flying into singapore at 1am does not lend itself to understanding the lay of the land per se, but the blinking neon lights and all night eateries were like mirages after hours of flying.
my transit hotel was in the heart of the arab quarter and by night looked sketchy. but knowing that singapore is one of the safest places in the world, i ventured out at 2:30am in search of food. despite my best bleary-eyed attempt, i could not for the life of me find the 7-11 to buy any snacks. remembering an open cafe on arab street, i found my way through the neighborhood until the sounds of laughing singaporese (or whatever you call them) were like a beacon leading me towards salvation. i sank into a musty old sofa while middle eastern techno blared on the stereo next to me. i took the advice of the proprietor and ordered a chicken wrap to go. i watched the clock strike 3am while waiting. i finally made it back to my hotel, ate just the fries, took a blissful shower, took a sleeping pill and hit the sack.
in the morning, the sun's early light illuminated the spartan nature of my accomodations. little did i know that the overly firm bed would seem pillow-like in comparison to the beds in india. my room afforded me a great view of a building that i swear to god was used as the prototype for the monolithic building in AI where little robot, haley joel osmet, goes in search of the blue mary.
i had planned to trek all over the city, but after arriving at the botanical gardens around 11am, i found myself way too entranced to leave. i walked the entire thing and took over 300 photos of the foliage, especially the amazing orchid garden. after 3 hours of the sweltering heat, sticky thighs and an aching shoulder from my burdensome backpack, i finally took a break with an iced fresh watermelon juice and people watched. i can't remember the last time that i spent an entire day alone, not talking to anyone unless necessary. i haven't felt so peaceful in a long, long time. i was so busy taking it all in that i don't even think i had any real thoughts of any consequence...just observations, smells and sounds.
i did cruise orchard road in a cab on my way back to the hotel. the shopping is undoubtably amazing and most likely unparalleled. i was far more interested in my hotel's neighborhood.
i went back to the hotel to wait for my transfer and dropped my bag with the bellhop and went to wander around my neighborhood. i was amazed that all the boarded up and lonely streets were alive with silk vendors and cafes. by the light of day, it was another place entirely. there was even a huge sultan mosque right in view of the hotel that i didn't even see last night. i took a bunch of pictures again, had a cup of tomato soup and hopped on my transit shuttle. i now have far too much time on my hands in the singapore airport where the shopping is but a mere reflection of orchard road. if i know what's good for me, i'll hunker down with my book and pass the time sans consumerism.
i thought this sensor activated fountain was hilarious...something lost in the translation?
ps...i'm absolutely thrilled to see jake and get to delhi tonight!