Part 2: 28 November 2013: Good Bye Sydney – Hello Singapore!

Well, a frenetic week of clearing garages, and hauling out two huge garbage bins of crap took place – all chucked! Petulant cats irate that their Master has the audacity to leave them for 43 days!  They have 43 tins of cat food, and a personal slave (aka the house minder) – they, have absolutely nothing to whine about!

Two hours sleep in Sydney and I found myself winging my way to Singapore, with no other airline, than Singapore Air.  Great service and smiles abound. Even the children on the flight acted like docile lambs.  The city of Singapore is a blanket of heat, permeating with  whiffs of spice, star anise and that very first breath of air you take in feels airless!

I just happen, to have happened, upon Durian season.  Durian is pungent fruit beloved and hated by all Asian countries.  I want you to imagine the perfumed smell of something that’s gone a bit off in the fridge, laced with a bit of baby puke along with a sweet pungent aroma – that’s Durian Fruit! (Not that I have much experience with baby puke – I just needed the analogy!)

The Singapore stop over, was mainly to partake of the culinary delights in this country.  A quick walk about the streets and it’s apparent that frogs balls, live frog, frog legs fried, braised or poached is the town specialty.  Along with offerings of pig intestine, fish belly, pig liver and frog in dual cooking style, it was decided best to just stick to finding a fish head curry worth eating! The driver of the airport shuttle, proudly tells me that ‘Mutoooos’ has the best fish head curry, and that I will like the curry very much, it will warm my body, most especially with the spate of cool weather that has arrived on Singapore’s shores.  (It might be cool and mild in his world, I can promise you, it isn’t cool in mine!) Every Singaporean it seems knows  of ‘Muttoo’, ‘Mootoo’, ‘Matttoooo’……. Or whatever other name my Australian dialect had decided to christen it!  A restaurant far easier to find, if I’d:-

1. Had the correct spelling of the name and;

2. Not believed every soul who swore blind to me that they definitely without a doubt knew where ‘Mutoooo’s’ was and;

3. I’d taken the time to find out what the name of the street and the number was.

My best guide by far was our Singaporean Mr Mcgoo that I met on the MRT, large wide eyes encased under a pair of large round glasses and sporting a pair of bright red braces along with the faint whiff of a few Tiger Beers that had lately been consumed. His instructions were to get off at Little India MRT and walk to my right as I left the Station.  If only I’d listened, as it was I hopped back on the MRT at Little India (considering Mr Mcgoo to be an unreliable guide) and scurried like a rat back two carriages along to find myself back on the same MRT train that I’d just let myself alight from, only to exit at Farrer Park MRT, a stop the hotel receptionist had so expertly advised upon as the best place to get off at to find ‘Mooootoos’.

Two hours later of walking, tired, and sweating like the best of gym house junkies and I found – Muthu’s!  Yes, now at least I have the correct spelling. For the record it’s on Race Course Road.

Muthu’s is sleek, with black marbled tiles, booth seats, and long elongated open glass kitchens. Live entertainment abounds for the trusting patron.  Watch your perfectly attired white uniformed chef lovingly spear Tandoori, fry poppadums, or whip up charcoal-ed marinated chops – Deeeeelious!

But I wasn’t here for any of that! I knew my man as they say, and wasted no time ordering the Fish Head Curry, along with a tasty serving of iced cold water, and a beer!  (A lot of walking had been done – I needed to be refreshed!)  Now, I’ve been imagining this fish head curry since March this year – so you can imagine my nervousness – I want this to be good.  And, I can assure you that I was not disappointed.

After a period of wanting to lovingly spear some of the offerings abounding to other tables for myself – I resisted this urge, because there is a distinct order to things in Singapore and I really did not want to find myself being disciplined because I wished to take what was not mine.  Finally, the grand arrival takes place. I’m presented with this swirling mass of rich clay red coloured sauce, dotted with the emerald green of Okra and brightly chiseled yellow jewels of Pineapple.  Plonked in the middle is the head of a deceased fish.  (We have to be realistic here, the fish head isn’t a pretend plastic head, it definitely was not ‘mock fish head’ and someone had to do the deed to get it to the plate!)   All up, Muthu’s was a great little restaurant – and it really was a shame only to be joining the cast of me, myself and I at the table – because some of the other dishes arriving out from the kitchen looked truly fantastic!

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Day two – we haven’t got time here for separate day blogs, I’m already behind with the news.  I stayed at Park 22 Hotel.  The hotel is nice enough, and yes the rooms are small – but you’re sleeping here for a night or two not intending to take up residence in the room for the next twenty years, while you hold down a day job.  After pantomiming like a Rottweiler at the room opposite during the early evening instructing them to control their and noisy and ill-mannered offspring,  (I knew then, why I’d want to pack the water sprayer I use on the cats before I left home.)  I slept the sound sleep of the dead.

The hotel sits in a hip little part of China Town, nestling with quaint rows of sleek, trendy little restaurants and bars.   Although I’m not sure that the stifling heat of Singapore could entice me to actually consider eating fois grais, a beef bourgeon or any other rich and heavy French dish.  The restaurants and bars along this little part of town looked rather gentrified and quite the place to be with their colonial shutters and brightly coloured sea blues, greens and yellows.  Amongst this kaleidoscope of bistros and wine bars sits a little French designer store called, ‘Rose Citron”.  A shop full of pretty dresses, furnishings and brightly coloured home wares.  I travel with only hand luggage for a reason – I’d be picking up little bits and pieces everywhere I went.  In this case, I’d have happily displayed every beautiful item in this store at home.  I confess here that, I’d only left the front door of my house a mere 12 hours before, breathlessly muttering that I’d never buy anything – ever again after clearing that wretched garage!

Breezing through to the order and tranquility of Changi Airport I find my self visiting every little nook and cranny of the airport lounge, while I wait for my flight to be called for London  – happily pressing ‘excellent’ to the service on every little LCD screen I find in the place asking me to rate the cleanliness, of toilets, bathrooms and immigration.

So it’s, Zàijiàn, from us here in Singapore!  I can’t keep chatting……. Just take it from me that we are now on the plane and on our way to London.

Your task readers, is to work out which word doesn’t belong in that last sentence! You’re next task is to find out what the word means,and which language it’s written in.  Good luck with that!

 

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