Posted by: incywincy | July 28, 2006

Chinatown

Strangely, although I am living in Chinatown, I have yet to experience so many sights, smells and sounds here as I have today.

The little adventure in Chinatown today wouldn’t have happened had it not been for Peiyi (aka Mian Mian) and Gerald. Okay, abit of gossip history. Gerald is BB’s ex-roommate, and he recently went to China with BB for one whole month. During his last week at Beijing, he got to know Peiyi (who is BB’s cousin), and so began a story which brings us to today. It’s true! It began with a summer whirlwind romance and now she’s here in Singapore to spend the next 3 weeks with him!

So, yeap, our experience today was actually in honour of Mian Mian, or as BB says, 姐姐 (jie jie or elder sister) – he says I should call her that too, cos he is younger than she is, and I’m his girlfriend. But being a banana (yellow outside, white inside, ie a not-very-Chinese Chinese), I can’t see the logic, cos I’m actually a year older than she is! Haha. So let’s all assume that we are modern Chinese people, and I will call her Mian Mian. Haha.

Mian Mian is a nice girl. It’s easy to see why Gerald can fall in love with her almost instantly! And why BB is also nuts about this cousin of his. 🙂 We haven’t really talked that much, and it feels slightly weird for me, cos the 3 of them have known each other and spent time with one another back in Beijing. For me, it’s my first day meeting her, and also, she’s the first member of BB’s family that I’ve met! Hehe.

BB seems quite close to his extended family (though it’s not as extensive as mine) – something that I’ve never experienced. I’ll be happy to meet his family if all of them are as nice as Mian Mian is! Hehe. Maybe I’ll go home to Beijing with BB this winter, if he goes home. I have been to Beijing before, but as a tourist with a tour group. It will be an interesting experience for me to live like a local there, and see the sights and sounds again. I loved being in China then, and now, it will mean even more to me, cos it’s BB’s home. Was quite envious to hear BB talk about the things that he and Gerald did together when they were in China. I want to see all those things too, and know all the things and people that BB knew when he was a little boy.

Anyway, I digress! Back to the present!

Our day in Chinatown started at the bus stop at Pearl Centre, where we had some kind of introductions for the benefit of Mian Mian and I (which were really unecessary, seeing that we have all talked about each other with our significant others before we met, haha). Then we went for Sarawak Kolo Mee at Jia Xiang, which was followed by a KTV session that was so-long-that-PartyWorld-ought-to-be-shot-in-the-balls-for-coming-up-with-such-a-promotion. Haha. As some of you may know, I don’t sing. Haha. So, most of the time I was just drinking honey water, eating junk food and fruits, and listening to them three sing. It’s amazing how they can sing on and on and on and on.

And my BB is the best lar. Every song also he know! Haha.

After KTV, we went for porridge. According to Gerald, it’s quite famous. They had frog leg porridge (田鸡粥), but I, being unadventurous with food, had fish slice porridge instead. It was pretty good. They seemed to enjoy their frogs too. Yechh. Mian Mian seemed abit grossed out by the prospect of actually putting frogs into her mouth. Haha.

After dinner, we walked around Chinatown. It can be summed up in two words: Sensory overload!

We walked through those alleys that sell little touristy knick-knacks, foods, snacks, etc. Quite abit of interesting things to see, though we didn’t buy anything. We came to a Hindu temple, and decided to go in. All my senses were overwhelmed the moment I stepped in.

Burning incense filled the air, laced with jasmine fragrance from the flowers in the hair of the ladies. It was new to me, yet reassuring, somehow. I cannot explain it, but at that point in time, I was searching for words to describe my feelings. They were performing some religious rite, which involved music playing on some traditional wind instruments. A statue of one of the Hindu deities was being carried around on a platform ornamented with flowers of different colours and arrangements. Add to that, the multitude of colours of the beautiful sarees and traditional costumes worn by the Indian ladies. Tea lights and oil lamps were placed near the altars, flower garlands were aplenty. It was my first time in a Hindu temple, and an experience I won’t forget any time soon.

