Singapore Adventure

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Moonlight And Vodka
by venitha

I love being someone I would want to know.


Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Return On Expectation
by venitha

7 @ the Taj Mahal - see you then!

It's not that we're suffering mango withdrawal so much as that it's inconceivable to meet David, a friend for over a decade, anywhere but the same place we've always met, at our favorite local Indian restaurant. The Taj Mahal's friendly owner greets us exuberantly - Welcome! Welcome! Too long! - and the pungent smell of curries waves hello from the kitchen. We devour the menu with newfound interest now that we're connoisseurs - Hey! Aloo chaat! And do you want to get one of these pakoras? - though just as with Singapore's Jaggi's (mmmm... butter chicken), we know the main dish we'll order at Fort Collins' Taj Mahal before we even step in the door: , chunks of soft Indian cheese (that's the paneer) buried under a thick sludge of spinach and mustard greens (that's the saag).

Jim has ordered palak, a greener thinner version of saag, from nearly every Indian menu he's seen in the last year, but palak is a deathly pale imitation in spite of its brighter color. The Taj Mahal's saag lives up to its star billing in my memory and soars to new heights with an even more astronomical Return On Expectation ratio (how good it tastes divided by how good it looks) than I remembered. Doesn't it look revolting? But, believe me, it's divine.

At the other extreme on the ROE scale are these irresistible little gems we first encountered in Bangkok. I have no idea what they are, but trust me: steer clear! Unless, of course, you're looking for a good gag gift for your niece's upcoming 9th birthday. Hmmm.... And we are going to Thailand...


Sunday, July 23, 2006

A Perfect Summer Afternoon
by venitha

Awaiting Jim's Taxi Service on a perfect summer afternoon, I'm sprawled on the grass beneath the shade of twin crabapple trees. After nodding off in my dentist's deserted waiting room, I abandoned the too-comfortable loveseat for the less-embarrassing-to-doze-on perfectly-coiffed lawn outside. The book I just finished, a depressing memoir by a survivor of the killing fields, is more effective as my pillow than as a Cambodian travel brochure; and it's a hardcover. I banish the second thoughts I'm having about our prospective tour of Cambodia in September - Out! Out, damned thoughts! - and I fleetingly wish I'd swiped a cushion from the loveseat.

Tammy, the cheerful receptionist who has worked miracles for us this week, pulls up in an oversized , sporting a ponytail, a tank top, and an adolescent daughter. Must be her day off. Junior's jet black hair leaves me casting a curious glance at Tammy's pretty platinum curls, but I don't move. If she recognizes me, she'll come over and chat, but over-socialized lately to the point of extreme bitchiness to loved ones, I prefer to remain silently incognito behind dark sunglasses.

A cool, light breeze stirs the leaves above me, and I stretch one languorous foot into the sun, taking a tip from Australia's crocodiles to regulate my body temperature. The tension of two weeks packed solid with healthcare appointments, stock-up shopping sprees, and meal after meal after meal with found-lost-found-lost friends - Hello! Good-bye! - slowly oozes from my shoulders. I inhale slowly, then exhale completely. Ah, bliss.

I wake with the slam of a car door. Tammy's gas-guzzling SUV has been replaced by Marilyn's sporty sedan. I guiltily pull my un-suncreened foot into the shade, check my watch, and call languidly to Jim as he saunters toward the dentist office door.

He shoots me the smile that I love so well, then comes and sits beside me, emanating massage-induced relaxation.

"Done being cranky?"

"Yeah. You?"



Friday, July 21, 2006

Wonder Woman
by venitha

"You dodged a bullet. Do you want to count on doing that again?"

What? Does my doctor not recognize that I am ? I deflect all threats with my bulletproof bracelets! I possess super strength, super speed, and a fully-fused tibial plateau! And, best of all, I fly! I fly all over tarnation and back and then on to Singapore and - Oh, yeah! I almost forgot! - round trip to Thailand all in the month following a surgery that leaves me, at least for a short time, unable to walk! And my powers - most likely my magic lasso, don't you think? - protect me from death or worse via , which, in layman's terms for those of you who have not had the pleasure of giving or receiving daily Lovenox injections in the stomach, is a blood clot.

As glorious as being stranded in Colorado would be, my upcoming schedule just does not allow for a month planted firmly here on solid ground, which is what my orthopedic surgeon very strongly recommends be my plan after he removes the odds and ends Doogie Howser left in my leg. Reluctantly, I admit that Doc Martens has a point, and I don't just mean that avoiding the risk of DVT is worth a little discomfort for the next year.

