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Tuesday, September 10

More of Tuesday's Tidbits



I know I haven’t been in this country very long, but I can already see that I love it.  I love the weather always being in the upper 80s and the humidity doesn’t bother me a bit.  I love the torrential rainstorms and while I wouldn’t go play in one, the thunderstorms seem much gentler than the electrical madness I am used to back home.  I love that natural disasters are not a part of this country.  I love the varieties of food available, even some of my beloved favorites from home.  I love that I can take a cab anywhere and the cost always falls between $5-20 dollars.  I love that I can understand Singlish better than I can some New England accents. 

That being said, there are some oddities and frustrations here.  This is not complaining!  And trust me… the housing stress right now is enough to make me go crazy and want to bitch it out loud and clear and for all to hear!  I also didn’t even complain when I got lost on four different occasions last week… just me and my two little men… and my husband not even in the country to help if he could.  I am simply pointing out things that show I am still on the learning curve here.  The good news is that I definitely think I will be off of it long before I was in Japan.  I guess I should cross my fingers and toes as I write that though.  

Let me tell you about my pretty new Singaporean GPS system!  Every time I program an address, I am never, ever brought to the point where I can actually enter to park my car.  The address will consistently take you to the front entrance, which you can bet will always on the other side of the shopping centre from where you need to be.  And with this point, to get to the car park entrance, without fail it will take you at least 10 more minutes and five more miles out of your way because all streets in Singapore are apparently one way highways.  If you miss a turn, you can bet your booty that you will get a grand tour of the city before you ever get back to your destination.  This simply isn’t a just-loop-around-the-block kind of country.  So if you are running tight on time before you even start out, rest assured you will be seriously late by the time you arrive.  

Another driving point… there are a lot of cards and passes and swipy things you need here in Singapore.  One of the most important is a NETS card.  It allows you to go to a 7-11 convenience store and ‘top-up’ (pay some bucks) the card that will be used in a machine attached to the front windshield of every car here.  Think EZ Pass at home, but not as convenient.  If you happen to not know what the hell you are doing with the card and you put it in the machine upside down, you will automatically earn yourself a fine of $70 for what would have been a $1 fee.  (What’s that you say, Experience and my darling husband?  Screw you both.  And no, I had no idea about the green light coming on when the card is in the machine properly.  Pfft.)

The only thing I really knew about Singapore before finding out I was moving here is that people really like to shop here.  As in… this is one of THE destinations for shopping in Asia.  I expected it to be like every other Asian country I have tried to shop in… simply not made for a Marilyn-Monroe-sized-mama.  I am happily being proven wrong.  I also am totally into the idea that women all wear dresses here, much more so than I was in Japan where I only did so on occasions when I would be going somewhere with a Japanese woman.  Here I actually enjoy donning a sundress and flip-flops pretty much every day.  The only drawback to the fun dress shopping I have been partaking in is that once the saleswomen get you into their dressing room, they are well-versed on keeping you there.  Forever.  Even when your two children are bouncing balloons into the dressing room beside you, high on the candy the sales ladies keep giving them to make them sit still.  Really ladies?  Sugar to make them sit still?  Shrieks of laughter and boys (literally) bouncing off the tiny boxed walls do nothing to stop the constant barrage of “just one more dress for you to try!”  Too often, I just have to insist that I will try nothing else on and I am extremely sorry but the eight bazillion dresses you gave me to try are just not quite what I want.  Believe me, Singaporean sales ladies, I hate leaving your shop empty-handed even more than I hate wasting yours and my time.

The funniest thing I have encountered here in Singapore though, occurred at the movies this past weekend.  It was a kid’s movie at that – Turbo.  Cute and recommended, but the movie isn’t the funny part.  Before it started, Kimono Husband and I sat quietly discussing over the kids heads about whether or not Singapore movie theaters would have commercials prior to the movie like we hate at home.  Seconds later, the lights go down and a cartoon little girl stands head down and alone on a sidewalk.  Her sad words… “Why does mommy have to have SARS?”  Umm… what?!?  She proceeds to tell us how none of her friends will play with her anymore and even the cab drivers won’t pick her and her daddy up to go to the hospital.  I only thank God that neither child asked me to explain SARS as we really don’t try to introduce deadly diseases to our toddler and preschool aged children.  A normal commercial in between and then one more fun one discussing how the world thinks that Singaporeans are so negative (which they are quite frankly).  This commercial went to great efforts though to show lots of Singaporeans around town jumping up and down and smiling!  They are happy! or so the sign says above them.  Considering that the audience is a room full of Singaporeans and a few foreigners, I get the feeling that the commercial isn’t aimed at the rest of the world, but the natives themselves.  You’re trying to convince your own people they are happy?  Interesting. 

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's October. I need an update. Pronto. ;)

Mark McDermott said...

I love your blog, just found it and can't wait to read some more.
Sheila