After we left the Hindu temple, we walked past Sago Lane. Sago Lane has a history related to death – something that made me spooked out, and also, at the same time, feel sorry for people back in that era. Apparently, the street used to be full of funeral parlours, as well as ‘dormitories’ for people to go to just before they passed away. Old people and sick people would go there to live in those ‘dormitories’ and rooms, never expecting to come out again. This was caused by the superstition that a death in the house would bring bad luck to the remaining living members of the family. So it was a practice then, to go somewhere else to die. Isn’t it sad? When I die, I want to be in a comfortable bed in my own room, surrounded by people I love, who will smile at me like I have made a difference in their lives.

Moving on! We stopped by this small kiosk called ‘Erich’s Wuerstelstand’, which sells German sausages (I think), but it says “Austrian style”! So I’m abit confused. Anyway. It claims to be “The last sausage kiosk before the equator”. Quite interesting, I think, though the price is abit OTT. It was S$3.50 for a pork sausage with cheese. Then again, it’s not bad – it’s probably the only non-Chinese food that you can get within a kilometer’s radius. Haha. But anyway, it’s something fun to experience. There are small tables set up around it, and the chef, Austrian Erich Sollback, is friendly and even speaks a little Singlish. “To eat, or tah pau?” he’ll ask you. If you wanna check it out, it’s at Terengganu Street at Chinatown. 🙂

Other than that, I really liked looking at the old architecture of the buildings at Chinatown, although we just passed by them while walking on the streets. The people (locals and foreigners alike), the lights, the merchants with their goods. Smells of food wafting through our nostrils. The sounds of human chatter in the background, music blaring from speakers in shops and at makeshift stalls, stall owners shouting out to passerbys to come look at their wares, bells clanging from temples. I love the business of it all.

We headed back to the porridge place after we’d had our sensories overloaded, to meet Gerald’s friends, Huggine(?) and Zhiwei and someone else (sorry, I just can’t remember names!) for yet another sensory-attacking-experience. Durians! Yechh! I don’t like the smell, nor the taste. So I just sat there and watched.

Basically, we went there for Mian Mian to have her first taste of durian. Well, after tasting her first piece of durian, she declared that she’ll join my side! Haha. So we’re now a team – the non-durian-eaters. Tee hee! But I think she hasn’t really made up her mind if she likes it or hates it. Apparently, with durian, you can’t really sit on the fence – you either love it, or you hate it.

Anyway, just now, during the durian session, the guys mentioned that durian is a Singapore fruit. I didn’t want to be a wet blanket and correct them on this detail, but durian is actually a native fruit of Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei. I don’t think you can really grow any fruit in Singapore. Haha. There’s just not enough land to begin with! Hehe.

I’m averse to kissing BB tonight cos he ate so much of that pungent smelling fruit. Haha.

Well, it’s been a long day. Time to bathe and sleep. And the weekend is here! Hurrah! 🙂 Looking forward to exciting days in the next few weeks. And you know what’s my favourite alphabet? It’s the letter T! *Shhh*


Responses

  1. Must be Austrian sausages then. Cos German sausages are called bratswurst or something. HAHA. I love eating them. They are huge-ass sausages, and porky 🙂 Ah, porky sausages in Msia is blardee expensive!

  2. tioman? haha. you can be ambassador of tioman la! 😀 now i feel like ploughing through the streets of chinatown. i bet it’s a great place to photograph.

  3. doreen: yea i suppose its austrian sausages.. heh. pork sausages are the best.

    maya: ya! i think so too! tioman can hire me as their ambassador. i keep telling ppl to go to tioman. hehe.. this time its different from my last trip tho. i’ll b going on a trip tt’s planned by myself, frm A to Z! heh. not booking any tour pkg, its cheaper this way. 🙂 n yes, chinatown rocks. thr are lots of things to see n of cos, photograph. but i dint haf my cam with me, n my bf’s d70 has been confiscated by parents. lol.


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