The taxi driver who was taking us into town from the airport didn’t speak English. This may come as a surprise to you, but we don’t speak Thai. “Tomorrow,” he said, looking at us through the rearview mirror, when we stopped at a red light. With his hands he made a pair of guns and started “firing” them, all complete with sound effects worthy of Star Wars. His eyes came alive with anticipation. Then, he laughed and laughed.
It’s been 4 moths since I started writing this post and I’ve been having the hardest time clicking “publish”. Guess I believe that in doing so, it makes it all definite. But I’ve come to realize that in sharing it, I’m honoring my time in California and that that’s exactly what I set out to do when I started writing it in the first place. So, here it is.
Three or four days. That’s exactly how long people say it’s enough to stay in Singapore. It may be enough for a quick run down of all the major sights and checking them off your list one by one, but it’s definitely not enough to let this amazing city captivate you. It’s not enough to, as it says by a sculpture by Bruno Catalano in Gardens by the Bay, "take with you beautiful memories and leave a part of yourself behind."
I admit it. I flew into Singapore with some sort of expectations. I hate doing that when visiting new places. I like to allow my senses to do the exploring from scratch, and not be biased. Forget what I read and thought and just open my senses, take it all in, and be humbled. Be changed. But with a well visited place like Singapore, it was hard not to imagine something.
High Tea is a big deal in Singapore. When I first heard about it I didn’t quite know what it was. I just knew that if tea was involved, I wanted in, especially after the incredible experience we had at the tea appreciation workshop in Chinatown.
After my extensive research of places that offer high tea, we booked it at the W hotel in Sentosa, at their Woobar.
I’ve never seen a Chinatown this clean, I thought as my feet moved through the streets, exploring this part of Singapore.
Once, a taxi driver told me that every Chinatown around the world is the same. He believed that there was no point in visiting more than one. “Seen one, seen ‘em all,” he said.
I wholeheartedly disagree. Sure, there may be some common denominators. After all, they’re all Chinatowns. But as the city’s they live in, every one has a special feeling to it. Something unique, something that makes it different.
I’m a passionate person. When I like something, I love it with all I’ve got, almost obsessively, and I’m loyal to no end.Why am I telling you this about myself, you ask? Because one of those passions of mine is tea.
Being a coffee hater, (how can you stand the smell?) I find that drinking tea is art-like. It’s elegant, and relaxing, and healing, and to put it bluntly: yum.
During my extensive research of cool/different things to do in Singapore, I read that in Chinatown, there’s a teashop where you can take a tea appreciation workshop with a tea sommelier.
Steve McQueen once said, “I’d rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth”. You may know that this isn’t far from my own truth. I like cities. I do. I love exploring new skyscraper-laden skies, bursting with colors, people and smells, but I usually find that after a few days, the urge to go somewhere quieter, towards nature, begins to pull.
This is, by far, the hardest post I’ve ever written. As I stare at the blank page, I can’t help but blink back tears. This is something I’ve got to do, though. Not for someone to read, not because I want to share what I’ve learned this past month (even though I do), but for me. To get it out. To do what I always do, because I know that somehow, in the way it always does, it will help. I need to write it.
Some time last month, I was at my best friend’s wedding in Playa del Carmen when Isaac called me. The news: he had to travel to Hawai’i for work. The question: would I like to join him?
Seriously. He thought he had to ask.
My sister, Pao, would be staying with us for that week so she also tagged along.