From my woe-is-me perspective, I was shot multiple times at point blank range; but tilt my head and squint a bit, and I dodged a bullet. I walk, and I run. I don't limp. I stretch my quad and touch my butt with my heel. I dash gracefully down entire flights of stairs - down is much harder than up. With a little hard work and a little Percocet pain tolerance, I can do anything I want with this knee, and that's pretty frickin' amazing considering my initial prognosis.

Whaddya know? Maybe I really am Wonder Woman.

Nah. I'm just . At least for another year.


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

It's All Relative
by venitha

"It's official," I told Jim as we walked around the block, gloriously sweat-free after a five-mile run in the cool Colorado morning air. "Singapore is hell."

Jim smiled ruefully but said nothing, and not only because he was still gasping for oxygen in the mile-high air. It's a slippery slope, this bitter negativity, one he's lost his footing on before. Older and wiser, he now stands firmly on the Ridge of Neutrality. And gets one helluva good footing before offering me a hand up with his mantra: it's all relative.

Many dry miles and a few jetlag-free days and nights later, I'm more amenable to Jim's perspective. Singapore may not be hell. Ft Collins may not be heaven. Still, I'm glad I went to church on Sunday; I have no doubt about where I want to spend the rest of my life, let alone eternity.

This was the lead article of the local newspaper on Monday, July 17. Also of note is the fine print on the right: Today's Weather. The high of 99°F is significantly hotter than Singapore's usual 86, but believe me: It's not the heat; it's the humidity. The low of 61°F is significantly colder than Singapore's lowest temperature ever recorded, 67.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Great Gummy Gobs
by venitha

"Cherries! From U.S.!" the hawker at my favorite fruit stand in Singapore regularly greets me. It's been a year, and he still hasn't learned that I will buy his mangoes and his rambutan, his longan and his mangosteen, but never the cherries and grapes so common and inexpensive in my home country. No, I'm saving those for life beyond the confines of Singapore; as a sweet welcome home to Colorado this summer, we've indulged in pound after pound of luscious red strawberries. Mmmm... with chocolate.

Turn about is fair play, of course, and we laughed at my mother-in-law's offer to take us to our hometown's newly-opened Asian buffet. No, thank you. Instead we've been eating our way around the rest of the world: Italian pizza, Lebanese falafel, Mexican burritos, fajitas, and oh-so-American steak and corn-on-the-cob.

The food(?) I was happiest to stumble across at the vast new grocery store (My! What big aisles you have!) near our Colorado home is , which is unavailable in Singapore. I intend to chew great gummy gobs Valley-Girl-style, mouth open, noisily smacking and snapping and blowing enormous bubbles as I enjoy another item unavailable in Singapore and happily purchased this week: the unauthorized biography of .


Saturday, July 15, 2006

Jim's Jaundiced Jawings
by jima

People keep telling us it's hot here. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. What it is, is dry, and I had forgotten what dry weather is like. A downside: My feet are sore and cracking and screaming for lotion after three days. An upside: Wet laundry hung out on the deck dries in just a couple of hours!

In the late afternoon sun, the mountains reverberate, grey blue silhouettes that echo in increasing heights as they march to the west. Living here so long, we'd grown accustomed to this view and took it for granted - but no more!

It's been a culture shock to spend a week at work in my old office in Ft Collins. Oddly, it's noisier despite the higher cube walls. Americans speak very loudly. Office waste recycling boxes are a refreshing change from Singapore, and I love wearing shorts and sandals to work on a hot day - and not freezing in air-con so cold that I regret it!

Thanks to my lovely wife and the wonder of being able to bike to work, I've barely driven at all this week. In Singapore, I missed biking, not driving; in Colorado, I'm missing Singapore's MRT. For the record, we have an American friend in Singapore who bikes to work; he is insane.

We've invited friends over for a backyard BBQ tomorrow night, and strangely enough, our four unrelated guests have all enjoyed our hospitality in Singapore. How will our backyard deck in Colorado compare to our rooftop garden in Singapore?

