Singapore Adventure

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Love, Hate, Name Something You Ate XII
by venitha

  • One thing I love about living in Singapore is...
    ...the bus. For our first year here, getting around was all about the MRT. Year two arrived, and without fanfare or notification, we graduated; now, it's all about the bus.

    I recognize street names, so I can glance at posted routes and know that the approaching bus will work. I know my way around, so I no longer fear wandering in overheated frustration if I embark more than a block from my destination. I recognize city landmarks, so I no longer pay attention every second, worrying that I'll get lost or that I'll miss my stop. I know the routes that run from Orchard Boulevard to Holland Village, I know where the hole-in-the-wall stop is just down from Mustafa, and I know not to be caught dead without a book. My ease has brought an opportunistic spontaneity and a spice-of-life variety to my outings, and I love it.

  • One thing I hate about living in Singapore is...
    …the haze. Indonesia has wrapped its forest fire smoke in an enormous smoldering box and sent the gift of dangerous air quality to its friends(?) and neighbors. Like that rock-hard fruit cake your crazy aunt sends every year, the haze is an annual problem, and this year it has resulted in the worst air quality in Singapore since 1997. Unlike the fruitcake, however, which at least inspires humor, the haze has no discernable upside. If you think that obscuring the sun might mean cooler temperatures in Singapore, I've got a two-year expat stint you might be interested in.

  • A new thing I ate recently is...
    … roast duck. My lovely neighbor Mei highly recommended the nearby Rocovo Restaurant, of wanton noodle fame, for its excellent roast duck, and she was sooooo right. The smiley(!), friendly, chatty chef cuts the duck off the bone, while the scary, stern, disapproving auntie bags up the delicious sauce (plum?). I tote it home licking my lips, eat it licking my fingers, and clean up licking the bowl. Delicious!

  • Something I recently discovered is...
    …that I have not won the war against the ants. The Terro I brought back from the US to eliminate our ant problem cleared the little buggers out of the kitchen faster than Pol Pot evacuated Phnom Penh. They wasted no time organizing a serious resistance force in the jungle of the dining room, however, working together in ant, er, globules in a new and most disturbing way. In the equally disturbing traditional American response to such a development, I napalmed them with three more Terro packs and enjoyed a blissful ant-free month, entertaining smug thoughts of victory thanks to superior American fire power.

    Alas, these ants are tenacious as the Viet Cong, and this is their country, not mine. When I discovered scouts in first the bedroom, then the kitchen, I half-heartedly dropped more Terro, resigned myself to a stalemate, and gave thanks that, in a bold departure from traditional American military planning, I came into this war with an exit strategy.

  • Singlish o' the day:
    Woo: the Chinese term for winning - or "going ". We finally learned to play this very fun game last weekend and therefore also learned some new Chinese characters and vocabulary. Woo is what you say when you win a hand, and like all Americans, with the probable exception of my mother, we couldn't help but pronounce it Woo! or even Woohoo! Yoong Han, our excellent teacher, laughed and said that no, no Chinese would woo like us, particularly when he wasn't actually gambling, which we weren't, and even more particularly when he had won with lamest possible hand, which I had. Woo!

fruitcake quotes:
The easiest way to make a fruitcake is to buy a darkish cake, then pound some old, hard fruit into it with a mallet. Be sure to wear safety glasses.

Fruitcakes make ideal gifts because the Postal Service has been unable to find a way to damage them.