Friday, November 28, 2008

New Start

Day 262
I was up around 6am, I really hate jet lag. It was better than sleeping late though. I was able to call my parents and tell them Happy Thanksgiving. After some surfing I headed back to the hostel to have some breakfast.

Asia is an entirely new type of travel for me. This is really uncharted territory. I think that I may have been getting a bit bored of Europe and this is the perfect way to shake things ups. As I know very little about Singapore’s history I decided that my first stop should be the National Museum. I hade some time to kill though and sat on a park bench with a slupee.

There are several sections to the museum but I choose to just visit the Living Galleries and the history bit. All of it was fantastic.

The Living Galleries focused on different aspects of everyday life. I guess that is a bit obvious though. The first one focused on street food and made the things I turned the things I had stuck my nose up at the night before into something less gross looking. Part of it focused on local spices including one made out of tiny fish and one called Rambutan that is called the hairy one. I quite liked looking at the old pushcarts and homemade rice cookers.

The photography section concentrated on how diverse Singapore is. It was really pretty interesting. The third section was on film and theater. I liked all the costumes and the water puppet stage. I will definitely catch a show while I am in Asia. I spent some time watching the movies on the oversized screens. The last section was on fashion. There was a movie from the 50’s that said that properly applied makeup was the way to catch and keep a man. I guess I’m in trouble!

As I know so little about Asian history I knew that the history museum would be very interesting. There were prehistoric people here, however not much is know about them. The first permanent settlement began in the 15th century. Over time Singapore was occupied by a host of different people.

In 1819 the British arrived. This brought a time of prosperity. There were, however, very few women. Japanese women were brought in as prostitutes and were a majority of the Japanese community in Singapore. There was a section that describe an opium den. Apparently it was so addictive that people would even forget to eat.

During WWII Singapore was bombed by the Japanese. The British lost the island in a rather embarrassing fight in just 7 days. The three year Japanese occupation brought on a bleak period. With the help of the Americans Britain regained control in 1945. The Singaporeans were happy to see them, however they didn’t like how Britain was unable to protect them and began to move away from being a colony.

During the 1960’s Singapore was still very underdeveloped, but this changed very quickly. During the 70’s new technologies were introduced and the government worked hard to create jobs. In just over a decade Singapore went from third world to first world.

I think what amazed me the most was how diverse the culture is. When I left the air-conditioning I had forgotten how hot it was outside. I wanted to visit a fort but needed to find lunch first. I thought that my new food knowledge would help me pick out something yummy, but still nothing looked good. I ended up just going to McDonalds.

The fort was up a bit hill and between the sun and already being tired I just didn’t want to go. I headed back towards the hostel and spent some time with blog before taking a nap.

Later that night I was convinced by a group of people to go out to a hawker stand. One of the guys in the group used to live here and knew just what to order. None of it looked good to me but I tried it all. The only thing I didn’t like was the oyster omelet, but I don’t think I would like that any where. I liked two things that I thought were chicken best, but they turned out to be tofu. I guess sometimes it’s better to eat first and ask question later. Ignore the bottle of vodka in the picture though, the guys were drinking it with coke, not only is vodka gross but with coke its disgusting!

After eating I played with the idea of going out with everyone but beers here are about US $12 each and I just didn’t want to spend that kind of money so I called it a night.


Anna said...

"I guess sometimes it’s better to eat first and ask question later" -> XD True xD

My e-mail adress : :)

Kamiel Verwer said...

hi Kathryn,

your blog is two weeks behind, so I don't know where you are.. looks like a very good idea to me, to fly south-east, since here in Kiev, it's getting colder every day. I guess it must a some real experience, Singapore? I'm curious about your trail...

I am on my way home for Christmas, and after that, I want to leave Europe too. Destination: where the winds takes me.