Outfit: I’m already sweating. Tank top, black skirt, sandals. It is HOT here, homies.
Activities: Joanna and I wake up, enjoy some coffee, cereal and BBC, and get ready for the day. We meet up with Pallavi, one of Joanna’s coworkers, who has lived in Singapore with her husband and son for 6 years. She takes us to Chinatown where they sell everything. Tailored clothing, engraved chopsticks, luggage tags, artisinaly carved jade, tea sets, snow globes, house shoes. Just really everything you could want. I buy nothing, but vow to return for gifts. Get ready for you zodiac Chinese paraphernalia, family members.
We enter a Hindu temple (shoes off) and take some pictures. We enter a Chinese temple (shoes on) and attempt to do the same. As soon as I step in toward the giant, gold-plated deity, a small, uniformed man gets in my face speaking quickly and ushering me backwards. From what I can discern he is pointing to my shoulders (bare) and my knees (uncovered) and then to the street. Oh, OK, I think, this is what Asia is like for the ladies. To be “fair” I was given the option of wrapping myself in brown burlap to enter further into the place of worship. No, thanks, ancient gods. I’ll take my dignity elsewhere. There’s gotta be someone out there who appreciates my knees for the intelligent, attractive, independent knees they are. And, fuck you.
Pallavi is unphased. She is Indian, she says, so staying covered is just part of the deal. I silently thank the sperm and egg that brought me to fruition in the US and not Mumbai.
We grab some lunch and taxi over to Gardens by the Bay. Nothing solidifies Singapore’s “Amusement Park of Asia” reputation quite like this attraction. It has the world’s “largest indoor rainforest” and the largest “indoor flower house” and the largest “electronic trees forest” and the tallest “indoor, manmade waterfall” and…Singapore has a small dick, apparently. It feels like Las Vegas, like the facade might fall down any second and you just see desolate desert for miles and miles, except here it would be ocean filled with huge shipping vessels for miles and miles. So bizarre. We find a bar nestled under the electronic trees and have some beer. Very refreshing actually and the falsely planted palm trees don’t feel half bad. It’s almost like South Florida…
Later in the evening we decide to chance the Night Safari. I am officially getting my Asian tourist cherry popped. The Night Safari is an evening tram ride through Singapore’s famous uncaged zoo. Uncaged, meaning no cages. We hop on the tram after witnessing what I can only explain as a Night Safari Chipndale’s fire-breathing male review…
…and head into the dark (fake) forest. The driver/guide warns in English to keep hands inside the tram and to turn off flash photography as it will hurt and scare the animals. Literally no one in our tram car listens to these instructions.
“Ladies and gentlemen, meet the African Buffalo!!”
*flash**flash* *flash* *flash*
“Um, some guests are still using their flash. Please, turn your flash off, or , do not use your camera.”
*flash* *flash* *flash* *flash*
“Please, for the safety of the guests and the animals, do not use your flash.”
*flash* *flash* *flash*
The tram stops and the driver gets out to come speak directly to my tram car, full of a group of Indian men who are not receiving the message.
This pattern goes on maybe 5 more minutes when the tram stops again and I stand up and shake my hand in the Indians’ faces’ behind me. “DO. NOT. USE. YOUR. FUCKING. FLASH,” I say in slow English pointing to their cameras and making very direct and menacing eye contact, my specialty. They laugh in my face. I want to commit multiple homicides. I refrain and the tram driver again comes to speak directly to these eight men who continue to use their flash in the pitch dark. They laugh at him.
Next flash, Joanna has had enough. She turns around and channels her mom (as we all do in these situations) almost climbing over the four rows behind us to point (grab?) at the main perpetrator. “You! Yeah, hit him for me. You! What the hell is wrong with you? Stop using your camera if you can’t figure out how to turn off the flash. Just stop it. Now!” Silence. I am so proud. I know Patti would be too. I think that is the end, but no. These guys are dicks.
Pallavi to the rescue. The next flash (Ladies and gentlemen, meet the Asian Tiger!) she turns around and in quick yet calm Hindi tells them she understands they probably don’t understand English (ZING!) but they’ve been asked politely to stop using their flash. They grumble, but no more after that. She wins and exemplifies why knowing multiple languages is the key to always getting your way.
Safari ended up great, we saw an entertaining and humane live animal show, ate some dumplings and got home happy. All in a days work.