Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I didn't know my lips could sweat... and other strange thoughts from my first month abroad

Looking down the Singapore River to the Marina Bay Sands Hotel
It's been a little bit over a month into my stay in Singapore; I've had a billion little new discoveries about my surroundings and about myself. I feel like my mind is always on overdrive... trying to fully understand and decode all the new experiences; think I should stop and just let things just happen. Here's a few of my random thoughts so far:

• Yeah, never knew that my upper lip had sweat glands. I mean I knew they existed but lately, I'm constantly wiping off my sweat mustache.

• Singlish is it's own language... it's nothing like I've heard before and although it's English, the slang mixed with the slightly British, slightly Chinese, slightly Indian accent creates a whole new dialect! I'm constantly asking people to repeat themselves but on the other hand, I'm rather sure that no one understands my Californian mumblings either! I've also noticed that I might just be using too many words: I preface my questions to clerks with some context but they tire of my rambling, cut me off and answer what they think I'm about to ask... they're most likely wrong though since they haven't listened to my question yet. I need to just get to the point the way Singaporeans like it (instead of "Excuse me, I'm looking for a blow dryer. Do you know where I can find one that uses ionic technology?" I should actually just say "Hair dryer. Ions. Where?")

•  Skin issues... Everyone I talked to said that the humidity would do wonders for my skin. They failed to mention that I would go through a period where the skin just freaks the hell out. My minor psoriasis on my hand got super itchy for about a week but now it's completely smooth... hooray! My face though is not transitioning as well: every day there's a new blemish that's not quite a zit, not really a bug bite, just some rando red bump that I can't cover with makeup since it'll just melt off in the humidity. Looking forward to looking dewy fresh.

• "Dry" is a relative term... nothing is ever dry here to our American standards (fluffy and zapping with static-y goodness.) To Singaporeans, dry just means it's not sopping wet and, according to locals, using a clothing dryer is idiotic when you can just line dry since the weather is so hot. I totally understand this practice but I grew up in the Californian desert, where it's too dry even for cacti to grow and where it's so hot that we could actually fry eggs on the sidewalk during summer: dry to me is BONE dry. I'm going to have to retrain my brain to accept this new definition of wet and dry.

• FOOOOOOOOD! It's truly amazing here with food. Haven't had a bad chicken rice although I prefer things de-boned. Fruit juice stands are everywhere too... my favorite is a freshly pressed sugar cane juice with star fruit or a simple green apple juice! Ethic spices and flavors abound! It's been fun trying new foods. I've noticed though that once a week, I need something that reminds me of Los Angeles: anything western (burger, pasta, etc), taco night, Korean food even... anything that isn't a food adventure so my tummy and my brain has a day to rest. Funny since Andy's rule in LA was that he needed at least one dinner each week with rice or anything Asian.
Clockwise from top-left: 1st time eating a mangosteen... (it's so cute and delicious), Indian fishhead curry from The Banana Leaf Apolo, Hainan Chicken Rice with lots of ginger and hot sauce and a fresh pressed sugar cane juice, Zion Hawker Centre

• Sticker shock! Everything is expensive here. There's no getting around it. I'm learning slowly how to shop here so I'm not getting price reamed. I've been grocery shopping at the Wholefoods equivalent here and that makes me angry. As everyone in the US knows, Wholefoods is where you go for certain luxury organic items that you can't find anywhere else... aka "Whole Paycheck" since you'll always pay a premium on normal goods. Also, as suspected, alcohol in Singapore is ridiculously priced. I really need to learn how to live like a baller on a dime the way we did in Los Angeles.
You're not seeing things... yup that's Wild Turkey being sold for $80USD (for the non-alcoholics, Wild Turkey is about $20USD or less for a 750ml bottle and commonly sported in brown paper bags by gentlemen hanging out by trashcan bonfires.)

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