Singapore Adventure

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Let Me See!
by venitha

On our bus to Shanghai's Pudong Airport, as usual, Rohit is in charge. "You sit here, Venitha," he says, indicating the favored seat next to him. I smile, ever-charmed by his pronunciation of my name, and sit down wondering how I've managed to outrank the ever-popular Jim.

"He says your name like Jittu," Jim has pointed out, remembering our driver in India. I don't notice this so much as I am wowed by a 4-year-old's ability to pronounce my name at all. I remember well McLaren's Vernitha, Spencer's Neefa, and Matthew's anointment of Jim as Jimanvaneefa followed by an I-don't-know-who-she-is shrug. Venitha, however, trips lightly off Rohit's tongue, and I guess I should expect no less from a child who for the last week has switched seamlessly from speaking English with me and Jim to speaking with his Aai and Baba to teaching all of us to count in Mandarin.

Thankfully my artistic abilities are more on a par with Rohit's, so I don't have to be embarrassed to draw with him. I pull out my notebook along with two pens, and we pass our ride to the airport engrossed in illustrating our Shanghai adventure.

Here's the airport where we're going now, farrrrr away on the other side of the river. And here is us and allll our suitcases on our bus leaving our hotel with its revolving top where we ate breakfast. Did you have a banana? And some cereal? How about an apple? I can draw an apple.

Here's the river and across it there's Baba and Jim Kaka at work with their computers - Where's Jim? - and here's the tall Jin Mao building with us waaaay up at the top, and the pink pearl tower, and all the fish at the aquarium. The shark. Yes, the shark. He has scary teeth.

And here's us walking on the next to the river with all the boats and here's the pretty Chinese flag. And here are the bridges over the river - And a tunnel! - and a tunnel under it. And here's my umbrella because it rained that day, and now my umbrella is inside out because it was windy, too. And here are all those acrobats making a biiiig pyramid and diving through those circles. What else do you remember?

Do you remember the flowers? Here are all the pretty flowers, and Virginia with her parasol - Her hair! - with her pretty hair, and there's you in your new Chinese outfit. And your new shoes. Let me see! And Jim's new watch. And all the Armani clothes at that museum. Do you remember? Yes!
Hmmm... what did we eat? Here's broccoli with garlic sauce and those crayfish and eggs - I can draw eggs! - and dumplings and the big dumpling with a straw in it and fish heads and - Ice cream! When did you have ice cream? I don't remember any ice cream, but I do remember ice. Here's Aai with her long braid taking a picture of you at the ice sculptures. There's you, and a penguin, and another penguin, and another penguin, and an igloo. And my jacket. Oh, yes, here's your hood on your jacket that makes you a penguin, too.

And the taxi. Yes, so many taxis. And the trains. The MRT and the , but we didn't ride that. The tall train. Yes, the double-decker train from Suzhou. And all the gardens there and the tall pagoda and the big Buddha and here's you riding on Jim's shoulders and on Baba's shoulders and on Aai's shoulders but not on my shoulders. Not on your shoulders.

And here finally is our bus at the airport and our plane. Here's all of us on the plane: yi, er, san, si, wu. We will take off and go waaaay far that way, farrrrr off the page and back behind us onto Baba's lap and maybe even further back than that to where? To Singapore!

To Singapore.