Although autumn, that lovely transition from summer to winter is here, small pockets of heat and sunshine linger. I have to admit, I wasn’t quite ready to let go of summer just yet so the past week of wonderful weather has been welcomed. Early mornings have been spent in the surf on and under glorious waves big, slow and rolling. My playlist has been warmth and sun, cornflower blue skies, perfect waves, sandy hair, good company and pods of dolphins. It really doesn’t get much better than this.
These past months have been busy with nary a moment to spare. Set to a feverish pace which sometimes sees me time poor to do that which I love most such as just watching the ocean, creating, losing myself in the pages of a good book or baking from scratch.
We all have the same amount of hours in our days but it really is up to us how we spend that time. I have a list of things which make me happiest and a list of that which must be done. I recently compared those lists and with mindful gratitude, adjusted accordingly.
Singapore: So strict yet so sophisticated
It seems like a lifetime ago that our trip began in Hong Kong and finally ended here in Singapore, that fastidiously clean yet flawlessly beautiful melting pot of culture. The Lion City can also boast of having THE best airport in the world and it is natural disaster free.
I think anytime you travel to another country you should always read up on their customs, laws and culture and although Singapore is a contemporary and sophisticated city, there are a couple of little quirks (aka laws) you will need to respect:
- Gum control – I have absolutely no issue with this law and its hefty fine as I dislike chewing gum immensely. I don’t think anyone looks hip nor intelligent while chowing down on gum so when in Singapore, fair warning – don’t buy it, don’t import it, don’t chew it and above all do not leave it stuck anywhere!
- Flush – and I am not referring to the literary ‘blush’. Failure to flush a public toilet in Singapore will result in a $150 US fine. And a word of warning – they do random spot checks.
- Nuding it up – it is illegal to walk around in your home naked. Close your curtains otherwise you will be hit with a $2,000 fine or 3 months jail time.
- It is also illegal to feed the pigeons or to smoke in public. Don’t jaywalk, litter or spit and do not annoy someone with a musical instrument…..Nickelback, take note!! Again, these acts will result in a fine which is perfectly fine by me.
We have been to Singapore prior to this trip and worn out the soles of our shoes en route to Raffles, along Orchard Road, on the Quay, in Chinatown and through the history, landmarks and stunning architecture of this beautiful island state. This time around however, we decided to spend our down time in one of Singapore’s most vibrant districts…….
The warm, wonderful and boldly colourful Little India. And why Little India you ask? Well that is because simply being here makes me happy AND their fish head curries are the stuff of legends 🙂
I am smitten with Little India. It is exotic and strikingly vibrant with its arcade’s of tiny spaces filled with silks and saris, spices and sweets along with the gold shops, beautiful flower garlands and Hindu temples.
From the ram-shackled food halls and hawker stalls to the open street restaurants, the air is filled with the spicy aromas of curries laced with turmeric, coal black cardamom, cinnamon buds, nigella and garlic. The neighbourhood really is a riot of smells, colours, sights and sounds and it truly is as Indian as India itself……but without the Ganges and sacred cows.
We were also incredibly fortunate enough to be in Little India at the tail end of Deepavali, also known as Diwali the festival of lights. This is the most important of all Hindu celebrations and it commemorates the triumph of light over darkness, hope over despair and knowledge over ignorance.
Packed with thousands of Hindu families who descended on the district, Little India was transformed with beautifully decorated statues of elephants and peacocks and one million and one lights. And there is nothing more fabulous than to be caught up in the human crush of love, festivity and happiness.
This for me, is one of the prettiest of temples and I have photographed it many times. Standing in the heart of Little India on Serangoon Road and seeing it again during Deepavali just seemed to bring a little more joy to my heart. The temple is dedicated to the goddess and destroyer of evil, Sri Veeramakaliamman and it is one of Singapore’s oldest Hindu temples.
And don’t be put off by the severed heads, the eating of intestines and the necklaces of skulls – although I am assured each victim deserved their fate – as that is only part of her story and as we all well know, there are always two sides to every narrative. Macabre to some perhaps, I still think it is a most beautiful temple……..
So that’s the trip. Done and dusted from beginning to end. I found during the writing of these eleven blog posts, there were at times a difficulty in describing a place or an experience simply because it had been far too wonderful to just whittle down into mere words. I found too that travel for me is a necessity, not a luxury. That a big world awaits and I never want to feel the disappointment of that which I did not do.
It seems too with each trip my backpack gets a little more frayed and my camera, a little more battered yet I have no issue with that as the memories they have held far outweigh the well-worn. Catch you all on the flipside soon………x