Team Taylor Deportation/Repatriation Countdown
Days left in Singapore:
Days left until arrival in the Queen City: 19
And a good Sunday afternoon to you all from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. The last 24 hours have been simply fantastic, starting with a trek over to Novena about 6:30 PM for some drinks and nibbles at Money and Dan's place. There were nine of us in total present, with the Bull playing the dual roles of "token American" and "token Southerner." A lot of the folks were either former Uni mates of Dan's (he went to Oxford, so I was surrounded by a host of fairly intelligent people :-)) or former colleagues of his from London, and they were a GREAT crew. A lot of them were new to the region (ranging from 7 months to 6 weeks in-country), and I must say that I really hate I didn't meet this crowd sooner, as they were just fantastic to hang with and chat to. But at least I take solace in the fact that Lisa and Dan have a GREAT cast of friends already in place in Singapore, which I think will make their experience even more fantastic.
We chilled at casa de Placks-Waldek for about an hour before (luckily!) managing to hail 3 cabs in short order. We then rolled over to Little India and had a FANTASTIC tapas dinner at this really cute little Spanish place with an open air 2nd floor patio. Muffin - I can't believe I'm saying this about Spanish food, but I think we HAVE to go here during our final week in Singapore. It was THAT good! Plus the company was terrific, as the folks sitting around me were hilarious, easy to talk to, and in general just great value (Deano - that was for you).
After that, it was over to the Prince of Wales, which is a proper "backpacker hostel" in Little India. The place definitely has the "backpacker" feel to it: advertising its rates out front, little bar attached to the side, common area that you can tell has seen the wars, and all that jazz. What I found interesting (one of the fellas, Matt, pointed it out) was the reminder of just HOW MUCH more expensive Singapore is than the other destinations in Southeast Asia. Case in point - a dorm bed in Thailand will cost you about $4 USD. In Laos or Vietnam, you can get it for as little as $2. In Singapore, the CHEAPEST offer this place had was a dorm bed (meaning you're in a room with 15 other strangers) was $18 USD - more than quadruple the price. And then throw in $15 beers (vs. 50 cents in Cambodia), and you can see why Sing Sing is not top of the charts as a backpacker destination.
The place was really chill, and some of the guys played pool (which was hilarious because there was no cue ball and two 8 balls) whilst the rest of us just took it easy with pints (the mysterious "Bitter Draft") and watched some hockey on ASN (the American Sports Network). And it was at this point that the post title was overheard.
I was talking about something (I'm sure Emma would have said I was blathering about some naff, nonsensical Taylorism) or another, and suddenly one of the gals, Cath, interrupts me and says: "I'm sorry, Sam, but I just can't believe that's your real accent. Are you sure you're not putting that on?" I chuckled and began to assure her that this is how folks in the Russellville-Bulls Gap-Whitesburg Research Triangle talk, when Anna cuts in and says, "Can I just say that your accent is absolutely BRILLIANT. I think it might just be the best thing I've ever heard." At which point Ben (sipping on his mysterious Bitter) asks, "Darling, are you flirting with Sam? Are you smitten with his velvet tongue?" And it was at that point that I about pissed myself laughing. There are plenty of things I won't miss about life abroad, but there is one thing I definitely will miss - the novelty of the Southern accent.
I got home about 2:30 and was out by 3, waking up at noon today amidst plenty of rain and overcast skies. That wasn't a bad thing, however, as it gave me a chance to knock out some to-dos, continue packing, and get some emails and other general foolishness finished. I went to the grocery store as well, only to find that, for the second straight week, THEY HAD NO COLD CUTS. Now seriously - we are talking about a grocery store that services 5 or 6 different apartment complexes, and they have NO MEAT. You can buy fourteen BILLION kinds of sausages, but if you want a turkey sandwich, well, you are 100% S.O.L. Last week I at least managed to find some nasty boiled ham that was about 90% fat and 10% intestines, but this week it was just a strikeout. I could feel jaded Sammy rising up in the store, so I bought myself another bag of chips to compensate and ran out the door.
As for the afternoon, I spent it crossing off my final to-do in Singapore - the HSBC Treetop Walk at McRitchie Park. The canopy walk, set 4.4 KM back in the park, was closed for the first 5 months of mine and Jenny's time here. It's something that I'd been wanting to do for awhile, and with the skies overcast and me desperately neednig exercise, it felt like the perfect time to go.
The walk was terrific (I even ran into a work colleague on the trail), and the treetop walk (whilst short - only 250 meters) was actually really neat. I saw loads of monkeys (Paula - you would have LOVED it), and it was really neat to observe them that high in the canopy, grooming each other, bouncing from branch to branch, and looking much more in their element than when they are stealing food from tourists. I spent about 20 minutes taking it all in, and then I ran the 4 miles back to complete the loop. It was my farewell run at McRitchie, and I felt like it ended on a good note. And of course, finishing just as a taxi pulled up certainly didn't hurt anything...
I'm now back at the palace and showered, and it's time to order a Boomerang pizza before settling in for the night. The Bourne Identity is on in 57 minutes, and since I had "Watch the Bourne Trilogy" on my list of things to do at home, I reckon I can kickstart it tonight.
Lisa and Dan - I feel very blessed to know you guys, and I really do appreciate you introducing me to so many of your wonderful pals out here. Tell them I'll record some of my best phrases and place them on Youtube so they can listen to them from time to time and practice. :-)
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!
Sam and (most likely at the airport awaiting her IndiGO! flight to Mumbai after surviving a bike tour of Delhi - seriously, WHO DOES A BIKE TOUR OF DELHI?) Jenny (and Cath)