Last night we enjoyed a wonderful evening with some wonderful friends and finally met their latest addition: a beautiful daughter with enormous brown eyes who was born the day we moved to Singapore! Kaitlyn's just starting to walk, which seems an appropriate metaphor for us.

jima - Stay tuned for pix!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Venitha's Verbal Vomit
by venitha

Not driving for over a year has made me the worst driver, appallingly discourteous to pedestrians, bikers, and other drivers. In addition, my once stellar navigation-about-town has deserted me. I can't decide if I should blame jetlag, an astonishing amount of road construction, or the evil trickster who rearranged the city in my absence.

Clerks everywhere, from the grocery store to restaurants to clothing stores at the mall, are so friendly and helpful that I'm suspicious of them.

That bastard Eddie Bauer is currently stocking fall clothes - no shorts! Not as ridiculous as Esprit in Singapore pushing denim jackets with fur collars, but still.

I gave my hairdresser the hugest tip.

If the number of postcards on the fridge are any indication, Jim and I have done a buttload of travel in the last year. Strangely missing from my mother-in-law's postcard collection: Singapore!

I've really missed my favorite local restaurant, Yum Yum, and its incredible falafel. Yum yum.

Running in Colorado is glorious: cool and breezy early mornings, gorgeous sunrises well before 7, and yard after yard ablaze with summer flowers. What with one broken bone after another followed by Singapore's continual attempts to drown me in sweat at the mere thought of physical exertion, it's been way too long since I've been able both to run and to love it. Now, does anyone know where I can pick up a pair of high-altitude-capable lungs?


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

No Little Magpie
by venitha

"No little Magpie," I say to Jim as we round the final corner toward home.

"No little Magpie," he confirms.

Our house is not the same without her. No Oh, yay! It's you! waggle greets me at the door, no luminous brown eyes stare up at me while I make lunch, no one anxiously dodges past me out the garage door in wild enthusiasm for any and every errand.

Still, in her absence, there is a presence. A shadow catches my eye as I walk by the back door. Do you want in, little girl? A ghost trails after me, "helping" me weed the backyard. You're going to make yourself sick, Mags. A phantom tail thumps in companionship as I tiptoe to the bathroom by the light of the moon. I see you, sweets.

Stuffed with our traditional welcome home meal of Pulcinella's double-crust spinach pizza, the three human inhabitants of our house go for a walk in the balmy summer evening, following Maggie's well-worn path to the mailbox. I delight in a package from Amazon, Marilyn marvels at a beautiful postcard from Australia, and Jim stuffs his large pockets full of junk mail for all three of us. Maggie never received anything but threatening postcards from her nemesis, the vet, so she understandably eschewed the mailbox, straining past it to the extent of her long leash. C'mon! C'mon! The short walk is for poodles. Onward!

We follow Maggie's steps around the block past the infamous Barky Dog Corner, where B.D. himself accosts us, yelling the same old obscenities with the same old vociferous abandon from the same old edge of his invisible fence. God help me, but why are this cur's vicious barks allowed to contaminate the languid evening while Maggie's lovely lilting broo-roo-oo will never be heard again? I want to kick the bright yellow fire hydrant, buried under layers of never-to-be-received p-mail.

As we near the corner and home, our pace slows along with Maggie's, and she warms our hearts with smiles and laughter, conjuring memories of The Wheelchair Incident. Eighteen months ago, Jim off in exotic Singapore, the ladies of the house formed a train in this exact spot. Marilyn, , pushed me in my wheelchair, while Maggie, our dawdling caboose, careened chaotically off the track at the end of her very long leash.

"C'mon, Maggie!" I gave her an impatient jerk. "Get a move on!"

Maggie ignored me completely, busily sniffing a bush taller than she.

"Move it, Maggie!"

Marilyn, indulgently waiting, giggled, and a moment later her amusement penetrated my Percocet-addled brain.

"Let's go!"

What a shocking sight we must have been to my neighbors! That evil woman! Berating that little old lady who's kind enough to take her for a walk! Maggie, delving deep into her bush 20 feet behind us, was, of course, nowhere to be seen.

But I could feel her then as I tugged on that leash. And I can feel her now as she tugs on my heart. I miss you, little girl.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Exhausted But Happy
by venitha

"Where are the mountains?" a voice shrill with high-maintenance demands from the back seat of the Hertz bus.

Seated facing us, a man weary of travel and, I must assume, of his traveling companion glances up from his map. He does a brief out-the-window survey, taking in Denver International Airport's man-made peaks, gleaming white points which protrude sharply from a vast brown plain that extends to Kansas and beyond.

