Friday, 29 August 2008

"If you can read this, the family fell off."

Poor bike... Auckland cars are spoilt rotten!

This is a daily spectacle in Thailand, but just when you think you've seen it all... I was in Siem Reap and encountered the most comical scene: Middle-aged father (presumably) on bike holding toddler in arms while older kid (maybe 6 or 7 years) steers. The kid is standing on the step-through platform, and can just see over the handlebars. They're not wearing helmets, let alone holding onto anything solid!

Monday, 4 August 2008

OK la!

On my last night in Singapore I left the air-conditioned comfort of my hotel and wandered out onto Orchard Rd to see what was going on.

Orchard Rd is an enclave of diversion. By day it's brimming with shoppers who like to try on designer clothing, apparently by night with those more concerned with removing it.

I wandered into Harry's bar. It was full of expats, plus this soul wailin' some blues (equivocal gender, but unquestionable determination!). It was a bit crowded so I ventured back out into the night and found a quieter spot across the street.

A Texan fellow sitting next to me at the bar recommended a Singapore Sling, pointing out where I was after all. I went along despite a lingering recollection of the toxic crimson red syrup I once tried in Thailand, after all such things are usually better in their country of origin (except pizza, which is now best left to the Japanese). It was good - although still too sweet for my tastes. I prefer the tongue-twisting astringence of a good G&T (it fends off malaria, as well as the blues!). Had I tried one from Raffles bar (where it was invented early last century) it might have been great, I can't be certain. Either way, if wikipedia has any clue I would have been $24.70 poorer.

A comedy act came on stage, and I had another uneasy moment thinking something was a bit off. The pretty lady on stage kicked off with some jokes about Malaysians - in a deep husky voice - and suddenly it all made sense. The Texan chap downed his drink and split, mumbling something about stomach pains.

There were a few good gags to start with, but it all made less and less sense with each language introduced to the mix. I can handle English with a sprinkling of Singlish and Mandarin, but once they start chopping into Malay, Hakka, and Cantonese I'm lost.

I was ready to hit the sack for my 6am start back to Chiang Mai so went on my way, doing my best to walk with purpose and avoid eye contact with anyone who looked like they might try to proposition me with a commercial transaction.

I walked back toward my hotel through the overbearing heat, sweating profusely in the thick evening air. A shiny lambourghini glided past, and I thought how painful it must be to own a magnificent toy like that in a country with an 80km/h speed limit you can drive across in half an hour.

Singapore is an interesting place, don't be fooled by it's diminutive size.