Singapore

Posted Posted in Round The World Trip, Singapore

We woke up and checked out of our luxurious Fragrance Hotel.  Our flight wasn’t scheduled to leave until 8:30 tonight, so we left our bags and headed into the city.

We caught the MRT to Raffles Place and followed Allen’s directions to the Victoria Concert Hall, where we would watch the Singapore Symphony’s Friday dress rehearsal.  We were running about 15 minutes late, but Allen was waiting for us outside.  He told us that he’s not scheduled to perform until 10:30 and wanted to know if we wanted some brekkie.  Jon and I looked at each other and said, “No way!  We want the WHOLE rehearsal!”

Command Performance by the Singapore Symphony (www.sso.org.sg)

Allen led us into the concert hall where the symphony was just beginning to set up.  The conductor hadn’t appeared yet, so everyone was tuning their instruments and warming up.  We waved at Nella in the front row who was warming up her cello.

This weekend’s upcoming performance featured an Italian pianist who, said Allen, “Is probably really famous but I have no idea what his name is.”  So funny!  And so typical.  Allen leads this amazing life in Singapore, doing exactly what he loves and getting paid handsomely for it.  He lives in a great apartment, has fun friends, travels to exotic places, and performs with world-renowned artists.  But he just shrugs it off as if it were another day at the office.  Of course, for him it is another day at the office.  For Jon and I, however, it was an AMAZING opportunity to take in quality culture.  (The pianist, we found out later, is Artur Pizzaro.  We’ve never heard of him but that’s certainly not saying much.)

The conductor arrived around 9:45 and said ‘Good morning’ to everyone onstage and all the musicians immediately took their positions.  A minute later, he began and we sat back and let the music roll over us.  There were only five people in the audience, including the three of us.  Allen told us that the conductor’s name is Christoph Poppen, and he’s a visiting conductor from Germany.  I didn’t know this, but the symphony has a different conductor every week.  So Allen says that part of the rehearsals are to learn the signals and facial expressions of the conductor.  He also told us that the role of the conductor is important in two ways: (1) As a director.  In rehearsals he must ensure that the group is listening to each other and playing correctly.  (2) As a diplomat.  When ironing out the kinks, he also has to smooth over ruffled features and avoid stepping on inflated egos.

The Singapore Symphony – Artur Pizzaro on Piano

This second point was apparent later in the rehearsal.  But first he had the symphony go over two pieces they would be performing this weekend.  I didn’t know the pieces, but later found out that they were Mendelssohn’s The Hebrides Overture (Fingal’s Cave), Op 26 and Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto No 1 in G minor, Op 25.  The main parts, of course, were from Pizzaro’s piano.  But the symphony itself sounded lovely.  Allen grimaced a few times when he caught a blunder (in between yawns).  But Jon and I are completely unworldly when it comes to classical music so it sounded marvelous to us.  More than anything, it’s unbelievable that all these people can come together and make sounds like this.

When the two pieces were finished, the symphony stamped their feet to show appreciation to Poppen (naturally – they can’t applaud because they’re holding their instruments).  Then Allen said, “Here comes the boring part.”  Silly boy.  We were enchanted.

Poppen had them re-do certain parts of the compositions, carefully (very carefully) critiqued the performances, answered questions, and fluffed egos where necessary.  Poppen was very cheerful and supportive and the musicians seemed pleased with him.  Allen said that most conductors are just as diplomatic as Poppen, but there are a few with ugly tempers.  I have to wonder how a conductor gets anything accomplished if he yells at them.  At any rate, they replayed certain pieces – some of them two or three times – until Poppen was ready to move on.  In this case, it was difficult because the musicians were separated by the piano.  So the cellists on the right stage couldn’t hear the violinists on the left stage and some of the pieces suffered for it.  Makes sense.  Regardless, our untrained ears really didn’t hear the difference each time they played the part.  But Poppen was happy with it and he’s the one who knows what he’s doing, right?

At 10:30, they took a break.  Allen left us to go warm up on his trombone, and the stage hands removed the piano from the stage.  A half hour later, the second part of the rehearsal began.  Jon and I moved a little to the right so we could see Allen play.  Allen told us that the piece they were to play was Schubert’s “The Great”, or Symphony No 9 in C Major.  Whatever.  All we cared was that he had a solo part and that we had the digital camera’s new movie feature ready to go!