"There," he decides, gesturing vaguely in the exact opposite direction of Colorado's Rocky Mountains, currently obscured by the haze of a lazy summer afternoon.

Jim squeezes my hand, and we stare with tired smiles at the quavering line that dimly traces a profile of distant mountain peaks against pale blue sky.

Exhausted, but happy, we are home.


Sunday, July 09, 2006

Let The Countdown Begin
by venitha

  • 10 hours til we dig through the candy bowls at 's emigration check to find the best flavor, lemon yellow.
  • 32 hours til I see the majestic Rocky Mountains. America The Beautiful.
  • 34 hours til I kiss my beloved mother-in-law's cheek. God bless Marilyn.
  • 2 days til I get to shop for clothing that will fit me. God bless Eddie Bauer.
  • 3 days til I get my hair cut by a competent professional. Overly harsh? Unwarrantedly bitter? I have suffered greatly, and I have the photos to prove it.
  • 4 days til I get to be driven into the ground by go for a morning run with Sue. I barely kept up with her on our last run, in sea-level Bali, so I'll have my work cut out for me in mile-high Colorado.
  • 6 days til I bask in the love at a Colorado family gathering.
  • 11 days til I get the hardware removed from my knee. Think they'll let me keep it? Think I'll still be able to walk?
  • 14 days til I am treated to a feast cooked up by my favorite Chinese chef. Mmmm... dumplings... we are having dumplings, right?
  • 15 days til I cuddle my little sister's adorable son, whose age has more than tripled since the last time I cuddled him. I feel like my age has tripled as well.
  • 16 days til I hug my parents. Hi, Mom!
  • 16 days til I drink Wisconsin cherry beer, eat cheese curds, and savor frozen custard. Good thing I've been eating so healthily in Asia that I can afford to splurge a bit.
  • 19 days til I cheer on the Brewers at Milwaukee's Miller Park.
  • 3 weeks til I sleep in my brother's new home. Here's to repatriated cheeseheads!
  • 4 weeks til Singapore's National Day, when I return to 41-year-old Singapore and my beloved husband, my older sister and my 8-year-old niece in tow.
  • 5 weeks til we all four go to Phuket. Sawadee, Thailand!
  • 6 weeks til I turn 38 and collapse in exhaustion from a really wonderful summer.


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Pointlessly Rambling
by venitha

It's 5:30am, and I'm wide awake. I'm typing feverishly and sweating profusely. Whatever possessed me to eat two entire Lindt chocolate bars at 1:00 in the morning, I can't say. Can you hear that shrieking STRESS WUAH WUAH STRESS WUAH WUAH alarm, too? So, okay, that may have had something to do with it. Plus there was the horror of discovering that the chocolate bars were melting - mellllting! - a la the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz as they glimmered temptingly from the kitchen cupboard all week. Plus there was the overwhelming necessity of saving them from the adjectival newly-hatched kitchen ants. Plus there was the post-happy-birthday-D alcohol haze further impairing my normally-already-fairly-impaired judgment. Jim wisely, or, to be more honest, drunkenly, or, to be even more honest, exhaustedly, went straight to bed and now hours later snores obliviously as I type this.

Major Insomnia is a frequent STRESS WUAH WUAH and stratospheric-blood-sugar-level guest, but General Profuse Perspiration usually prefers to ambush me with a body slam in the gym downstairs. And, of course, he loves to tag along, a pesky younger sibling, on any and every outdoor excursion. This morning, my dampened state is the result of our newfound commitment to the environment: we've finally started turning off the air-con in the parts of the apartment we're not using. We've surely only lasted this long decadently and profligately cooled thanks to our bargain with the devil HP: I didn't see Jim on our tenth wedding anniversary, but I've never seen a Singapore electric bill. Of course, we don't now benefit financially from our temperance; instead we merely glow smugly with self-satisfaction. And sweat. Kindly allowing Jim his beauty sleep, I'm now in our dining room by day, sauna by night.

The bedroom, on the other hand, is our escape from this tropical paradise. I turn the air-con to 18, its lowest temperature setting, and Jim, the sneaky ratbag, increases the temperature while I brush my teeth. While he brushes his teeth, I calmly and quietly turn it back to 18, put it in powerful mode just for revenge, then spoon with him beneath a thin blanket, and fall asleep to dream about the crushing weight of a thick down comforter and ice cold feet to warm against his legs. And to have nightmares about sweat and insomnia and pointlessly rambling blog posts.


