Wednesday, 27 January // Welcome to Singapore :o
I took a taxi to the airport to arrive to Singapore this morning. My friend Joshua (IG: @josha_is_nice) - I met him studying in Tel Aviv - is from Singapore. He offered to let me stay with him at the home of his grandmother. The airport aches largely above me. I'm comforted by the familiar sounds of Chinese and the sight of Buddhist monks at immigration. Immigration is easy; the plump woman checking status takes pause at my messy passport. It's not problem. My taxi driver to Josh's home plays some talk radio show in what sounds like Arabic. We arrive to a residential neighborhood with palatial mansions idyllic behind traditional and modern gateways.
His grandmother's home is simple but sprawls across the property. She later tells me they expanded it massively from its original construction so that her children could continue to live there.
The helper prepares lunch. We eat. Joshua tells me he must tutor in the afternoon, so I'm on my own. But he prepares a guide for my day and sets me on my way from the train station with a topped-up metro card.
I get off at Orchard Road in the humid warm shadows of monolithic shopping centers. I wander into a few and explore. Young professional-looking locals work at laptops in coffee shops in the cooling aircon. I dive into the underground and get a bit lost. I walk to Dhoby Ghaut, where I was supposed to visit the National Museum, but I skip it in favor of a visit to Arab Street and Haji Lane in the traditional Arab and Malay district of Singapore. There's a famous mosque. It's quaint relative to the ones in Indonesia. The streets are littered with young sweating Arab men. It's a tourist district. But I don't see many tourists. I sit in the shade at the Malay Heritage Center and watch a smiling couple in traditional Malay wedding fashion take engagement photos. I feel alone.
I'm still sweating. The sun is starting to fall close to the horizon; the air cools as I walk back towards Dhoby Ghaut. I'm tired and my back hurts and I take the metro home to grandma's house.
Josh returns a few minutes after me and we chat in my room until he's tired and goes to bed. I can't sleep until 3am.