Sunday, December 31, 2006

Singapore - Take 2

So I ended up taking a 2 hour Colonial Tour of Singapore, which was nice. The guide was highly entertaining and informative. Basically showing some historical aspects of the city center around the river and encouraging us to shop shop shop, as there are quite a few malls, all interconnected underground, so if it does end up raining, you don't have to know it. It included a short boat ride on the river, just before it started to drizzle. He pointed out some statues (the famous lion-fish and some kids jumping in), private housing vs government housing, and gave us tips on our short stays in the city.

I flew on to Kuala Lumpur - I managed to sleep briefly on the short flight. The KLIA Ekspres from the airport directly to KL Sentral was amazingly fast and convenient (for 35 RM). I got a budget taxi to Christina's roomate's (Indhu)'s grandparents (further hereby known as grandpa and grandma). I'm not sure where they live relative to the city, but according to one other friend it was 'old posh' - as in, they moved there in the 60's and it was now an extremely nice and expensive place to be. Grandpa absolutely amazed me. He was born in Tamil Nadu but raised in Malaysia. Indhu's dad was born in Bangalore and met her mom (Grandpa's daughter) and they raised Indhu in the states. It was an interesting mixture of culture and countries. It was an easy transition into the household having just come from South India - I had some sambar for dinner, along with pickled mangos. The change was in a bread-upma - an invention of grandma's that was one of Indhu's favorites as a kid. Grandpa shared a lot of his thoughts on religion, politics, healthy living as well as a healthy dose of his sense of humor. Grandma was very caring and thoughtful. At the age of 84, they were surprisingly active and still able to drive around the city. Christina found Grandpa's driving a bit rash, but coming from India buses and auto rickshaws, it seemed fine to me.

I also met Christina's high school friend, Hani, who is Muslim. She and Tarik shared their wedding album - a mostly traditional Muslim wedding. Quite different from the albums I saw of the Hindu weddings from India. Everything was beautiful and they explained the traditions and where they broke from tradition (Hani sat in to watch her to-be accept her father's giving of the daughter). Hani's mother had also just recently gotten a new job and therefore at the last minute had to invite quite a few more guests, including a sultan. Unfortunately, he couldn't make it but sent his son instead. Given his importance, when he was present, he was sitting between Hani and Tarik in all the pictures taking on center attention. I shared a nice dinner with them at Little Penang in the Petronas Towers mall - I forget the name of my dish but it was a traditional Malaysian dish - with noodles and spicy fish sauce.

Later I also met a family friend of Indhu's - Lavinia - who treated us to an amazing lunch - a typical Malaysian (?) breakfast/brunch, made of rice, tofu, veggie-chicken (everyone is vegetarian), eggs, toasted peanuts, an incredibly tasty spicy sauce (what was in it? I need to find out), fried potato strips, fresh cucumbers, and maybe a few other items.

ok, onwards to the next activity. more later.

1 comment:

Mia said...

Happy New Year Lin!

Stop talking about all the food, it's making me hungry :-)

Keep the blogs coming...