The piece was beautiful, and we were captivated by the fact that we were now the only people in the concert hall.  The Singapore Symphony was playing just for us.  And how lucky we were to know someone like Allen who could give us this opportunity.  In a matter of minutes, Jon and I decided to invest in season tickets to the New York Philharmonic when we get back to New York.  My parents did something like that in DC years ago, and I remember that I didn’t understand why they went.  It seemed so boring to me.  Now I get it.  Why wouldn’t you want to sit and listen to this beautiful music for an evening?  I can’t think of any better way to spend a morning.

The Singapore Symphony – Allen (Principal Trombonist) in the Horn Section

The Schubert piece was quite long, and we took three different digital movies.  Two of them have Allen’s solo parts.  Unfortunately, the movies are 4 Megs each and so we can’t put them on disk to upload them.  You’ll have to wait until we get back to the states to hear it.

When the Schubert piece ended, the symphony again stamped their feet in appreciation of Poppen.  He had a few things that he wanted them to touch up and so the rehearsal continued.  I commented to Jon that I thought it was so interesting each time they played a section.  It sounded so perfect and ensemble that it was as if Poppen was just pressing “PLAY” on a CD rather than commanding a 100-person symphony.

And I feel compelled to gloat here.  None of Allen’s solos needed to be re-played.  They were already perfect.

I’m allowed to do that.  He’s family.

Lunch at Brewerkz

After lunch, Nella came to say hello and told us that Michelle was meeting her at 12:00 to go to lunch and we should all go together.  So the five of us headed out to lunch.  Allen took us to a brewery he’d told Jon about.  It was called Brewerkz (http://www.brewerkz.com) and was situated in a lovely part of town on Clarke Quay.  We sat at a table on the edge of the canal and enjoyed the lovely weather.

Jon, Allen, Michelle, and Nella at Brewerkz

After lunch, we walked back to the MRT together and said our good-byes.  Nella and Allen had some lessons to teach and Michelle wanted to hit the beach.  Jon and I had time to kill before our red-eye flight and wanted to do it in air conditioning.  So we caught the MRT to the far west of the island to go to the Science Center.

Science Center

It sounded cool in the description in Lonely Planet.  This is a center that – through gadgets and thingamajigs – presents scientific theories in a fun format.  We knew it would be mostly for little kids but we wanted to see something different and, what the heck, play a little bit.  But it was REALLY geared toward little kids.  It was fun at first, but got pretty old after an hour or so.  The center had areas for mathematics, aeronautics, information technology, and physics, among other things.  We enjoyed pressing buttons and playing games beating each other at 3-Dimensional Tic-Tac-Toe.  But at 4:30 we were more than ready to leave.

Jon Solving a Complex Mathematical Problem at the Science Center.

Nobel Prize, here we come!

We hopped back on the MRT and went back to the Fragrance Hotel, where I changed into my “flying clothes” and we caught our shuttle to the airport.  The flight boarded at 8:00 and we were off at 8:30.  My only complaint is that – of all the excellent movies they listed in the Entertainment Guide – Air New Zealand chose to show “The Fast and the Furious”.  This is essentially “Point Break” for the year 2000, but with cars instead of surfboards and a bunch of no-name actors.  Blech.

Singapore

Posted Posted in Round The World Trip, Singapore

November 15 – Singapore

We slept in yet again despite Jon’s intention to watch Sports Center.  He decided that sleep was more important than football and turned off his alarm.

Hell has frozen over.

Around lunchtime we called Michelle to see if she wanted to do a late lunch with us.  She did, so we arranged to meet on our subway platform at 3:15.  We had to mail our sub-lease renewal via FedEx and they came and picked it up from us at 2:30.  Then we went to Aljunied MRT station to meet Michelle.

Litte India

We took the MRT to the Bugis station and walked to Little India.  Yesterday was New Year in Little India, so most of the shops were closed, but we found a yummy vegetarian restaurant called The Woodlands.  Jon ordered some rice and banana leaf concoction and I had some sort of pancake with potatoes and curry inside.  The man who served us was very nice and patiently explained each dish, including all the sauces that were served.  It was very yummy and incredibly filling.

Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple

After lunch, we walked up Serangoon Street to see some of the temples.  The first was the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple, which is a Shaivite temple dedicated to Kali.  If you tuned in to connal.com in August, you may recall that we visited another temple for Kali.  The difference is that this temple doesn’t do the bloody sacrifices with which they worshipped in Nepal.  (See August 11).  The temple was built in 1881, but it was very contemporary because of modern enhancements.  The figures on the upper wall have been repainted in the past 2 years with vibrant colors, and the inside of the temple is floored in brand new tile.  Despite the fact that bloody sacrifices aren’t done here, the statues of Kali were still pretty gruesome.  

Bubble Tea

From the Kali temple, we walked up the street to another temple.  On the way there we passed a little store that was selling Bubble Tea.  This is a Chinese tea on ice with little black beans on the bottom of it.  I think these beans are tapioca, but I can’t quite recall.  At any rate, it’s very refreshing and quite yummy.  Michelle talked me into having an almond one and Jon got the chocolate tea.  Bubble tea is served in plastic glasses with a plastic seal put over the top of it so we can shake it around to get the black “bubbles”.  There is also a very thick straw served with the tea, because one must be able to suck the black bubbles up through the straw.  This is very important.  It turned into a game for us to see who could fish out their bubbles first.  We didn’t really care who the winner was, though.

Michelle and Heidi with Bubble Tea

Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple

The second temple we went to was the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple.  This temple dates from 1855 and has statues of Perumal (Vishnu) and his consorts Lakshmi and Andal, as well as his bird-mount Garuda.  Similar to Sri Veeramakaliamman, it was very contemporary and not nearly as lovely as the temples we saw in India.  But I suppose that this is to be expected.

Leong San See Temple

We walked around the corner to see the Temple of 1000 Lights, but it was closed.  So we called it the Temple of 1000 Locked Gates instead.  Across the road was a Buddhist/Taoist temple called the Leong San See Temple.  The temple was very Chinese and wasn’t very exciting (compared to Tibet, that is), but we were very entertained by the monk covering his car out front.  We walked around the inside for a few minutes, and were about to leave when the monk started beating on a drum.  This sounds rather simple, except that the drum was suspended from the ceiling and so the monk was sitting on a 6-foot ladder in order to beat on it.  On the other side of the room, a man waited expectantly for his cue to pull a bell cord.  So we waited around for the drum beating to end to see the man ding the bell.  We wondered if it was prayer time, but didn’t hang around to find out.

Michelle

Hanging out with Michelle was a great way to spend an afternoon.  She’s from Berlin although both her parents are American.  Her mom Nella lives here where she is principal cellist for the Singapore Symphony.  Her father plays for the Berlin Philharmonic.  So Michelle has talent and artistry coming out her ears.  She’s an aspiring artist, and is working on putting together a portfolio for application to art schools.  I have to say that spending the day with her was enlightening.  She sees things in a different way than Jon and I.  Our lackluster business minds completely miss the colors and shapes that she picks up.  So we got some beautiful photos because of her creative and original eye.  Jon was thrilled.  Here’s an example:

By the time we were done with our Little India Tour, it was 6:30.  We saw Michelle off to the MRT and went to the Internet Cafe where were stayed for about 2 hours.  Then we headed back to the room to pack up our stuff and go to sleep.

Singapore

Posted Posted in Round The World Trip, Singapore

November 14 – Singapore

Jon and I slept in, and then spent the afternoon in town.  We went to the Internet Cafe, where we caught up with friends and family and finalized our sub-lease with the people renting our apartment in New York.  For those of you who’ve been asking, we plan to stay abroad for as long as possible.  Our sub-lettors have extended the sub-lease until February, and then we’ll go month-to-month after that.  They’re looking to buy an apartment in the city, so we’ll stay overseas until they give us 30 days notice.  At the latest, we’ll be back in the city in June of next year.

After the Internet Cafe, we walked around Raffles City (one of the MANY shopping malls here in Singapore) and watched some little kids play in a neat looking fountain.

The fountain had four different spouts that were timed with one another.  They made some pretty interesting designs and the little kids squealed with delight each time the water came out.  In the background, the decorations were crazy looking palm trees with Christmas designs.  The theme of the display is called “Christmas With an Edge”.  Yeah, no kidding!

We also spent an hour or so in Sim Lim, the electronics building, where Jon drooled over stereo speakers for a while.

We stopped by the Raffles Cinema to see if we could catch a movie, but they’d changed the listing from the other day.  Now, instead of a few good movies, they had three movies that didn’t look interesting at all.  So we headed back to the room to see if we could get in touch with Allen.

