Yesterday was a good day...for some reason, it felt so Californian. I was wired in for most of the morning and early afternoon, of course, but I finally pushed myself out to look for the local community pool I had heard about. I found success in this awesome pool set up, seriously, I should take photos. I swam a bit, laid out a bit, texted by the poolside...I felt so Californian.
I let myself airdry a bit before heading back to meet a friend and I felt a bit of that familiar dampness and smell of chlorine that is just a characteristic of summers in California. Yup, I definitely felt Californian.
The weather was warm, of course, but towards the later afternoon, it had that temperature of a really warm summer's evening. You know the kind; the kind that everyone lives for, where the day may be blazing but by evening it feels amazing. Like the day hasn't ended because its warm enough to wear a bikini out and despite being at the beach all day, you're still hanging with your favorite friends, not yet sick of each other. That amazing feeling that we're timeless and that summer is never going to end. It was one of those feelings yesterday, and yes, that's what it feels like to be Californian in the summer.
I know my Californian cravings for In N Out and Mexican foods are normal, but today I had cravings for my Japanese side: Spam Musubi, Ochazuke, Natto and Japanese Egg. T_T Some good ramen wouldn't hurt either! Or salmon sashimi...mmm!
There is a man who walks by, I feel like every day (even several times a day), honking this irritating bike horn. It literally infuriates me because it drives me mad and I don't know what to do with myself. And yet, I fight every urge to yell at him like an crass American because I think he's collecting old newspapers or something. I think that means he's the recycling dude that I can't hate despite his horn. I don't hate the man, I hate the horn!
Out in the "Heartlands" (basically, not the center of Singapore but where most locals live out in), there has been a noticeable bustling-about that even foreigners like myself would be curious about. Loud, abrasive music and people shouting along with strung lights and candles being bit around...
Apparently, it's that time of year when the ghosts come out. Grace has this slight "thing" where she can see ghosts and, to be honest, I'm not sure if I want to know if they're around! I've been wanting to take some photos lately just to mention it but I am very intimidated to do so...is it allowed? Is it disrespectful? Why are people staring at me?
I think part of my apprehension is due to the fact that there's also been a funeral being conducted downstairs of my building. Funerals here are a week long process where they set up tables and alters with photos of the deceased. They put up banners and decorations while serving food for people who come and go. It confused me because to my blind eyes, it seemed like a more jovial, colorful celebration rather than the somber ones (in all black) I'm used to in the States.
Anyways, Grace and Ky were pretty appalled when I tried explaining my confusion of whether I could take photos, so I waited until I was walking home with them last night to take the "correct" photos of the 7 Months celebration, which consisted of traditional opera shows and even modern performances of song and dance.
Look at that audience! I hope I don't see any ghosts!
This past weekend, we went to Sentosa again. The weather was absolutely. Perfect. It's quite an ordeal to get to where we want to go, but once you're there: tropical drinks, loud music, pretty sunsets, and lounge chairs.
Grace being graceful. And photogenic!
I'd also like to point out: proof that I've gained weight (see: belly fat). Insert dismay.
Also, for those who have seen the old Sentosa laser show (EAP 2006, do you remember?): they redid it, as you can see in this terrible photo, but it's still the same cheesy laser animations. I thought Sentosa was being rebuilt as a classy sort of joint, but it's still a bit gaudy with Resort World. Am I the only one who thinks this?
I'm not sure if that was spelled correctly, but I do know there is a random "J" in the midsts of that word. I haven't been back to Chijmes since 2006 for Alva's birthday so I thought I'd stop by again. I had drinks in the courtyard at first, in the late afternoon, but did not realize that there was a whole other section I had completely forgotten about through a corridor. It was quite pretty in the evening (as are most things in life, right?).
I saw this man on the MRT and was immediately intimidated. Wouldn't you be? All the details of his outfit seemed so big and heavy: large chains, large watch, heavy boots...and I love those round sunglasses! I timidly asked him if I could take his picture and, to my surprise, he broke into an almost shy smile! "Me?" he said, "Is it for a magazine?" I laughed and said no...just for my blog!
I'm not sure if there is holiday that is associated with her outfit (correct me if I'm wrong...it seemed a bit more "dressy" than most saris)...is it Ramadan? I took this photo on Friday, August 6th, I believe. She was buying these really pretty flowers that were all strung together. Maybe someone can explain it all to me? I just loved the colors and fabrics of her outfit along with the flowers in her hair.
So while I was staying in Shanghai, I was crashing at my girlfriend's place near the center of town. It was a really good location, actually, I think. What was challenging, however, was getting from the ground floor to her actual room without tripping, falling or dying. You had to go up these immensely steep, concrete stairs, then up some brick ones, then up wooden ones, through another family's house, then up another steep set of wooden stairs and creaked and announced your arrival.
Yes, you read correctly, THROUGH another home. You can see their kitchen in the hallway in the bottom left photo, which consisted of a few stoves. It was kind of strange as I felt like I was always intruding, but they would barely glance at me as they busied themselves with their daily chores and equal attempts to ignore me.
I thought I'd start sharing some of my photo captures from my China trip in July. I have so many photos that I've been dragging my feet on sifting through all of them.