Friday, July 07, 2006

Adjectival Ratbag
by venitha

"Get a move on, you adjectival rat... umm... Ratwhat?"

"Bag. Ratbag."

"Ratbag. Why can I not remember that?"

Jim gives me a sidelong glance, closes the boot, and wisely holds his tongue. We haven't been married for ten years for nothing.

Ratbag is my favorite word from our Lonely Planet Northern Territory's glossary and is defined as "a friendly term of abuse". Woolly butt, on the other hand, is just a tree. Adjectival isn't listed in Lonely Planet, but it's my favorite Aussie adjective anyway, well ahead of wicked, cheeky, and brilliant. I'm the only one I've heard using it, but I'm determined to gain something from having suffered through The True History of the Kelly Gang, and an Australian expletive seems appropriate.

We make our way through rows of cars parked on the grass, our destination a rare Saturday opening of Darwin's Mindil Beach Sunset Market in celebration of Territory Day. A bit weirded out by the odd similarities to summer festivals in our small Wisconsin hometowns, we concentrate on the differences: the smell of saltwater in the air, the electrified didgeridoos in the band, the booth selling stuffed cane toads in obscene poses.

"Care to share some paradise?" We order one Tropical Paradise, a mix of orange, pineapple, mango, and, my favorite, tangy passionfruit, and head out to the beach to take turns slurping noisily while basking in the glow of yet another stellar Australian sunset. Our Lonely Planet lists so many places as excellent for viewing a sunset that we've examined the author photos and debated over who has the fetish, but it's contagious, and we could even add a few sunrises to the list. Tonight's vibrant orange glow above the blue Timor Sea, we agree, is the best of a dazzling lot.

Eventually hunger, Jim's eyeball-roll-inducing sappiness, and imminent death at the hands of yahoos unable to wait for the official fireworks display drive us back to the market. Feasting on wide Aussie smiles, we wander the trailers serving a schizophrenic combination of Asian noodle dishes, deep-fried carnival fare, and native Aussie critters, notably crocodile, emu, kangaroo, and served up in style by The Roadkill Cafe, motto: You Kill It, We Grill It. We somehow resist all this temptation and settle instead on a novelty in Asia, a wrap, complete with hummus and tabouli, seduced by its label: An Orgasmic Sensation!

"Did it work for you?"

"No, but it was good."

The fireworks commence with a boom, and we stand shoulder to shoulder, oohing and aahing along with the crowd, amused at this same reaction to fireworks the world over and blown away by the smashing display. One nutella crepe later, we interlace our sticky fingers in the darkness and stumble back through the field toward our car, full and happy.

"Can you make out the ?" I ask, craning my head upwards and spinning clumsily around.

Jim, yet again, starts singing that song.

"You adjectival rat... umm... Ratwhat?"


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Ah, Romance!
by venitha

"Whoa! And how's he going to make that up to you?" Ingo asked last night when I explained the real tragedy of Jim's Taiwan trip this week. It's not missing the chance to meet Ingo in person, though it was a terrific and several-years-overdue evening. Nor is it missing the , for some reason not celebrated in Singapore. Nor is it getting to stay up all night with me, fruitlessly cheering on Germany in the World Cup. Nope. It's missing spending our 10th wedding anniversary with me, today.

It's actually not as heartbreaking as it sounds, as Jim and I both quite wisely married someone not too hung up on dates. And, honestly, we have more fun days to commemorate than our stressed-out, hot, sleep-deprived wedding day. My feet hurt just thinking about those shoes.

Last weekend, we celebrated the 15th anniversary of our moving in together (sinners!) by spending a night in a Cooinda backpacker hostel nowhere near as nice as, but featuring far more wildlife than, any of the six homes we've shared. And this coming Monday, we'll celebrate the 10th anniversary of our honeymoon stay at 's Aerie, a place we talked about returning to for our 10th anniversary, by making the 24-hour pilgrimage from Singapore to Colorado. Ah, romance! I just hope we get to sit together.

If you're still feeling sorry for me, rest assured that Jim and I have a hot date tonight. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, we're meeting for some Sheepshead in Dolly's Barn. If you know what I'm talking about, come celebrate with us by joining us for a hand or two.

