Thursday, May 28, 2009

singapore, part 4

10th day, Weds: Another long teaching day. Followed, though, by an outing with Marissa, her TA Wafa, and Wafa's boyfriend Ian. Went out for some amazing Indian food in Little India (duh). Awesome masala chicken. MOST AMAZING biryani I have EVER EATEN. Sandalwood. Then we had a taste experience that wasn't so much amazing as disturbing: durian fruit. A fruit stand with outdoor seating (so you don't have to be in a confined space while eating durian fruit: which might be a sign, you know? if a fruit is so pungent you can't be in a closed space with it?). Marissa thought the inside of the fruit looked like bodily organs. Like a patient anesthetized on the table. Once you start eating it you kind of get used to the mushy pungent nature of the beast... but then once you stop, you really don't want to pick it up again.

11th day, Thurs: More workshopping in class. Long day. Followed by our first Indonesian food, which also came in the form of a food court in a mall. This time a "younger" feeling mall -- apparently where all the kids hang out. Then, like teenagers, Marissa and I went shopping. Specifically, dress shopping. I also found earrings. And it was good. What also made it good, was a vodka lime at the Dubliner bar we found.

12th day: Our last day off... morning we had kaya toast, then went on what we described as a job interview for a position we never applied for, and didn't know we'd even want. At the Singapore American School. A little marketing on our morning off. Then: a bizarre trip to Malaysia. Through customs, not only did we get our temperature taken remotely (like what cops use, those speeding detector guns?)... we also had it taken through our ears, as, because we had American passports, we raised swine flu flags. Even though we hadn't been in the US in the past 7 days (incubation window). Fucking ridiculous. My blood sugar was too low at this point to deal. Marissa witnessed my hissy-fit-like response. And then I ate a donut. And it was good.

So Johor is a weird border town. We saw a cool building that serves as the train station. Walked through the red light district with our guide, Ian. Sipped cold beverages after getting overheated. Visited a shopping mall (hey, it's ALWAYS THE THING TO DO). Walked the industrial beach. Had a hell of a trip back. Long lines at the border: another hissy fit. I believe my exact words to Marissa were: "I can't do this." Especially when our line suddenly dissolved and we had to get in a NEW line to have our passports scrutinized. Marissa assured me that not only could I do it, I would HAVE to do it. So we shared my ipod and listened to some Mgmt for inspiration. Ate some fig bread as clearly part of the problem = low blood sugar (isn't that always part of the problem, if not THE problem?).

Then, utilitarian dinner, Vietnamese (spring rolls! green mango salad!) on our street, to go.

Last teaching day! It was good, overall... some last minute revisions, some staging of short stories, some balderdash, a little collaborative writing (or that was the goal, at least). Altho., the last hour or so, was chaos: as I graded journals and the kids worked through their exhaustion and sugar highs. But they are terribly endearing.

Final night! Marissa and I went with Mr & Mrs Lim to the Republic Plaza for a RIDICULOUS view in a CRAZY opulent building. Followed by dinner at the Cricket Club. And grocery-souvenir shopping to spend the last of my Singapore currency.

The trip out was looong. Luckily got kaya toast with Marissa once more. Had a 3.5 hour flight to Hong Kong. Two hour wait. Got on the plane, after two hours of "mechanical problems" with the fuel gauge, we had to get off the plane. Never good when your pilot is like, well, they're going to check it out once more, but hopefully we'll get a new plane. Then two hours, during which I ate a gross sandwich, but used the rest of my mechanical-failure-provided free meal money to buy some decent chocolate cake (the cake itself = dry. but the FROSTING...). So, after a grand total of 6 hours in Hong Kong's airport, I finally got on my 12 hour flight to SF. Watched Happy Go Lucky (good, Mike Leigh doing comedy). Watched Slumdog Millionaire (fun). FINALLY HOME!

Luckily Steve met me at the airport. Because I had five minutes of a baffled interaction with the BART machine... and it took someone else's intervention to put a stop to it. Then dropped off bags, took a quick shower... went out for beer at the Monk's Kettle, and an amazing dinner (sole! and morel mushrooms!) at Range. And some sort of mixed drink. And rhubarb tart, with cardamon ice cream. I love unusual ice creams. And I think the combination of the homeopathic no jet lag meds, the alcohol, and the being thrown back into cold, grey SF, helped get me to sleep at a normal Pacific time.

That is all!

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