Adventures in pizza and chocolate eggs

This afternoon I went to Tanglin Mall to buy my wife a chocolate egg. For the last few years, we’ve been in Hong Kong before Easter and that’s meant we can go to Great, (a supermarket where the name refers to the magnjtude of the prices as well as the quality) so I can drop half my monthly disposable income on an egg from Cbarbonel et Walker, imported at great expense from London, and then marked up for my delectation.

But Singaporean supermarkets are not Great. All they had was a big sign declaring Easter, and a sad little array of Cadbury’s Caramel eggs. Not even a Creme Egg in sight. I panicked, thought about buying her six free range and dipping them in chocolate, then went out to look for the super expensive French chocolate shop down the street. Which had closed two years ago.
Continue reading “Adventures in pizza and chocolate eggs”

Waiting for a number

Says it all, really

Tonight after work I went to collect my number for the marathon. I’ve done this lots of times before, in Singapore and round the world. The organiser rents the biggest hall they can find, fills half of it with vendors selling running-related tat, and the other half is full of volunteers handing out race numbers to the entrants. It’s pretty simple. In Tromsø they had about 300 runners so they had a trestle table in the town hall and a few people with a clipboard and a big box of t-shirts. In Tokyo they had the expo centre and they processed 20,000 runners in the couple of days leading up to the run. And in Singapore they usually hire a hall in one of the millions of convention centres that adorn this isle. 

But not the Sundown. Not this year. This year had to be special. 
Continue reading “Waiting for a number”

End of the year

It’s the last day of the Year of the Monkey today, and music is wafting from Chinatown towards our eyrie on the 40th floor. Today I walked through a shopping centre in the middle of town, and there were a series of recommendations from an astrologer, put up on placards. Staunch stuff like: don’t expect financial windfalls this year, or don’t drive carelessly, or be careful in relationships. Does nobody ever get a horoscope that says “well, things will be fine for you this year whatever, so you can drive like a tit and stick all your money in a slot machine, you’ll come out on top”?
Continue reading “End of the year”

An exceedingly busy day, ending with chocolate

It’s been a busy day.

At six, La Serpiente awoke and so we gave her lots of snacks and then she and I went down to the West Coast Park for our run. My friend Gil was there with his dog, Jack, for the inaugural round of the stroller Parkrun challenge, competitors: 2.

We both started very fast; surprising most of the other runners. After the first kilometre we were neck and neck, about fifth or sixth overall, but I began to fade. Gil, advantaged by a dog which weighs less than La Serpiente’s fifteen kilos, beat me by more than a minute (even after stopping twice to do up his shoes) but forgot his barcode, meaning I hold on to this dubious crown for one more week.
Continue reading “An exceedingly busy day, ending with chocolate”

The long slow wait for the long slow boat to Bintan

I admit, I’ve been spoiled. When travelling to another country by ferry, I’ve been accustomed to the speed and efficiency of the Hong Kong-Macau ferry. You’d turn up at the terminal and usually be in a boat in less than an hour. And in Singapore, the efficiency of the airport is second to none. Maybe everyone you need to run an efficient transport hub went to work at the airport, and there was nobody left to figure out the ferry port.

Continue reading “The long slow wait for the long slow boat to Bintan”

Three month check in

The haze returned this evening, about 5pm, as if there’s some clown with an enormous bonfire and an even bigger fan standing somewhere in Indonesia, waiting to see when I’m about to leave the office before blasting a wave of pollution over the border. Not that I’m paranoid.
Continue reading “Three month check in”