Here's a few from a really cool jazz club Henry took me to one evening. It was called JZ Club and it's supposed to embody Old Shanghai. It was beautiful and one of my favorite experiences while I was out there. The band was great; the female singer had the most crystal clear and beautiful voice you could hope for and there was even this Santana-esque Japanese guitar player who would really rock it.
Unfortunately, my camera skin got stolen right from under my nose while I was snapping away!
When Alva and Crystal were here, I was super excited because it gave me a great reason to take them to the new Sands Hotel. It's this surreal looking hotel that has this giant boat/surfboard sitting on top of three sleek buildings. It looks photoshopped into the scenery, really.
(Photo not by me)
It was built by the same Sands in Las Vegas and is apparently the world's most expensive casino (another "World's Most/Greatest/etc." for Singapore to add to its list*).
It's pretty cool, seriously, and it finally opened up to the public in the past few weeks. It costs $20 to go up to the top, but for a one time thing, I guess it's worth it just to say I've gone...so here's what my $20 got me a view of:
The Esplanade are those two shiny, spikey looking mounds in the upper right. We also call them "The Durians."
Overlooking the ships and sea...lots of construction always going on in Singapore.
The incredible view from the infinity pool (that is only allowed for guests). The photo doesn't do it justice; it really is a sight to behold!
The walkway between the Skypark and the Pool Area.
Nighttime view. I really wonder what they are building down there?! That blossom-looking thing...
All the tourists...
The Singapore Flyer is that giant, massive ferris wheel on the left. It takes probably an hour to make one full circle. They advertise it as a sort of location to throw birthdays and proposals...that sort of thing.
HAHA! This vertical made me laugh out loud and I'm still chuckling to myself. Stuff like this is what makes me miss bits of Tumblr...much easier to "repost"...maybe I will keep Tumblr around for this sort of thing. Ah, can't we have the best of both worlds??
This past weekend has been a great highlight for me…a couple visiting friends made it memorable and I’m sad that the girls are already gone!
I also visited Sentosa (the commercialized island resort of Singapore), finally, and wish I could have stayed longer! It’s quite an ordeal to get there if you’re not taking taxi…but it’s a worth-while change from the usual city. Despite the coarse sand and my reluctance to go into those import/export waters, it was still wonderful to walk on a beach, see people playing volleyball and lay out with a few girl friends. As with many things, it looked even better at night. Many of the bars have pools, so you dont have to go into the ocean if you want to cool off, which is a nice touch, I think.
I actually went to the new KM8, which was a fun beach bar I used to go to when I was studying abroad 4 years ago. It’s now been completely redone and renamed as Tanjong Beach Club. It’s beautiful, but definitely lost its old charm as being that low-key, fun, party beach bar.
I snapped this photo when I was on the MRT this past weekend. If you can’t read it, her paper visor says, “Singapore is my home. I love Singapore”, in spirit of National Day weekend. I thought it was cuter than a red and white flag!
Today is Singapore’s actual National Day so I’m going to venture out with my camera later. I hope it’s not too crazy…I heard there is a spectacular fireworks show over the marina but it must be packed with people.
One of Singapore’s famous dishes, Chili Crab, has apparently made its way onto Subway’s sandwich menu!I’m always fascinated by the hybridization of cultures and having food as a medium makes me an enthusiastic volunteer.I’ll report back on this!
I’ve been having mad cravings for American food lately.And Mexican food.I suppose just food that is, what I consider, Californian.Don’t get me wrong, the food in Singapore is still bomb, but sometimes you just want something like a delicious burger.
In fact, I recently went through the effort of making my best attempt at a bacon-wrapped hotdog here in Singapore.It was a pretty satisfactory considering it wasn’t a real hotdog (Singapore is very halal-friendly…meaning no pork products for the large Muslim population here).I think the key was the grilled onions.Grace did this thing where she added oil and sugar to them…they were delicious!Topped with ketchup, mustard and even mayo, I was in heaven.
Here are some other foods I’m craving lately:
In N Out burger with extra lettuce, tomato, a whole grilled onion and light sauce.With french fries and a chocolate strawberry shake.
Steak.Medium rare!With garlic mashed potatoes and grilled onions.
Soft-shelled fish tacos with homemade salsa.
Fajita Burrito from Coxihan’s.So greasy you can’t even eat the last 20% of it since all the oil collects at the bottom.
Fresh oysters with lemon and red sauce.
Bacon wrapped hot dogs. With grilled onions, ketchup, mayo, mustard, avocado salsa and a grilled pepper.
A decent salad!Ranch dressing, hello?
Great.Now I’m just sitting on my bed torturing myself with all these images of food.
Singapore is very stringent on rules, regulations, and above all, retaining control. It is, how I say, a very efficient country. One mystery, for me, is: where do all the homeless people go? I forget that there even are homeless because, for the most part, I never see any. I’m pretty sure this man was, however. He didn’t speak any English and seemed to have all his belongings with him when I saw him.
Is it strange that despite his minimal clothing and personal items laid out, I found him to be quite dignified? He had no shame, his items neatly laid out on a piece of fabric, and he really seemed to be enjoying his smoke on a beautiful day in Chinatown.