Friday, April 22, 2016

GE 2016: Hustling in Singapore... on to India... and landing in Oman

Sorry that I have not blogged in a few days ... but we have been "on the move."  And we have now been traveling for almost 30 hours straight so I am going to hit the highlights of the last 3 VERY busy days. I have no idea why my blog is loading so weird... so excuse the odd patches of white background.  Since I don't understand why it is happening, I have no idea how to fix it.

View of Singapore from the Flyer (a giant Ferris wheel by the bay).

The Singapore leg was short (from 5PM on Thursday to 10PM on Friday) but Rainey and I really hustled.  We got to see virtually the whole city in that time and walked 8 miles the first day and 14 miles the second plus over a dozen subway legs  (very sore legs).  Because Singapore is a true melting pot of Chinese / Buddhist and Indian / Hindu and Arab / Muslim people and cultures, I found this leg very interesting and we had some great fun. I have been to Singapore before but not for as long and we had not seen many of the sights.

A few favorites scavenges (and I mean "a few" as Rainey and I did probably 40+ scavenges in this short time):

- Team Name in Chinatown
We had to go to the Chinatown section of town and have someone do a calligraphy banner for our team. Since our team name is so long, we went with just "lawyers."

- Eat Singapore's specialty
Singapore is know for its Chili Crab.  Messy as heck (I had chili sauce up to my elbows) and so spicy that my lips blistered a little, but delicious.

- Drink on the Boat deck
We had to go to the roof of the Marina Bay hotel which is so interesting architecturally because it has a boat on the top. Actually what looks like a racing speedboat that tops all three towers. And the deck of the boat is an elegant bar with an incredible view of the entire city. 

The bar at night was filled with elegantly dressed and impressively hip young people. 

 - Cooking Class
We took a cooking class one morning where we (not so expertly but under careful supervision) whipped up a meal of curry chicken, fish marinated and steamed in a banana leaf and sautéed green beans with rice. And it was an equal participation event with the boys cooking as much, if not more, as the girls. Then we got to sit and eat it all... and celebrate Bop's 25th birthday. The class was at a lady's house in a very nice neighborhood in the suburbs: two subways and a bus out of town. We had not really seen the other teams at all so it was fun to spend three hours together chopping, pounding, dicing and chatting.

- Hurl yourself into the sky
There were 30 points on the line if you road the G-Max so - even though I am terrified of heights - I strapped myself into a chair and got slung 225 feet into the air on a bungy cord. Totally terrifying. Not exhilarating. Not exciting. Just "keep our eyes shut tight and pray for it to be over" terrifying.

- Acting posh at the Raffles Hotel
The Raffles hotel is the oldest hotel in the city (founded in 1887). We had to eat "high tea" in their fancy tearoom

And enjoy a "Singapore Sling" (a fruit punch based cocktail made famous by Ernest Hemingway who apparently drank a lot of them) in the Long Bar.

- Ride a Bumboat 
A bumboat is an old-fashioned wooden boat that goes up and down the river that runs through the heart of downtown.  Another challenge was to get a group of strangers on a mode of transportation to sing a song with you... so we convinced everyone on the boat to join us in a rousing rendition of "row, row, row your boat." 

- Swim with the bull sharks on Sentosa Island
We went all the way to Sentosa Island (a sort of amusement park island) to try and talk our way into the booked-over-a-week-in-advance opportunity to swim with sharks at the Underwater Aquarium.  No luck despite our best pleading. But I did get a photo of me "swimming with the shark."

Chennai, India
We left Singapore this morning, flew to Chennai, India for a 9 hour layover and then on to Muscat, Oman. For the layover we had a limited number of scavenges including eating at a restaurant where they serve the food on a banana leaf (no plates) and without utensils (eating rice and curry with only your right hand is a truly messy experience ... I may have set a new world record for number of curry stains on a single shirt). 

There were bonus points if you had a boat ride, probably because the ocean in Chennai is very rough and there are no tourist-type boats. So instead we had a Iong "talk" (a/k/a price negotiation) with a fisherman who agreed to take us out on his boat. The boat had an open slot in the middle of the deck and when we smashed down on the waves a geyser of salty water spouted up and then all over us. I was soaked and sandy and gross by the time we got back to shore. Crazy scavenge.

Row of fishing boats (naturally ... colorful... because after all we are in India)

And each painted with a Hindu god or goddess for good luck

Launched into the rough waves

Also got to joke around with some street kids by the beach. Indians must have some kind of great teeth genes because even the poorest person in India seem to always have a big white smile.

Now we are in Muscat, Oman and Flat Stanley was chilling on the cushions - on the ground - in the sitting area in our hotel lobby while I checked in.  We are definitely in the Middle East as there were no couches or chairs... just cushions on the floor.


Beverly said...

we are worn out just reading this... amazing what you accomplished.
such fun places so far.....glad your still young.
bev and buz..

LittleBug'sMom said...

So cool. Can't wait to read about where you are next! And tell everyone hello. I took me a minute to realize that was Gigi. She looks so grown up!! Safe travels. Leah

Unknown said...

Zoe, your blog should be a feature in a Conde Nast magazine. Really interesting and makes us all feel that we are along for the ride with you. What a whirlwind. Enjoy and keep writing. Thanks. Simon

Unknown said...

The architecture in Singapore looks amazing. I would have loved that high tea. All of this is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing.

The white background may be the result of typing in another program and then copy / paste? I am sure I could fix it for you if you want to give me the log in, but that is what I do all week.

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