Barbecue

Allen called us in our room and gave us directions to his friend Tim’s apartment.  About an hour later, we took a taxi to Tim’s place.  It was BYOB and BYOF (food), so we had to find a grocery store near Tim’s apartment before we went in.  The doorman of the building told us that we could find one down the street.  The grocery store was called “Cold Storage” and was so western that it even had barbecue sauce!  We were thrilled with it.  We picked up chicken, buns, sauce, and some beer and walked back to Tim’s to meet everyone by the pool.

Allen was there with Michelle and her mom Nella, who plays the cello for the Singapore Symphony.  We also met Tim and his wife Cindy.  Tim is a nutty tuba player from Texas and is as much a riot as Allen said he was.   So Jon hit the grill and we hung out and had a great time.

Allen and I joked about the borderline-reprimand we got via email from my Dad today because he thought we hadn’t got in touch with each other.  It basically said, “Here’s Allen’s contact information and you better find him or you’re in big trouble.”  Well the email wasn’t that bad, but Allen and I both agreed that it made us squirm in our respective seats.  Allen said he knew he was in trouble because the email was signed “Dad Marstall”.  So funny that, 16000 miles away on the other side of the world, and our parents can still scold us quite effectively.  (Just teasing you Dad!)

The barbecue was a blast.  It was really interesting to hang out with a bunch of musicians for an evening because it’s the complete antithesis of what Jon and I know.  Our boring business world is so far removed from the world of art and we’ve really never been exposed to it.  They talk about pieces of music as we might talk about business meetings…. “remember the time we were playing this and such-and-such happened?”.  I asked them if they memorized all the music they played or if it was just short-term memory.  Nella gave me an interesting analogy: she said that it’s like reading a book.  You read it without memorizing it, although you may remember bits and pieces of it.  And if you re-visit it 5-10 years from now you’ll still remember the gist of it.  So interesting!

The Symphony has rehearsals for 3-4 hours per day, and they sometimes practice personally beyond that.  But practicing is physically taxing so they can’t overdo it.  Their fingers/lips get tired if they do.  Allen actually has an old friend who he says was a child prodigy, but who injured his upper lip because of overuse.  Now he can’t play as well as he used to.  I’d never really thought of musicians as having these kinds of problems, but it makes perfect sense that they might.

The other interesting thing is that – in the Symphony – they have the same issues that we do in an ordinary office.  They make strategic career moves.  They have office politics.  They work with people they like and don’t like. They have managers who make bad decisions.  They have the same things that we have, but in a different setting.

After the barbecue, we went up to Tim and Cindy’s apartment on the 10th floor.  They have a spectacular view of the water and can see the islands of Indonesia from their windows.  Michelle and I hung out and chatted with Cindy for a while.  She and Tim are from small towns in Texas and have been in Singapore since January.  She’s quite the anomaly to her friends because she lives in this exotic city far away and they’ve never left the state of Texas.  But she seems to have made the adjustment without any problems at all.

After a final beer run, we settled in to watch “Evolution” on DVD.  Even though we’d already seen it in Nepal, it was still entertaining.  More entertaining was listening to Allen and Tim laugh outrageously at the funny parts.  Allen kept laughing and saying, “This movie is so stupid!”.  But it really was fun to hang out.

We caught a taxi back to our glamorous hotel and quickly fell asleep.

Singapore

Posted Posted in Round The World Trip, Singapore

November 13 – Singapore

Football Again!

Jon set the alarm for 7:00AM so he could watch Sports Center on ESPN.  Yes, I said 7:00AM.  He gleefully tuned into his favorite sports announcers and caught all the dirt on the latest sporting events.  I haven’t seen him so happy in a long time.  It’s the little things.

Then he went out for a run near Allen’s place.  As we were walking to the MRT last night, we walked along a nice running/walking path that led to the beach.  So this is where he ran today.  Unfortunately, the heat and sun were stronger than he anticipated.  So, while he had an OK run, he felt like crap for the rest of the day.  We spent the rest of the day in bed, reading and watching television. 

This was fine with Jon, because the Baltimore/Tennessee Game was on – Monday night football on a Tuesday morning. 

So there’s really nothing more exciting to mention for the day.  We were going to go on a night safari with Alan and Michelle, but Jon felt very poorly so we called and cancelled.  We decided to meet up sometime tomorrow to meet his friend Tim.

