Rules for living in China:
1) Watch out for yourself when crossing the street, because the cars will not.
2) It’s perfectly acceptable to spit out food onto your plate, burp during dinner, and chew with your mouth open.
3) During major Chinese holidays (ie National Day and Chinese New Year) leave the country. Do not, I repeat, do not travel through China during these weeks. The Great Wall of China becomes the Great Wall of People, as almost all of China’s billion-plus population travels around to all the cool sites.
And since I am a rule-follower, when all of our expat friends told us to leave the country for last week’s national holiday, I started looking for flights and planning trips. We were hoping to make it to Thailand, but in the time we were waiting to figure out what days Terry would have off work, flights jumped up in price. And then Terry found out he would only have 3 days off of work, instead of 8 like they told him. Boo.
Then, last Sunday, Terry called home from work to say that, surprise surprise, vacation was back on! All 8 days off. I hopped online to find the cheapest flights we could, and thus was born a trip to Singapore! 36 hours later we were on our way. It was so last-minute we worried we would be stressed out over it all, but honestly, it was just perfect. We stayed with my old roommate’s parents who are living over there, and they were fantastic and generous hosts. They told us all the best places to go and food to eat.
There’s too much to tell you all of it in one post, but I’ll start with some of our favorites. Singapore was really fun because it’s so diverse, and it’s like a giant mix of cultures, all squeezed into this itty-bitty country. I joked one day about how Singapore is kind of like a giant Epcot (like at Disney World) because you would change countries as you walked. First you’d be in Little India, then Chinatown, then Malaysia, and on and on. Except it was way cooler than Epcot because it’s real life. (Course, then we went to the zoo which felt lots like Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We just needed a castle and the Tower of Terror to get all four parks!) Anyway, if you ever make it out to Singapore be sure to check out some of the following:
Little India. There were some rad markets in here, and the smells of Indian food everywhere left my mouth watering. We treated ourselves to a pretty tablecloth – something I’ve been wanting and
impatiently waiting years for. It was like a color explosion everywhere we went, with bright shiny sparkly things all over.
The food. Oh, the food. Honestly, we haven’t really explored too much of Chinese food here in China and the stuff we have tried – well, let’s just say we never went back for seconds. Or even finished firsts. But Singapore had amazing food all around. We had a lot of Indian food and traditional Singaporean food. They have these hawker stands where you go into these big plazas and there’s like a hundred little vendors all selling food or drinks or desserts. You order from as many stands as you want and end with a lovely mess of delicious food. And the juices – oh, the juices. They were bizarre and awesome. Everything from sugar cane juice with lemon, to avocado milkshakes, to kiwi juice and watermelon juice, to pineapple juice and soursop plum juice. I liked the sugar cane one best.
Bugis Street – fun and funky. Just a lot of cool shops with crazy things to buy for super cheap. We found an ice cream cart there and (of course) ordered some ice cream. They chop off a block from the kind of ice cream you’d buy at a store in the US and then stuff it between two wafers and give it to you wrapped in plastic. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, you can have it plopped onto a piece of bread – a literal ice cream sandwich! We stuck with the wafers and ordered ice cream every time we saw some (they don’t really have ice cream in China). The last day, I think we had ice cream four different times. Hee-hee. 😉
More to come (because I know there is nothing more fascinating than hearing about other people’s vacations. Let me just whip out the old slide projector, sit on down . . . )