Little India is perhaps one of the few remaining neighborhoods in Singapore that is still raw and unpolished.  A lot of this city can feel like Disney World at times – colorful, sleek, clean, efficient, new, modern.  But Little India has a grimy charm that I find appealing.

After strolling around the streets for a couple of hours, stocking up on cheap Bollywood movies, and managing to walk through nearly every incense-soaked store just for a little relief from the heat, I found a tiny little hole-in-the-wall restaurant and ordered the vegetarian meal from north India. I was told it would be less spicy then the south Indian meal.  Let’s just say that I don’t want to know what the South Indian dish tasted like… I ate like the rest of the folks in the restaurant: with my right hand only and no utensils – it was awesome!  I was squishing together rice and shoveling it in my mouth and nobody thought it was weird.  Thanks to my NC neighbors for teaching me that little skill!

I also ventured shoeless into the Sri Veeramakaliamman Temple (below). I wish I could have taken pictures of all the people praying to the images of the Hindu goddess, Kali, but I felt like that would have been in bad taste.  The inside is just as ornate as the outside, where the gods and goddesses are adorned with flowers, incense and flashing christmas tree lights.

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Temple in Little India

Two new friends from work, Beth and Jen, took me downtown to see the Central Business District (CBD).  We walked along the Marina, ate at a tapas bar on the roof of the esplanade, and took some pictures with peace signs (apparently this is essential in Asia).

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Downtown

Another highlight of the week was seeing my first Chinese opera.  Okay, the highlight was not exactly that I watched the Chinese opera, but more that I got to go backstage.  Jen asked if she could perform with the troop, and amazingly they said yes!  So Jen (in black as a male soldier) and Beth (in green as a rich woman’s maid) got all made up and got to stand on stage.  Too bad none of us speak Mandarin…

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Chinese Opera

Because I was on my way to a BBQ with my future flatmates, I opted to be the photographer.  Speaking of flatmates – I found a place to live!  It’s a brand new condo in an area called Boon Keng, and I move in on the 28th.  There are three other people in the apartment: two Indian sisters from Mumbai (Apurva and Ash) and a French guy (Paul) from Paris.  I’m taking over the room of a very nice German guy, Philip, who is moving back to Europe in a couple of weeks.

Last night was Paul’s birthday, so the roommates organized a BBQ down by the pool and there were Frenchies everywhere – I can’t escape them!  It definitely made me miss my favorite Frenchie roommate in Chapel Hill!

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