off-kilter

Singapore Travel Blog

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Today I went to see the celebrations for Thaipusam, a big Hindu festival.  I had heard there was some kind of physical torture involved and that 'those with weak stomachs' should be wary, but I thought that was like when restaurants say 'order a half portion!  our plates are huge!'  Although, as some of you know, you would think I had learned my lesson there too.

Thaipusam is an annual event where devout Hindus undergo pain to show their devotion and atone for the sins of the past year.  I thought this pain would involve walking on a few coals or something, but in fact, it turns out to be more like sticking hundreds of metal spears and pins through your face and body (including the tongue and other sensitive spots on your head).  And then covering it all up with a big metal dome so they pierce you with more force.  As you hike.  For 3km.  This may be a good time to remind you all that seeing people put contacts in makes me ill.  Let me tell you, this was a short-lived trip to the Little India district.  One that most definitely did not involve eating lunch either.

The only upside to this is that women and children apparently get off easy and are burdened with a pot of milk carried on their heads.  Seriously.  And not even a 4-gallon box from costco, but like, two pints in a little pot.  I have said it before, but it's still so true - it is good to be a woman. 

I also visited Chinatown and it is in fact freakishly clean.  Not just free-of-dirt clean, but big-box-development clean.  If they cleared out all the shops in Emeryville's Bay Street and replaced them all with Chinese stores and restaurants, that's what it would look like.  It actually is a little horror-movie-esque.  Or like Disneyland.  To some people, it's probably the same.

I've had this awful cough for the past few days, and I feel a little guilty about it since I'm in the most SARS-a-phobic country in the world.  Especially when I can't stop coughing and I'm on the metro or some other enclosed area.  But really, I blame them and the eternal state of transference between warm humidity and frigid air-conditioning.  This country is one degree north of the equator; the temperature is virtually identical year-round (which I personally find fascinating, coming from a place where people only think the weather is the same year-round) - why the need for drastic cooling systems? 
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photo by: easyjobrob