Fragrance Hotel

Since we didn’t do much of anything today, I thought I’d mention something about our hotel.  The Fragrance Hotel is most definitely in the Red Light District.  Yet because prostitution in Singapore is legal, this means that the Red Light District is actually safe and clean.  The hotel is clean and relatively new.  And despite the fact that there are a large population of men hanging out on street corners at odd hours of the day, the hotel didn’t ask us if we were interested in the hourly rate.  Must have been the backpacks that gave us away.

When we checked in the other day, the first room on the 5th floor that they led us to wasn’t made up.  So the nice man went back downstairs and got us another room on the 5th floor.  When this second one reeked of cigarette smoke, we asked if there were any other rooms.  He told us ‘not on the 5th floor’.  We’ve decided that the 5th floor is probably for the ‘travelers’ and not the ‘hourly’ clients.  Although we actually haven’t SEEN anything to support the latter assumption.  Everyone looks quite normal.  But it makes for a good story, doesn’t it?

Anyway, we’re happy with the hotel.  We’re just a few short stops from the city center, and the bed is comfortable and and the air conditioning works.  And it’s cheap by Singapore standards.  HBO flickers out on occasion and the cleaning lady makes a bit of noise in the morning, but that’s all there is to complain about.  At least the shower is hot!  After 3 weeks of cold showers in Koh Tao, we’re quite happy with it.

Singapore

Posted Posted in Round The World Trip, Singapore

The television has ESPN.  Not only that, but there’s a TV guide in the room that screamed one thing: SUNDAY FOOTBALL.  

Of course, today is Monday in Singapore.  But it’s still Sunday in the states and there’s football on.  Poor Jon.  He hasn’t seen a game the entire time we’ve been gone.  He’s still playing in the “Rubin Football League”, although a friend of his is running their team.  But he hasn’t actually been able to watch a game all season.  And this is quite an adjustment for him.  He’s has uninterrupted football-watching freedom for the past 4 years.  In 1997 I was studying for the GMATs.  In 1998 I was planning the wedding.  And for the past 2 years I’ve been in school.  So for four years, he’s had complete nag-free television access during the fall football season.  

And now he’s had to quit cold turkey.  Poor boy.

So we spent the entire morning watching Seattle and Oakland duke it out on the field.

After the game was done, we rang Air New Zealand to see if we could get on an earlier fright to Aucklund.  Unfortunately, all the flights are full because of an upcoming holiday.  So we’re stuck here until the 16th.

But that’s no problem because we finally got in touch with our friend Allen.  Allen is the brother of my brother’s wife.  So, sort of my brother-in-law-in-law.  Sort of.  At any rate, his family (The Meeks) and my family (The Marstalls) have been doing Thanksgivings and Christmases together for… oh…. something like 15 years.  So we kind of grew up together.  Allen plays for the Singapore Symphony and has been here for a few years.  So we’re psyched we finally got in touch with him.  We made plans to meet up with him later this evening.

Quest For Books

We caught the MRT into town to find a used book store someone told us about.  We wandered around the “Raffles” area which is basically the nice shopping district, until we found the shopping center with the book store.  

Jon in front of the Raffles Hotel

There, as we were perusing through the books, someone called Jon’s name.  It was our friends Mirielle and Alberto from Koh Tao.  They took the Rescue Diver course with us, and left soon after to go to the west coast.  What a small world!  They had also just arrived in Singapore and were wandering the streets looking for inexpensive things to do.  Not an easy thing to do here.  So we chatted with them for a while and swapped stories of the past few years.

We also wandered upstairs to another book store, where we found a used New Zealand guide.  It’s not a Lonely Planet, but for $5 who really cares at this point?  As we were checking out, a girl behind us in line asked us if we knew anything about Malaysia.  We didn’t, but we ended up chatting with her for a while.  She was on her way to Thailand and wanted some ideas of where to go.  Through talking to her, we asked ourselves – yet again – why we left Thailand.

Scuba Shop

We walked back to the Concourse to see if the scuba shop was open.  It was, and we looked around it for a little while.  The man at the shop talked to us for a while about the different kinds of dive computers,  and dive masters get 10% off the merchandise.  Of course, we don’t have our cards yet but I think he would have let us slide.  It doesn’t really matter because we didn’t buy anything.  They’re very expensive and we don’t know if we’ll have dive jobs in Australia so it might be wasted money at this point.

Then it was time to go meet Allen for dinner.  We walked to the nearest subway stop, but realized that we didn’t know which stop Allen lived near.  So we took a cab to the address he gave us.

