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Archive for the ‘travel’ Category

Here are the things we brought back from the UK. I think the list is somewhat revealing about Singapore life:

Laura Mercier primer and mascara (boring but necessary, there is only one stockist in Singapore and the lady there is mean)
x4 sex toys (I’ll spare details and blushes, suffice to say there are few good sex shops in Singapore)
x13 books (Naked Lunch, Diary of a Madman, Count Belisarius, The Tipping Point, LA Confidential, The Warden, The Business, Transition, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, The Tin Drum, The Singapore Grip, Spring Snow, 2666)
x15 peperami (a present)
x2 gold-embroidered, Buckingham Palace-monogrammed tea towels (also presents)
A signed silk-screen print from a guy in a coffee shop (anyone know a good framers?)
x3 bras
x3 cheeses
x2 chutneys (1 beetroot, 1 crab apple)
2.5 kg joint of smoked gammon

I didn’t trouble myself to check but I suspect bringing meat and cheese through the green aisle is illegal, but fortunately we’ll soon eat the evidence.

Happy Christmas! I’m afraid the felicitations are a little late as Twelfth Night has been and gone – you’d better have taken your decorations down! If so much as a few berries remain after the fifth you have to leave them up until Candlemas, otherwise goblins can get into your house (trufax).

Our tropical Christmas was tropical indeed, as we flew to Bali and spent a week diving, eating seafood, and floating in the pool at our private villa. It was pretty strange to find ourselves alone in the sunshine on Christmas morning, but certainly not the sort of strange one should complain about.

NYE was a far cry from the London raves that punctuated the years for nearly a decade, but we stood on a roof, waved sparklers, popped champagne, hugged strangers and had a nice time.

And then?

Our first anniversary is in two weeks’ time. It’s been a hell of a year. The first six months (roughly) were pure honeymoon. I walked around amazed that a city could function so smoothly, that I could live somewhere so nice, eat out so often. I took cabs EVERYWHERE and every time I got in one I had a moment thinking I mustn’t take it for granted.

Then I guess the sheen wore off. The summer months were a private maelstrom of work uncertainty, and once that passed I got down to the job of really taking stock. The eye that beholds such beauty in the bridal suite grows quick to judge. Mother-in-laws show up, there are arguments about bills.

I’m still figuring out how I feel about this place. Truth is, I use words and writing to feel my way through things I don’t understand, but I don’t want to turn this blog to that purpose. It’s erratic – at the moment I’m too quick to jump in and blame Singapore for my ills. It’s ugly, and importantly I can’t substantiate it.

For all that, I’m not unhappy. J and I both go up and down somewhat, and our concern is always the other person. “Are you happy? Do you want to stay, want to leave? I’ll support you,” we reassure each other.

During a recent such conversation, we decided things are only just getting interesting. Our property lease runs to March 2011, so we plan to career along until then. And when you get down to brass-tack no-holds objectivity, there are monkeys here. Wild ones, not zoo ones – you can go for a walk on a Sunday morning and see them chilling in the trees.

I may never leave.

Happy dumb Gregorian calendar New Year! (Everyone knows the real New Year is next month),

elle xx

*Sheng = saint; dan = born; kuai le = happy, merry. This blog is pretty much the only place I practice Mandarin now, which tells you how well it’s going.

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The beach on Pulau Dayang, Malaysia

The beach on Pulau Dayang, Malaysia

I can catch a bus after work on Friday evening and dive here at 8am on Saturday morning.

Sunday morning. Every thing’s going well. I’ve had 6 hours’ sleep, I don’t have much of a hangover, I had a great last night.

Then as I gather up the last few odds and sods to pack, it occurs to me that our very large bag (it’s a 140 litre base camp bag) is getting very full.

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