Monday, 15 December 2008

Goodbye Sunshine, hello frost...

Nobody told me it was winter in Japan. More on that later...

So Singapore proved to be the country that didn't allow me to sleep between snorers, incredibly loud Americans shouting at each other outside my door and an Oriental couple coming in and out of my room deciding whether or not they wanted to stay at 4 in the morning, none of these factors were condusive to sleep for the 4 days I was there. However, the country itself I quite enjoyed.

After my shopping day (oh I forgot to mention the best bit about the Keanu movie was at one stage he speaks -or trys to- in chinese. As most of the population are chinese origin, his attempt at the language caused the cinema audience to roar with laughter everytime he opened his mouth. It was very amusing) I went for a bit more culture in the country that, to be honest, seems to orientate around shopping centres.

I wandered along in humidity and 30 degrees plus to the harbour front to see the big wheel (which of course I didn't go up- it was miles high!) and then the big Merlion (yes a fish/lion hybrid statue) at the river front which spits water from its mouth. It was then I realised why there are so many shopping centres- they have air conditioning. I was hot, hot, hot and had a kinda of sweaty residue all over me that made me feel icky. I realised then only by diving from one centre to another could I survive this tropical land. How on earth am I going to survive in Oz?!

I also saw the 'Fountain of Wealth' which according to my book was a splendivourous, fantabulous, magnificanty giant amazing thing. Not so much. Looked like a water feature in a shopping centre that occasionally sprayed you with tepid water.

On Saturday I went to Sentosa island which is an artifical island made basically for sh*ts and giggles at the south end of Singapore. Beaches, more giant Merlions, waxwork museums and of course giant shopping centre (the biggest in fact). Only I didn't check the weather before I went. All the other days, despite the heat, it had been fairly overcast so no danger of sun exposure. Not this day. Clear blue sky, sun, sun, sun. Now many of you that know me when exposed to sun I burn even with factor 40 hence the tyranical way I put it on. Alas, it was only when I was lounging (in the shade) on the beach did I remembered due to a high pressured explosion in my bag that destroyed my factor 40 on the flight back from Italy, I only had my factor 20 with me. I stuck to shade, I didn't let myself swim, I used my brolly as a parasol (I looked so so so cool) and yes you guessed it, I still became a lobster, but only my left shoulder so it could have been worse.

Anyway, sun dodging aside, it was a lovely day until suddenly without warning the rain began to pour like proper movie style rain so I hot footed it back to my hostel for a timely nap (remember no sleep at night). Then because I am so amazingly cultured I went to the ballet. The theatre in Singapore is massive and you guessed it, joined to a shopping centre and cost about 300 million pounds to build. What can I say, it was nice. I was in the major cheapo seats and it was still a good view and despite being in the gods (or Circle 3) I didn't feel the balcony was about to collapse like I do in HMT. The ballet was the Nutcracker - how festive- so full of children, but don't worry I ignored them. Now I've never been to ballet (gasp I hear you say, how can that be true what with me being so cultured and everyfink) and to be honest I'd forgotten they don't speak, it just classical music and dance with dimmed lights and comfy seats and I hadn't slept properly in 3 days...Yes I fell asleep. Only briefly in the first half, but I felt so guilty that for the rest of it I tried to sit bolt upright and be fascinated, but to be honest, even though I know the dancing was difficult and the costumes were lovely etcera ectera, I was sort bored. I know, hang my head in uncultured shame. Anyway, it was a good experience to have and despite ballet not being my thing, I'm glad I went.

The rest of the trip was bascially nice (very short due to heat) walks in hilly parks, more shopping centres, random statue things and great amusement in finding Elgin road along with several other very Scottish sounding street names like Mackenzie Place and Edinburgh Road (me thinks Mr Raffles the British guy who founded Singapore may either have been a Scot or his town planner was).

I flew out late on Sunday night to Tokyo where I arrived early this morning to a 1 degree day. Nobody told me it would be winter here. I'd totally forgotten to look at the Japanese weather before I left. I was just thinking, Singapore hot, Oz hot, NZ hot, and generally hot, hot hot everywhere else I'm going. There was frost on the cars! However, it actually was a beautiful clear day and I put on all my jumpers at the airport so was fine, just a bit of a temperature change is all.

Of course with the overnight flight, I didn't sleep a wink and as I have mentioned, ooh about ten tines already, no sleep in Singapore so of course the instant I arrived in Tokyo I was overcome with a profound lethargy and fatigue. I got to my hostel about ten after all the faffing and the lovely girl at the reception gave me a cup of green tea, let me shower, use the internet (until it sponataneously broke- honest it wasn't me) until she let me into my room early. I also got chatting to an American guy who told me he was going home today to then move to the desert near LA and gave me lots of tips about the West coast. He also only had one eyebrow which was quite odd, but surprisingly not as noticable as you might think. Anyway, I had all these plans, but after a pot noodle thing and a bit of chocolate I thought, I'll just have a wee nap... Woke at about 6pm feeling so rubbish and guilty about my lack of activity. I then met a lovely French girl who has been in Tokyo for 5 days and likes it so much she is staying another 5 or so who told me not feel guilty, I must obey my body! Sleep, be rested and then you will be fine tomorrow. And she said it in a French accent so it sounded even better. So I stopped feeling guilty, had a brief walk, quick dinner, saw a temple/shrine and decided to have a quiet one tonight.

So bascially, tomorrow I'll see Tokyo, today I will rest my weary body and finish my book (true crime- I know you are proud mum).

I tell you this tourist malarky is a tiring one. How's work everyone?!


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you're having a great time. its been pissing it down non-stop here for days so i envy your hot weather!

oh and doesn't Singapore have a really weird " were watching you" vibe to it? All their chat about not dropping litter or gum freaked me out a little.

enjoy Japan. Be safe.

Anonymous said...

oh its Tom BTW

Nev 360 said...

Tom, you have a really catchy blogger name!