My last day in Bangkok was a whirlwind, checking out, getting my teeth cleaned, some last minute blogging and a last spin around Khao Sarn Road where I ran into an old French guy I'd met in Laos. I also had to apply for a visa for Australia which I didn't even know I had to get. Luckily it had come up in casual conversation with the girls so they told me what I had to do. It's pretty cool, you just log onto an Australian government website, fill in the form, pay $20 AUD and voila, welcome to Australia. My flight was 2 hours late so they gave us a $2 voucher for fast food. I never ever eat fast food but I ordered a Whopper with cheese and I must confess, it was gooood!
I arrived in Singapore late so I really needed to call Cynthia, my co-conspirator from school in Beijing. I was delighted to find both 15 minutes of free Internet and free phone calls along the path from my plane to customs. Singapore rules! I hopped in a cab with the world's nicest driver and made my way to Cynthia's place. I arrived just a few minutes after her boyfriend, Daniel who had also just arrived from Thailand. He travels a lot for his job. It was so great to see her again, and to finally meet Daniel. I didn't plan it but somehow I arrived the day before Thanksgiving and Cynthia was in the midst of producing her first Thanksgiving dinner, turkey and all. We spent the whole next day running a few errands and following Martha Stewart's precise directions for the perfect turkey. I tried to help as best as I could while watching Oprah and trying not to get in the way. I think I was fired and re-hired a few times though.
But everything went off without a hitch and we jumped in the shower with about 30 minutes to go before their friends, a German couple and an Israeli couple would arrive. Everyone was really nice but when the topic of my travels came up and I mentioned I'd been to Jerusalem, things took a turn towards uncomfortable politics so I just sat back and kept my mouth shut, a rarity for me. Bravo Sanyu. The 2 couples had never had an American Thanksgiving dinner before so we tried to explain the joys of stuffing yourself til it hurts and then watching football. They seemed a bit perplexed. Either way, the food was terrific and the pumpkin pie outstanding!
The next day after some cleanup and loafing to an Oprah repeat we headed out to check out some of the famous Singapore. It's an odd mix of Malaysian (of course), Indian and Chinese cultures. We headed to Little India to look around and Cynthia found some Christmas presents for her family. While almost all the buildings in Singapore and colossal high rises, Little India was peppered with small shop houses that gave it a unique feel.
We headed from there to the upscale Raffles hotel, birthplace of the wonderfully boozy Singapore Sling. Cynthia made me drink one by myself but I forgive her;) Later in the evening we met up with Daniel to have some sushi at a place that Cynthia always raved about when we were in Beijing. I was craving raw fish and the place did not disappoint but of course it wasn't better than Angelfish. What could be? It was about 11pm when we finished and we were primed for some entertainment. We hit a strip of bars in a neighborhood near their house and while it was mostly filled with 16 year olds we stumbled upon a cool busy supper club playing retro 80's tunes before heading to O Bar, a danceorama where if you're a foreigner you don't have to stand in line, cool, I think.
Not sure what it is but the later I stay up the earlier I wake up. I bumbled around the house as quietly as I could for a few hours until Cynthia and Daniel woke up. about 1pm we ventured out to get a taxi to the Hyatt hotel where they have a huge multicultural food buffet. Indian, Chinese, Malaysian and a yummy juice bar. The food was sooooooooo good and I only mildly overate. It was a great way to sample all the tastes of Singapore in one place. We ended with dessert, of course, and a delicious milky tea which tasted like the awesome Thai tea we would get at the restaurant near my old job that we went to at least once a month until I found a cockroach in my food and never went back. No cockroaches here though, the place was dead posh!
Cynthia and I headed to a mall (everyplace in Singapore is in a mall) to find a big Chinese bookstore chain. I found my South American travel guides and some Spanish books. Gosh, South America is so close! I waited magazine section, waiting for Cynthia, as agreed, when after I'd finished browsing my third entertainment magazine I realized that maybe I'd been ditched. I tried not to panic after the third time I'd circumnavigated the store without finding her. The security guard told me they had a paging system so I decide to try once more before freaking out. Of course I found her happily perusing stationary in a little niche I'd completely missed. We compared purchases and she used her Latino expertise to help me find the perfect Spanish books.
We headed back to the apartment to lounge and I thought the night was over because we were all dragging and I was still stuffed from the buffet. But Daniel was hungry so we made our way to get some food. We took a taxi. Everyone takes taxis here. They're cheap and plentiful, even if you have to queue for a bit and everyone here is so orderly that they even queue up for taxis in the middle of the street. The first place was closed so they took me to the port where they have amazing seafood. We ordered drunken prawns and chili crab, fried chicken and beer before turning in. God, the food is so good here. This is the best hostel I've ever stayed at;) I leave tomorrow for Kuala Lumpur and including Singapore I'm on an eight country marathon over the next 2 weeks. Granted, I won't spend more than a few hours in most of them but it'll be a long haul until I hit Buenos Aires. So wish me luck, patience and good humour. A big thank you to Cynthia and Daniel. Peace out.