Allen’s Apartment

Allen’s is an adorable corner apartment on a little street that dead-ends at a canal.  It’s peacefully quiet and quite spacious.  We haven’t seen him since last Christmas, so the 3 of us sat around and talked and shared stories about our respective families.  He had pictures of our new niece, Samantha, who was born a week ago and who I haven’t seen yet.  It was great to see them!

We had an interesting conversation about prostitution in Singapore.  This, of course, is because we’re staying in the Red Light District which is amusing in and of itself.  It turns out that prostitution is legal in Singapore.  But not only is it legal, but it’s also tightly regulated.  The woman that work are tested on a regular basis, and must have permits in order to be “in business”.  This actually makes perfect sense to me.  I mean, it’s going to happen.  So why not make it legal and safe, instead of illegal and risky?  Singapore seems to be proof that it works.

So we talked about this and other Singapore-related stuff.  Allen has a great life here.  He gets paid an expat salary, has a fun group of friends, and has all sorts of culture right at his doorstep.  Regardless, he’s been here for 4 years and is ready to move on.  But he has a nice setup while he’s still here.  

Jon – being a stereo junky – wanted to hear Allen’s slick new sound system.  So we turned on the surround sound and watched a scene from Fantasia 2000 (the one with the whales).  Then we listened to some Pink Floyd and Radio Head, and just hung out.  It was a great way to spend an evening.

Mexican Dinner

We walked down the street to have dinner at a Mexican restaurant nearby.  Allen’s friend Michelle came to meet us and the four of us had a lovely dinner together.  The food was great, and it was nice to hang out with someone who’s practically family.  

Michelle, Allen, Jon and me at dinner

After dinner, Jon and I caught the MRT back to our hotel which was only 3 stops away.

Singapore

Posted Posted in Round The World Trip, Singapore

IT’S BACK!!!!!!!!!

We’d like to take this opportunity to welcome the latest addition to our travel entourage: MR. CANON!!

We almost didn’t get it.  We have no money.  We’re down to a ridiculously small daily budget and are hurting for cash.  We eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at least once a day.  Then we realized that we have another option…..

CREDIT CARDS!!!

So we found a good deal in the Siam Lim center, and charged it.  In the picture above is my man Sahid, who sold us the Camera.  (His name isn’t really Sahid, but we decided to name him that anyway).  The camera is the newer version, has movie capabilities, and a microphone.  The latter would have come in handy a few times on the trip – Buddhist prayers, Ken’s Xi’an song, etc.

After we bought the camera, we walked down Bencollen Street to find another hotel in town.  We walked into one of the inexpensive backpacker hotels… and walked right back out again.  It was horrid.  It wasn’t even the shared bathroom that turned us off.  It was the furniture in the hallways, the ripped up carpet, and the smell that turned us off.  We decided that we’d stay in the Fragrance Inn and the Red Light District.  It’s much nicer.

Then we went to the Internet Cafe for a good a two hours.  We caught up on emails, did some research on dive jobs in Australia, and got in touch with our friend Allen, who plays for the Singapore Symphony.  He had set aside tickets for us last night to see his performance, but we unfortunately didn’t get the email until today.

We walked around town for a while, and then made our way to The Concourse – some big shopping mall that had a scuba showroom.  The showroom was closed because it’s Sunday, but an entire floor of the mall was devoted to Christmas decoration sales.

Christmastime in Singapore

It’s so strange to walk around in shorts and a tank top while listening to Christmas music.  I mean, it’s 90 degrees outside!  It suddenly hit me that Thanksgiving is only 2 weeks away, and I’m suddenly craving Mom’s turkey and gravy.  Jon and I will be in New Zealand, so I wonder what we’ll do to celebrate.

We walked back to the Burgis MTR station, but passed through the Muslim district to get there.  On the way, we saw the Sultan Mosque, so we did do SOMETHING cultural today!

The Sultan Mosque

We went into a shopping center which had a food court underneath, and walked around for about an hour or so.  But shopping’s no fun when you don’t have money to spend.  So we went into the basement where the food court is located.   The food court had Japanese, Malaysian, and Chinese cuisine.  Jon and I ate at a Japanese place where they cook the food right in front of you.  It was very good!  (And cheap, too).

After dinner, we hopped back on the MRT (underground) and went back to the Fragrance Hotel.