27 February 2011

Chinese things (and Singapore III)

You know how Anne Shirley talked about epochs in her life? I think about it like that too. An epoch in my life just came to an end. Six months of art appreciation classes are hardly an epoch, you say. Well, you don't get to attend classes with your best friend everyday. You don't get to graffiti each other's notebooks or laugh or yawn in unison.

And you don't get to crib about assignments or text each other at 2 a.m. to see how they're doing, or race for deadlines together or post links of Mona Lisa making faces on each other's walls. (Well, you can actually still do that...)

There's something so priceless about it all.

We went to hand in our final submissions at the National Museum on Friday, and thought we'd check out the "Ancient Treasures of China" exhibit there, having researched and written about it just a day earlier. The exhibit is wonderful, with objects from the Neolithic times right up to the Qing Dynasty before modern China (the People's Republic) if I remember correctly. They've even got two soldiers from the Terracotta Army standing there on display! It's on till March 20 and I definitely recommend a visit.

The entrance to the exhibit was adorned with Chinese lanterns which led to an immediate flashback to Singapore, especially Chinatown, which was possibly my favorite-est place there. While we'd planned on going there to visit the Heritage Center on Pagoda Street (dramatic irony alert), we decided that our immediate need was food. And being in Chinatown meant not having authentic Chinese would be a sacrilege of sorts. Finding ourselves on Pagoda Street, we took our pick from the line of Chinese restaurants and finally chose a fiery orange one. Each table was piled with soup spoons and chopsticks (who uses that many?) and we ate our rice and noodles with soup spoons, much to everyone's amusement. Chopsticks can be really hard to handle. (No worries though, for that night we witnessed people eating parathas with spoons and forks.)



Chinatown is a shopper's delight, if you're a shopper like me, that is. I loved the authentic and ethnic things that were up on sale for wonderful deals, and bought most of the presents for friends and family from there. The red-orange-ness of the street was overwhelmingly beautiful as the shops decked up for the Chinese New Year, with Disney-like rabbit heads floating all over the place (more photos here.) We even found a Tintin shop where everything was exorbitantly priced but really fun to look at. And we finally arrived at the Heritage Center minutes after it closed for visitors.


No harm done, though - we managed to avoid yet another overpriced entry ticket. If there's one thing to empty your wallet in Singapore, it's the tickets. So, all for the better, I suppose!


SINGAPORE:


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