Saturday, January 25, 2014

Little India


I only had two full days in Singapore, which turned out to be not nearly enough (although as it's quite expensive, probably plenty for this trip).  It seems everyone either loves or hates Singapore--some think it's too commercial, too westernized, too modern.  And too hot and humid, usually.  But I loved it.  I guess the usual complaint is that they didn't travel all the way to Asia to eat at a Krispy Kreme or shop at a Gucci store, but as I live in Asia all the time, it was a nice vacation for me to find some foods and stores that I don't see in China.  

I especially liked the cultural diversity--There's the ethnically Chinese majority, but also Little India, the Muslim neighborhood, and plenty of expats from elsewhere, too.  You can walk a few blocks and be in a different culture, and yet nearly everyone speaks English. 

As I was having breakfast at the hostel (toast, nutella or some off brand of it, and fruit) the receptionist (the non-annoying one) asked me about my plans.  As I only had a couple of days, she pointed out her opinion of the must-see sights on the map, and the route I might take.  I started out following her advice, although it wasn't long before I got off track and went my own way. 

The hostel was on the northern border of the Little India area, so I started out first to walk through that neighborhood.  The streets at first seemed like any others, but after a couple of blocks I started to see a profusion of Indian restaurants, beauty salons, and convenience stores selling brands of mango juice that I enjoyed in Rajasthan.  Many jewelry shops sold the ornate and flashy jewelry that would seem gaudy on me but goes so perfectly with a sari.  I wandered into one Hindu temple along the way, full of locals offering dishes of rice to various idols of the gods.  I enjoyed the neighborhood as it took me back a year to last winter's trip through India. Even the smells took me back--that mixture of incense and curry and dust, although minus the cow. I even bought a mango drink to taste a little bit of India, and was almost tempted to have Indian food for lunch, if I hadn't already set my heart on making it to Hard Rock.  

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