When my dad was here, it was great pretending to be rich, even if only for seven or eight days. When I wasn't compulsively taking pictures of the skyline from our plush hotel, I was taking in some great live shows and sampling some delicious food.
Mere hours after my dad/wallet returned to America, I was back to my old poor self. Dragging huge pieces of luggage through the sweat-slick-streets of Singapore. I'm sure I looked like the son of some deranged old bag lady, and surprisingly, the guards did not stop me when I came into my friends' apartment.
My Mexican, Canadian, and Korean friends agreed to put me up for my last, homeless week in Singapore. I was even issued a kiddy-sized Superman-printed mattress, which was a godsend for sleeping on the hardwood floors.
This week has been a whole lot of fun for me though: arguably one of the most laid-back and interesting weeks I've had in the city. Firstly, it was great becoming better friends with my new hosts: we even cooked a gourmet dinner one night, featuring dishes from all over the world. While this cost each of us roughly ten times the cost of a typical Kopitiam dinner, it was well-worth the money and hours of prep-time.
I was able to re-visit and discover more parts of Singapore that "schoolwork" and other activities kept me from the past four months. We went to museums, ate in hawker centers, bummed around Little India (where I saw my first rat in Singapore) and did a grand tour of the MRT.
By far the most exciting visit this week was Old Changi Hospital. Built in 1930, it was one of the first places in Singapore to be taken by the Japanese army during World War II, and there are rumors that many people were tortured there. Ignoring the "No Trespassing" signs, Arturo, Wen and I approached the deserted building. Towering five stories above us, Old Changi Hospital looked like a perfect horror-flick setup. We made our way through the ruinous hulk of the hospital, with a meager flashlight to illuminate our way. Ultimately, we didn't see any ghosts, although we checked the pictures closely for strange faces, orbs, mists, or anything else to construe as paranormal activity.
All in all, a really good week. Nice to spend my last time in Singapore distracted, practicing Spanish with Arturo, playing the tourist, playing the local, and reflecting on the past semester. And now here I am. Less than an hour until I make my way to the airport, going to Shanghai. I'll be back in Singapore for one more blow-out night before my 7 AM flight back to Virginia.