Hail, Singapura

Well, so here's my first ever post from the great continent of Asia. And it feels pretty amazing to actually be here as opposed to the 26 hours it takes en route to here. But that part is always interesting too, namely the people you meet along the way.

On the plane from Dallas to San Francisco I sat next to Chrissy, a forty-something Dallas native who is a missionary in Mongolia. Quite interesting, and after she shed some light on the whole Mongolian Bar-B-Cue myth (yes, I'm afraid it's right up there with General Tso's Chicken and the Western Egg Roll -- an American invention through and through) we got down to business and settled into a healthy two hour convo about spitting Mongolians, air travel debacles, Big 12 football (one of her daughters went to Texas Tech), missions abroad, and life in general. She is a wonderful lady and actually said there's a distict need of trained media people in the abroad mission force of today. A very intriguing possibility, I thought, and one I need to do some more research about.

And then on the plane in San Fran, waiting placidly for take off and attempting to mentally prepare myself for the 14 hour plane ride before me, a small asian woman took her seat next to me. This wouldn't be an abnormal thing except for the fact that once seated she immediately fumbled for the barf-bag and began wretching into it like tomorrow had literally been wiped from existence. Although I didn't smell anything, I was somewhat taken aback and displeased at the idea of spending multiple thousands of miles hurdling through the Stratosphere with Upchuck McGoo immediately to my right emptying herself every half hour. Fortunately, the winds of fortune were with me and her son offered to give her the aisle on the opposing side of the row and he sat next to me. "Yeah, my mom gets sick on planes," he said flatly. Yeah, no crap, I thought.

Turns out the guy, "Ronald" is from Edmond, Oklahoma and will be a sophomore at OU next year, majoring in petroleum engineering. Small world. His parents are from Vietnam and they were going to Ho Chi Minh City to visit some family. An interesting coincidence that of the 400 people on our 747 out of San Fran to Hong Kong, United Airlines somehow paired up the Sooners next to each other...I like it.

So I am here and mostly well. The jetlag is definitely present and my noodle intake high. It's delightfully Asian here (as it should be I reckon), but astoundingly British too. Having seen a good bit of the Old Country, it's kind of comforting and familiar here. Think of your average motorway in England and then drop it into a tropical setting with some shops with funny writing on them and you're on the right track. And it's good to be driving on the left side again.

But this is getting long. Today we went to Malaysia for a day trip. At the closest part you could throw a rock (or on a calm day perhaps a fried wanton) across the causeway and hit Malaysia from Singapore. Or, as I suggested to Dan as we crossed the causeway bridge into Malaysia, you could "swim across because it's so close."

"Yes," he assured me. "You could, but they would shoot you in the water."

Right. Yeah, I guess I didn't think about that part in the illustrative parable...

So...some pics. More to come no doubt. Gotta give these Asian photogs a run for their money...

I was rather tired of being on the plane at this point. Strangely around hour 10 of 14 I broke down and just didn't care how long anything took from that point on.

The road warrior daze.

Ronald (an Edmond-ite) and I doing awkward. We were close to landing. Morale was high.

Getting closer.

Johar Baru, Malaysia. The closest Malaysian city to Singapore.

"Thank You" in Malay. Each day 100,000 Malaysians pass on this road into Singapore to work.

Back in Singapore on the "expressway" toward the Ling residence and more importantly, lunch.

Petrol (like everything else) is expensive in Singapore. In Malaysia it's about half as expensive. To limit Singaporeans from purchasing their gas in Malaysia, the Singaporean goverment has a law that requires all cars leaving Singapore to have their gas tanks at least three quarters full at the check point. If you are late picking up the kids from soccer practice in your H2 and happen to forget to top off the tank, you get fined a cool $500 for the offense. These Singaporeans don't fanny about...

Just be certain to not bring 15 grams or more of any illegal drug into the country because sure as shanghai you'll be sent to the gallows over the matter. No joke.

Flavorful chicken and rice with some refreshing sugar cane juice. I'm realizing now why Dan always talks about food. It really is outstanding. If I were a Singaporian expat in the US subsisting on blandish Mid-Western vittles, I'd probably talk about the food back home five times a day too.

4 Responses to 'Hail, Singapura'

  • jules said...
    http://justpixels2.blogspot.com/2007/06/hail-singapura.html?showComment=1181228040000#c7906363683253545847'> 9:54 AM

    You're so lucky to have good internet access. I'm craving some connection to the world more often. I hope you have a great time. We'll definitely have to share stories when we're both back.

  • Mikki said...
    http://justpixels2.blogspot.com/2007/06/hail-singapura.html?showComment=1181243400000#c2618823758040112875'> 2:10 PM

    Great pics chubby! My mom just got back from Japan yesterday and she brought back some yummy asian delights for my jowls to feast upon. Keep them pictures of food comin'!

  • Daughter of Eve said...
    http://justpixels2.blogspot.com/2007/06/hail-singapura.html?showComment=1181262840000#c361556930619671951'> 7:34 PM

    Oh my, I've never had a Pukey next to me, that would be horrific! That would have made for a horribly long flight.
    The food looks good (what's the green drink?), and I don't recommend the swim from Singapore to Malaysia. Ye gads...maybe if you floated there on a container of gas, you'd be allowed in. Do you think they're legalistic? How does that translate into their daily lives?

  • Sally said...
    http://justpixels2.blogspot.com/2007/06/hail-singapura.html?showComment=1181335980000#c5947552450091698269'> 3:53 PM

    wow. I've never flown over the Pacific before.

    a Singaporean friend gave my dad a Tshirt. on the back it says "Singapore is a Fine City," and it has a list of all the things you can get fined for, including chewing gum, I believe...

    is sugar cane juice good? what does it taste like?