Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What Makes a Country Special????

Okay all,

My computer is still down, so I'm using Jon's again. At least we think we know what the problem is. The tech tweaked a wire in the touch pad when he was servicing it. Jon is going to see if he can fix it, if not, Dell gets to do a service call in Singapore!!!

Anyway, today's blog is about differences. Singapore is very much like the USA in that it's a melting pot of different cultures. Even though it is predominately more an Asian culture, so many other influences have touched it, it's hard to put a finger on what is precisely Singaporean alone.

One thing that shouts out Singapore is the famous Merlion fountain. This unique statue sits in the waterfront of Marina Bay and spits its cool spray out into the harbor below. An interesting thing about this symbol...

When Jonathon was told about Singapore and he put his hat in the ring to go, it was over three years ago. That's how long this dream took to come true. But about six months ago, we were told it was a no-go. The people here at Sentosa didn't want to pay to bring the people over so all those on the short list were told "never mind". We were disappointed, but shrugged it off and began looking elsewhere for a place to live since we weren't waiting on Singapore any longer.

Then Jonathon found this little trinket lying in the mud in the parking lot of Universal. It was pretty beat up, but when we cleaned it up we could just see this oddly shaped lion looking thing. Neither of us knew what it was, so off I went to my trusty google engine and I looked up lion mermaid.

Color us both shocked when it came up with the news that the Merlion fountain is one of the main symbols of Singapore!!!!!

How about that for a sign???

And about a month later, Jonathon was informed that he wasn't just on the short list again. He was the number one man to go to Singapore!

So here we are, living one of our dreams. We aren't sure how long we get to stay, but as long as we're here we are going to live it well.

One of the things I'm enjoying the most is wandering the streets and absorbing the atmosphere. There are so many things to see and experience--some uniquely Singaporean. I mentioned yesterday about the MRT system. Now I've been on the BART in San Francisco, and the underground in London. I've even been lost on the Metro in Paris and sang for my supper on the New York subway. So I have an idea of what a subway system is all about.

But I have to tell you, the MRT is a rail system like no other.

First off, (and you learn very quickly to appreciate this) each station has toilets. Free ones. And they usually have paper in them. You may think that is a given, but trust me, it isn't. I learned the very first day that the use of some toilets cost here and toilet paper isn't always offered. In fact the first day I went out I went to the bathroom and watched as a man, then a woman went in ahead of me--AFTER grabbing a hunk of toilet paper outside the door.

My USA worldview was aghast. Who might have touched that paper? Oh, the germs. But when I shook it off and grabbed my own hunk, what awaited me was much worse.

There was no toilet.

That's right. Just a hole in the ground with water washing over it. Apparently, and I had to do this in France, so I wasn't too shocked, they expect you to squat and do your business. (Boy, did I wish I had different equipment right then!) Now it's okay for kids and I'm pretty spry, so I managed, but what does granny do? How can her old knees handle a bend like that? What if she fell in? That is a real problem with this type of toilet.

And if that wasn't bad enough, when I went out to wash up, there was a guy standing there smiling at me!!! He was the attendant, but again...American here. He was lucky not to get my purse up along side his head!

But my apologies. I digress. I was talking about the MRT.

The system stretches underground for miles and miles, then, toward the outside of the city, it pops above ground so you can look around. Now that, of course, is similar to others I've been on, but what makes Singaporean MRTs different is the giant-normous warren of passages and branches that make up each of the stations.

They are designed to stretch out on both sides of the road so you can bypass crossing the street, but they are multi-level, have more escalators than I've EVER seen before and you can literally get lost trying to cross the bloody street.

I'm pretty sure they are the considered the eighth wonder of the modern world! *grin*

Seriously, I'm so used to being above ground and driving everywhere I go, being underground and seeing the thousands of people moving from one place to another is to say the least, intimidating.

I try to walk more than I use the MRT or bus, but it's nice to know they are there when I'm tired or when Jonathon is one his way home from a long day at work.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this little look at the way my temporary home is special. I'd love to hear what you think makes your home a special one. Let me know in the comments below!


8 comments:

Desirée Lee said...

Good thing you're not a cowgirl. You'd have to be reminded not to squat with your spurs on. *LOL*

Yes, I do believe the merlion trinket is a sign. This was meant to be for you and Jonathon. I'm sure it's difficult being away from the kids, but think of all the memories you'll have for the rest of your lives.

Carpe Noctem,
Des


Desirée Lee
Putting the Romance Back in Necromancy
http://www.desireelee.com

Phylis said...

My knees would have not let me do the toilet thing at all. *shaking head* It just boggles. The rail system gets to me. I would probably spend most of my time lost. I have a bad sense of direction once I'm underground. I like it here in GI, Nebraska (even though winter sucked this year) because it's not a crazy mad house. At one or two in the morning there isn't a lot of traffic and while there are some 24 hour stores they don't line the street. I got enough stuff going one with my children I don't need to hassle with huge traffic jams, etc. I am not a big city girl.

LaVerne Thompson said...

Wow! You're having quite an adventure, I feel a story in the making around that trinket you found.

But as far as that toilet, now I'm pretty agile but I can still see myself falling in and having to yell for help. LOL

LaVerne

sjrlive said...

“lion mermaid trinket” – a very cosmic and spiritual sign. It could be said that the power of your spirits reached out to the universe to make your Singapore dream come true.
Most of my life I’ve lived in one of the boroughs of New York City. It would probably take a book to say what I think is special about the city. I’ve always thought of my ‘hometown’ as a microcosm of the world, e.g. “Little India” is about 10 blocks from my apartment.
I have a question for you. How do you think the MRT compares to Grand Central Station, NYC?

CJ England said...

Des,

*snicker* I never thought of that. Been too many years since I wore those spurs. LOL

And you're right. Whenever I get weepy at missing my babies, both human and furry, I think of the memories we're storing up.

Indescribable.

CJ

CJ England said...

Phylis,

Exactly. My knees gave me a good cussing out after that maneuver. LOL I'm getting to know the toilets around the areas I go to.

And I get lost. I can't tell you how many times I've gone under and come up in a totally different area than I thought I would. I have a lousy sense of direction whenever I'm in a city.

Too many electronic gadgets to mess me up. Now in the woods...

CJ

CJ England said...

LOL LaVerne,

Totally. The old lady and the "I've fallen and I can't get up" commercial wooshed through my head when I did my business.

And I have considered using the trinket in a story. I've got a few ideas...

Gotta finish one I'm working on now, then I think I'll be doing some Singaporean stories for a while. LOL

CJ

CJ England said...

sjrlive,

Comic and spiritual? I like that. I do think it was a sign.

As for the MRT vs Grand Central... Maybe it's the language difference, but I don't know. Grand Central always made sense to me. I knew where I was in relation to where I wanted to go.

Here, it's like being in the tunnels and totally blind. Since I'm not good at street signs no matter what country I'm in, that make a difference too. *sigh*

CJ