavis - turns out she is a cat feeder and feeds 23 stray cats in this area. 'My mother was a cat feeder before me", she told me," there is a real cat problem here - its out of control and a lot of my cats are old, have dementia and some no teeth.' I told her she was a cat angel - she laughed at that thought but she really is.

Back to our mission which is to explore the murals of Everton Street murals - beautifully painted by Yip Yew Chong. They depict street life from a bygone age and reminded me of  the artwork for the Hummel figurines that I remembered from my childhood - whimsical and endearing in ice cream colours. This is my 3rd visit to Singapore and there is still much that I haven't seen - more importantly for me is that each visit to a country, you drill down a little deeper and seek out the hidden away places behind the scenes and meet everyday heroes like Mavis and THAT is what I always enjoy the most!