Happy anniversary, Jim! And no mistake.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Top Ten of the Top End: Food & Drink
by venitha

In spite of Australia's reputation for meal after meal of shoe-leather steaks topped with two fried eggs, we thoroughly enjoyed the Top End's cuisine, probably because we resisted the temptations of Weet Bix (what is up with that?) and that ubiquitous Aussie favorite, beans on toast.

Instead, we enjoyed the following:
  • Barramundi. This fish rocks! Known simply as barra to the nickname-happy Aussies, it's incredibly versatile: we had barra burgers, barra and chips, barra filets, barra balls(?), and smoked barrmundi slivers. A delicious light white fish that apparently takes on any flavor and apparently is impossible to ruin, Barramundi is also the region's premier game fish, as it gets quite large (up to 2m!). And it's been around so long that it's commonly featured in 's captivating Aboriginal rock art.
  • Kangaroo. It's advertised as a very tender, slightly sweet, deep purple meat, and we were served what looked like a perfectly-cooked (so perfectly-cooked that I can't believe I didn't think to take an interior photograph) filet mignon. Unfortunately, it was all downhill from there. Disappointingly tough and slightly gamy, with a texture that leads me to believe that the kangaroo diet is heavy on . Despite the temptation of such impressive fusion cuisine as kangaroo laksa another night, neither one of us tried it a second time.
  • Crocodile. Yep, you guessed it: tastes like chicken.
  • Emu. Given its pounded-thin appearance, I was expecting either salisbury steak or beef jerky and was wildly delighted to be completely off. I'll-thumb-wrestle-you-for-the-last-bite delicious and melt-in-your-mouth tender, emu is the elk of Australia. If this comparison is lost on you, you'll just have to trust me that it's high praise indeed.
  • Dairy products! Not that I'm looking forward to my upcoming trip to Wisconsin or anything. The home-made ice cream (I'll have vanilla with a TimTam mix-in, please) and the native cheeses were unexpected treats. Jim laughed at the discovery of a new challenge food for his Taiwanese co-workers: blue cheese.
  • Iced Coffee. Besides being aw-man-you-finished-it yummy, Iced Coffee was just what the doctor ordered, and ordered and ordered and ordered, for a trip that started with a red-eye flight and never really stopped.
  • TimTams. Bite off opposite corners, and use it as a straw for your milk. Or your Bailey's. Whatever. Best of all, TimTams come in dark chocolate, too.
  • Quandong. It sounds like it belongs in China, doesn't it? True blue , however, quandong is a fruit that tastes like a cross between a cherry and a grape and has the unfortunate here-Jim-you-can-have-mine texture of an olive.
  • Passion fruit. I am passionate about passion fruit. Sour sour sour!
  • Coopers. Jim is passionate about beer, and in spite of the fun names given to Fosters (blueys) and Victoria Bitter (greenies), our favorite was easily the South Australian Coopers.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Top Ten of the Top End: Quotes
by venitha

Quotes of note from our whirlwind weekend in Australia's :
  • "No worries." The Australian response to just about everything. I love this country.
  • "You're on the wrong side of the road."
    "Sorry, lah."
    No worries; we only had this conversation once, and no damage was done, though we did lose a game of chicken.
  • "The wipers still work." We'd be so rich we'd have been able to stay in Australia if we had one of those small fat $2 coins for every time one of us turned on the windshield wipers instead of the turn signal.
  • "That's the best tip ever!" The Cooinda Lodge receptionist when I gave her a Tim Tam.
  • "Must taste like shit." Our Yellow Waters Cruise guide's explanation for why the swim all over the crocs while the other waterfowl (and sane humans) keep a safe distance.
  • "No speed limit totally makes up for having to drive."
  • "This may be missing the point of statehood." Comment in an NT paper regarding surveys showing that most Territorians want the Northern Territory to be called, well, the Northern Territory when/if it becomes a state.
  • "Why not steal something good?"
    " Like what?"
    Darwin's cuisine is heavily influenced by nearby Asia, and the Singaporean contribution to the Mindil Beach Sunset Market's dessert menu is an iced kacang. We opted for a crepe instead.
  • "All hail the great parking goddess!" In spite of our excessive use of the windshield wipers, we both quickly mastered driving on the left and negotiated roundabouts with ease. I even parallel parked!
  • "Now where's the damned iced coffee? I'm lost without it!" Poor Jim had to go in to work today after our red-eye flight home to Singapore.

    That's a termite mound in the middle of the advertisement. Creepy crawly close-ups still to come.